Former MI5 chief delivers event security keynote at Australia House

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Business events must adopt Olympic standard when it comes to safety, was a clear message from the annual Business Events Sydney/ICC Sydney sponsored luncheon in London at Australia House. And delivering that message was the UK’s former head spy, ex-MI5 director general Lord Jonathan Evans.

A high-calibre invitred audience heard a tale of two cities: The city that changed the way the world hosts Olympic events, Sydney; and the city that changed the way the world hosts Olympic events in a new world order, where security has podium position, London.

Amid heightened global security conversations, Lord Evans, who was also chief security officer for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, shared some security insights with an audience that included the Australian High Commissioner to the UK, The Hon. Alexander Downer AC, and more than 20 association leaders.

Lord Evans said the issue of cybersecurity was paramount in today’s changing global environment.

“Collaborative activity between the venue, the event organisers, law enforcement and security authorities is critical,” he added. “Being able to access the best intelligence, the best law enforcement capabilities is a very important underpinning to the security for major events. During the London Olympics, success meant tremendous support from all of our colleagues, and in particular from Australian intelligence.”

BESydney CEO, Lyn Lewis-Smith, also welcomed the guests and added: “With the digitisation of our economy standard practice, it is more important now than ever before that association leaders work closely with destination leaders to assure integrity of their event and the safety and security of attendees.”

Lewis-Smith underlined the credentials of Sydney as a safe events haven in a fast-changing world. “Sydney is a dynamic, modern global city and we are keenly aware of the safety and security needs of event organisers. As business leaders, to successfully partner with event organisers we work in close collaboration with a number of stakeholders across both the public and private sectors in bringing together our clients with the relevant policy, protocol and law enforcement agencies to ensure seamless and cohesive partnership regarding safety and security,” she said.

The city’s premier, new major business events venue, ICC Sydney, was designed with security in mind and its CEO Geoff Donaghy noted the new world-class facility had been built to host the world’s most prominent speakers and events.

“Within our first month of operation, ICC Sydney had already successfully hosted major events and their security requirements for guests such as Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Indonesian president Joko Widodo and regularly welcomes Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull,” he said.

The Australian business events delegation is in Europe and also attending the ICCA Congress in Prague and ibtm world this month.

Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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