Lou Charlet, General Manager, Finance Optus Stadium

Paula Brodie, Project Manager, VenuesLive NSW

“What is Business Continuity?” we hear you ask! Business Continuity is long term business recovery planning and if you think it’s unlikely to be needed, think again! The COVID pandemic has had companies across Australia dusting off their Business Continuity plans from the top shelf of the bookcase.

Over the Past 18 months, one of our national projects has been to review, update and undertake exercises on our respective venue’s Business Continuity Plans. Business Impact Assessments were undertaken, Business Continuity Plans have been updated and the final part of the project was to undertake scenario exercises in WA and NSW.

On Wednesday 24 February, the WA Business Continuity Team locked themselves in Conference Room One with our consultants RiskLogic to run a simulation exercise to test our Business Continuity plan in a real-life emergency situation. The scenario involved a severe thunderstorm moving across Perth, which caused flooding at Optus Stadium, the day before a West Coast Eagles game. The flooding led to a burst main in the IT server room, which took down key systems and the flooding impacted staff being able to get to work and deliveries for the game were unable to be made.

As Optus Stadium had recently engaged their Business Continuity Team following the snap lock-down of the WA border, they worked well together and responses felt natural and appropriate. It was also probably the most fun that Dors has ever had in a meeting room, as he was part of the simulation planning process, to ensure the “challenges thrown at us were as operationally-correct as possible.”

In NSW, a similar scenario was run with storms and flooding taking out the power and water at Bankwest Stadium the day before an event. The scenario intensity grew, and discussions centred around the impact and safety of staff, managing the venue, moving the event to Stadium Australia or the repercussions of the event being postponed.  Luckily, all came good in the end and the event went ahead no problem. Phew!

On a side note, the scenario exercise in NSW was a few days before we did have a massive storm / flooding event in the west of Sydney and the exercise came very close to becoming a reality.

We took away some good learnings and realised that as a company over the past year with COVID keeping us in flux, we’re now practiced at working in an ever-changing environment and are well placed for whatever comes our way.