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27 May 2021

Great Ideas for the Gold Coast 2021

YP Gold Coast has released an updated edition of their ‘Great Ideas for the Gold Coast’ advocacy report to stimulate discussion and debate regarding the long-term success of the City beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report, prepared in collaboration with Civity, a Gold Coast town planning firm, and Griffith University, sets out a series of ideas on how the Coast business community could exponentially thrive and why the City needs to embrace growth and advanced technology.

YP Gold Coast president Mary Grant said the team decided to update their strategic framework, developed back in 2017, to ensure it remained relevant and in-step with the issues facing business owners, residents and professionals on the Coast.

“The Gold Coast is at a turning point in its evolution, providing a rare opportunity to reimagine the future and plan for long-term success beyond the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.

“Great Ideas for the Gold Coast 2017 report set out five ideas and a number of those were successfully realised over the past few years, such as the public ferry service for the Gold Coast, the expansion of the arts and culture public spaces at HOTA, the implementation of public WI-FI and the ongoing light rail delivery.

“Our refreshed 2021 report is an important call to action. Great cities don’t just happen by chance – residents, businesses and government have a collective role in telling our story and shaping our future.

“We encourage everyone interested in the future growth of the Gold Coast to engage in mature and robust debate again and step forward and be a loud champion for our wonderful city.”

YP Gold Coast vice-president, Civity director and Great Ideas for the Gold Coast panellist Martin Garred said YP Gold Coast and Civity collaborated with some of Griffith University’s brightest students and the Cities Research Institute in a wide-ranging review of the Gold Coast’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, which informed the development of the ideas in the report.

“From the Coast’s humble beginnings as a collection of tourism villages, it has grown quickly and must continue to diversify and amplify the great qualities that make the Gold Coast so unique,” he said.

“The Gold Coast culture, environment and our ‘have a go’ attitude is fundamental to ongoing growth and maturity.”

The three refreshed ‘Great Ideas’ for 2021 include building the city’s global profile as a place where small businesses and entrepreneurs flourish and grow, smart and well-planned growth, and investment in manufacturing technologies, transport solutions or transport and leisure opportunities.

Professor of Urban Management and Planning, Griffith University’s Cities Research Institute director and ‘Great Ideas for The Gold Coast’ panellist Paul Burton said bringing as many Gold Coasters into thoughtful conversations about our future was paramount.

“We need to actively create the future we want and not just wait for things to happen to us,” he said.

“That’s why it’s important that everyone has a chance to join in these conversations, and that people who don’t always think their views are valued are actively encouraged and supported to do so.”

Destination Gold Coast CEO and YP Gold Coast panellist Patricia O'Callaghan said ongoing collaboration and innovation would help circumnavigate the initial short-term challenges post-pandemic to support future success.

“The community has been working hard to deliver sustainable plans to future proof the Gold Coast,” she said.

“We are a city of interconnected industries and there is great potential for the Gold Coast to thrive, achievable through public and private enterprise that strengthens our economy, and continued investment in our community.”

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17 March 2021

Meet Becky Morton, Panellist at our 2021 Entrepreneurs Forum

From a young age, Becky had a passion for design but decided to pursue a Law & Business Degree.

After graduation, she secured a job with a high-profile law firm & although her life-long love affair with the ocean brought Peony Swimwear to life.

Peony is now recognised as a global leader in sustainable luxury swimwear, championing sustainability as an eco-pioneer in the swimwear category.

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11 March 2021

Meet Craig Johnston, Panellist at our 2021 Entrepreneurs Forum

Craig’s career to date has seen him gain over 15 years of experience in hospitality, and almost 10 of that spent in the mining and resources sector. Craig comes from humble beginnings, starting his first business at just 10 years old from his family farm, to selling another business at just 14 years old, before working 3 jobs to pay his way through commercial cookery school. Craig went on to work in the Hunter Valley in fine dining, and became IHG Group’s youngest ever head chef at the age of 20, before seeking adventure and change and moving into the mining and resources sector.

Adversity and challenge are the foundations for Craig’s entrepreneurial driving force, and he owes some of his greatest strengths to overcoming these obstacles in the past. Today Craig and his partner Lucy co-direct TCLH, a specialist remote hospitality organisation that employs 80 full time staff, and provides their high end services to major ASX listed mining companies and state government bodies.

The idea for TCLH came from combining Craig’s passion for fine dining and his personal interest in the mining and resources sector, so in 2014 following a redundancy from his FIFO job and a major downturn in the oil & gas industry, Craig decided to make the most of a bad situation, and start a new company to provide high quality, flexible service models that had never been done before. His wife and now business partner Lucy came on board, bringing her finance and business banking background, combining it with her own FIFO experience and knowledge. Since then they have built a business that focuses on the wellbeing of its employees, clients and crews by working hard on driving the de-stigmatisation of mental health issues faced by FIFO workers, promoting inclusive and supportive workplaces, engaging with local remote communities on project, and providing healthy, nutritious meals.

Craig and Lucy have taken business from the start-up it once was, to the formidable multi-million dollar business it is today, that continues to double in size year after year, retaining 100% ownership in the business. The pair have gone on to win multiple industry awards, both as a team and as individuals.

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3 March 2021

Meet Jarrad Bell, Panellist at our 2021 Entrepreneurs Forum

Jarrad Bell has been in hospitality for over 10 years, but likely not the areas you would automatically assume. He hasn't been behind the bar, nor hasn't been running venues; he's been the guy responsible for getting you in the door! He's the guy responsible for making your mouth water at 5pm every day, whilst you're scrolling through Instagram, or making the brand aesthetically pleasing - so cool, that you want all your friends to know you are there, and share on socials.

Jarrad, who is a graphic designer and DJ, started off playing your favourite tunes in bars, clubs around Australia. Over time, he began combining the two, and ended up doing the branding and design for the events and venues. Over the years, he's worked with iconic brands, your favourite festivals and he's probably gotten your bum on a seat at the local restaurants around town.

Late 2019 / early 2020, ideas began building between Jeremy Davidson, Mikey Sebire and Jarrad - who all together are the founders of Mr. Consistent.

In his venue, Jeremy had identified a need for a consistent product, that could easily produce volume, without faltering on quality. Whilst Mikey worked on building the recipe of the amazing product we taste today, Jarrad went about building the branding of Mr. Consistent.

COVID hit the hospitality industry, and a product that had been dreamt up to be in-venue, was no longer relevant to the market at that time.

Instead, they focused on direct to consumer, and built an extremely loyal customer base within a short period of time and bucked the 'norm' when it comes to marketing and branding in the beverage world.

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31 August 2020

YP Connect is Live

Series 1 of the YP Connect podcast is now live on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. 

We were thrilled to welcome some of the city's brightest minds to engage in thought-provoking conversations - covering some important topics for the people who choose to live, work and do business on the Gold Coast. 

In this series of YP Connect, the YP Gold Coast committee chats to the entrepreneurs pivoting in a pandemic, the corporate heavyweights rebuilding a $6 billion-a-year tourism industry, and the medical experts making breakthroughs right here in our own backyard. 

Scroll down to listen and enjoy these podcasts at home, on your commute or in the office. Please don't forget to subscribe & review! 




Reinventing the Business Wheel
With David Ridden

In this episode, we chat with David Ridden - the Founder and Director of craft gin distillery Granddad Jacks - who had to reinvent his business almost overnight to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

David shares his phenomenal behind-the-scenes stories about developing new products, being agile to stay afloat, lobbying government, and ultimately, remaining true to his business’ vision.

33 minutes


Rebuilding Our $6bn Tourism Industry
With Anneliese Battista & Adam Rowe

In episode two, we talk to Destination Gold Coast CEO Annaliese Battista and Queensland Airports Limited Executive General Manager of Business Development and Marketing Adam Rowe about rebuilding the city’s tourism economy after it was dealt a devastating blow by COVID-19.

We look at post-pandemic travel trends, find out when visitors will be hitting the shores of Australia’s favourite playground once again, and discover where Gold Coasters will be travelling to as we take to the skies for the first time in months.

36 minutes


Griffith Business School Trailblazer Growing the Gold Coast Super Yacht Industry
With Cameron Bray

In episode three, we chat to Cameron Bray, a Griffith University Graduate who has built a successful career chartering super yachts around the world.

From Saudi royalty to Australian media moguls, Cameron has worked with some very interesting clientele and reveals what life is like on board these multimillion-dollar vessels.

He also provides great insight into how beneficial the super yacht industry is for the Gold Coast and what the city needs to do to attract more of these boats to our shores.

20 minutes


Mastering Your Mental Health for Professional Success
With Luke Foster

In this week's podcast we spoke to LIVIN's consultant psychologist, Luke Foster on mastering your mental health for professional success.

For more than 8 years, Luke served as a psychologist for the Australian Defence Force (ADF), attaining the rank of Major. He currently oversees LIVIN's educational program, 'LIVINWell', and social impact strategy, while continuing his work with the ADF in a part-time capacity where he provides expert mental health advice in various sectors of the Army's training and educational programs.

31 minutes


The Gold Coast Medical Industry – at the Forefront of Health Innovation
With Dr. Chris Davis

In this episode, we get to talk with Dr Chris Davis, the GM of Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics – located in the state-of-the-art Health & Knowledge Precinct on the Gold Coast. 

Dr Chris shares with us some of the ground-breaking medical research and discoveries being made right here in our City, including the discovery of the world’s first vaccine for Malaria - which has put the Gold Coast’s biotechnology industry on the world stage.

34 minutes


Brand Building 101: Secrets for Boosting Your Brand and Online Presence
With Ryan Tuckwood

In the final episode of the first season of YP Connect, we tune in with Shark Tank success story and CEO of the #1 Ethical Online sales training company in the world, Ryan Tuckwood from ISR Training.

Ryan shared his insights and tips on how to utilise your social media platforms to build your personal brand, as well as invaluable secrets that he's used to help scale nationally recognised brands and close over $1billion in sales revenue, all from his Gold Coast headquarters.

43 minutes


YP Connect is supported by Griffith University, Cronin Miller Litigation, Gold Coast Suns, GT Advisory, PKF, 102.9 Hot Tomato and

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YP Gold Coast 11 June 2020

YP Gold Coast backs call for border certainty

An announcement this week on a July reopening of the Queensland border would put the Gold Coast in the best position for economic recovery, says leading advocacy group YP Gold Coast. 

For weeks the city’s tourism operators and small businesses have been calling for the border to be reopened, in line with Federal Government health advice and positive health outcomes being reported across the country. 

The Gold Coast Bulletin published an article this week, highlighting the city will lose more than $1.2 billion in interstate tourism revenue in the next three months unless the border is opened, according to National Visitor Survey data from Tourism Research Australia. The data showed the busiest air routes across the country in July 2019 included Sydney to Gold Coast and Melbourne to Gold Coast.

Further to this, data from travel booking sites including Expedia shows the Gold Coast is the most frequently searched destination in the country for domestic holidays. 

Unfortunately, intrastate travel is not enough to support our tourism economy and the many small, medium and large tourism businesses who contribute more than $5 billion a year to our city’s bottom line. While some regions around the state have benefited from an increase in airline services from later this month, at the time of writing Gold Coast Airport continues to service only three flights per week – all to Sydney.

The Gold Coast Bulletin published news on Thursday that Virgin Australia has loaded additional eight flights in a day into the Gold Coast from mid-July. It shows airlines are keen to resume flights to the Gold Coast, but until there is certainty around the border, this scheduling won’t necessarily translate to more visitors to our city.  

So as the Queensland Government ponders its most significant move in the state’s economic recovery, time is of the essence. 

An announcement this week of a July 1 reopening would allow tourism businesses to put in place COVIDsafe plans and stand up staff, give airlines time to market and sell seats, and importantly, give people time to plan their Gold Coast holidays.

Waiting until the end of the month – or longer – will only further delay the pain for a city that is trying to get back on its feet. 


Disclaimer: This opinion piece represents the personal views of YP Gold Coast committee members, and is in no way intended to reflect the views of committee members’ employers or YP Gold Coast sponsors. 

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Martin Garred, Co-Vice President, YP Gold Coast 21 October 2019

A City of Future Leaders

The Gold Coast is quickly maturing into a place of broad opportunity and rich experiences. The city is at a turning point in its evolution, providing a rare opportunity to reimagine the future, where the unique lifestyle and coastal vibe of the city becomes the catalyst for a highly skilled Gold Coast. 

While the city has a strong culture of entrepreneurship and capable universities, the scale of its innovation economy is so far much lower than its peer cities around the world.

As part of the ongoing growth story, it is imperative that the city retains its brightest minds and future leaders. Local talent retention will underpin diversification of the city’s economic base, grow the strong entrepreneurial spirit and ensure the city environment fosters its leaders of the future.

Historically, the Gold Coast’s growth story has been influenced by trying to compete with Australia’s capital cities. A major paradigm shift is required, from the community and political leaders alike. We must reshape our future vision to embrace the assets that make the Gold Coast unique. This involves promoting the Gold Coast as a regional city that builds economic strength from its ability to collaborate with capital cities.

Retaining talent and nurturing a city of future leaders therefore relies on shaping our future growth to reinforce the Gold Coast as an education, health and knowledge city.

Our strategy to retain local talent needs a broader approach that reflects the Gold Coast lifestyle and liveability values. The emphasis should not solely be focussed on attracting big business. Rather, becoming a highly skilled Gold Coast relies on protecting our lifestyle values, whilst cementing global connections through leading digital infrastructure. 

This reimagining of our city’s future envisages an urban environment of dynamic workplaces, a faster rate of career growth for Gold Coast locals and most importantly, job self-containment within the city.

- Martin Garred, Co-Vice President, YP Gold Coast

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20 August 2019

Future in Focus for New YP Gold Coast Leaders

A new committee is at the helm of leading advocacy group YP Gold Coast.                        

The group, which aims to grow the city’s corporate culture by connecting driven professionals, will be responsible for delivering a calendar of YP events and advocating for the interests of its thousands-strong membership base.

Former YP Secretary and MinterEllison Lawyer Mary Grant has assumed the role of President, following the departure of long-serving committee member Flynn McFarlane.

James Gough, from Queensland Airports Limited, and strategic advisor Martin Garred from Urbis have stepped up to the role of Co-Vice President, previously occupied by Jessica Thomas.

Matthew Dodds, of PKF, replaces Kiel Sinclair as the organisation’s Treasurer and Ania Salehirad of IP Partnership has stepped into the role of Secretary.

Giulia Badalotti (Puzzle PR) and Carla Tooma (Hot Tomato and myGC) have been reappointed to the committee and are joined by Jacqueline Bojanowski (Ruby Communications) who replaces Georgia Linton.

Morgan Summers-Smith (Study Queensland) and James Fulton-Kennedy (Morgans) round out the group of 10.  

YP Gold Coast President Mary Grant said she was proud to lead a team of driven Gold Coast professionals who are passionate about the city’s growth, and is excited to see the fresh perspectives the committee will bring.

“Everyone on the committee is here because they have an interest in the future success of the city,” she said.

“We are fortunate to have a strong and engaged membership base of local professionals and business owners who attend our regularly sold-out events.

“We will continue to deliver high-quality events as a forum to connect driven professionals.

“Advocacy will be another major focus of our committee – the Gold Coast is in a phase of rapid maturation and we are keen to back opportunities that support our bold aspiration to be the world's best subtropical city.

“We will continue to engage with government and business leaders to do our bit in shaping a city that supports opportunities for current and future professionals." 

YP Gold Coast will again deliver the City Leaders Forum in 2019 – the organisation’s hallmark event that brings together industry heavy hitters for an afternoon of discussion and debate.

The theme of the 2019 City Leaders forum is ‘a highly skilled Gold Coast’ and will see a panel of experts take to the stage in front of several hundred guests, including:

  • Kate Jones MP, Queensland Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games
  • Mayor Tom Tate, City of Gold Coast
  • Professor Carolyn Evans, Vice Chancellor and President, Griffith University
  • Paul Jaffar, Partner, Chempro

The event will be staged at The Star Gold Coast on September 27. For information and to book, please visit our events page here

YP Gold Coast is supported by Griffith University, Cronin Miller Litigation, Gold Coast Suns, GT Advisory, PKF, 102.9 Hot Tomato and

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2 April 2019

Why We Need A Creative Gold Coast

The emerging arts and culture sector has the potential to diversify the Gold Coast economy and create jobs.

Evidence demonstrates the intrinsic and tangible value of arts and creativity to the health and competitiveness of cities. Cultural precincts, creative clusters, festivals and events are part of what the global consumer and investor expects to find and enjoy in a global city, and the types of opportunities young professionals working within these industries need to achieve long-term career growth.  

Places like Singapore, Miami, Vancouver, Barcelona and Auckland all enjoy a beautiful coastal location, but this is only part of their success story. They all have a richly diverse offering of locally relevant galleries, museums, sports, arts and culture. These elements done well play a key part in elevating the status and attraction of a city.

The Gold Coast has some of these elements but much more can be done to grow this aspect of the city. The evolution of the arts and cultural sector is an important step in the maturity of the Gold Coast as a city. It symbolises the move away from the tired and obsolete paradigm, that the Gold Coast is simply a city famous for fun.

This coming of age is critical to long term prosperity of the city. For the city’s residents, vibrant and diverse arts and cultural activities are an important contribution to the liveliness and vitality of an urban environment.

The arts contribute to well-designed public space making our coastal neighbourhoods more attractive and accessible. Most importantly, the blending of arts and culture into the urban fabric of the city will create places where people want to meet and distinctly brand the Gold Coast as a destination for new residents, tourists and business.

With over 1.1 million international visitors to the city every year, it’s important that the relevance of the Gold Coast as a premier destination is maintained. The arts and cultural sector plays an important role in creating rich and diversified tourism offers and should be seen as an enabler for future growth.

One of the first major catalysts in the evolution of the city’s arts and cultural sector is the design and delivery of the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct. This critical investment being made by the Council will create a landmark new cultural designation to redefine the role of arts and culture within the city.

The Council’s vision for the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct is:

To create a cultural centre of gravity. A new, distinctly Gold Coast and distinctly 21st century platform to express ourselves and our pride in the our City.

To truly capitalise on the opportunity, the Gold Coast must embrace and nature the arts and cultural sector. It must be at the forefront our city vision and it must be reflected in the everyday decision we collectively make about the design and future growth of our city.

Arts and culture have both economic and social value, it can make a significant contribution to the liveability of the city and our competitive advance against other cities, both nationally and internationally. The industries help foster long-term growth paths for young professionals which will also retain and invite local talent within our thriving city.

For these reasons, YP Gold Coast will continue to advocate for positive policy decisions and public infrastructure investments that supports the mature growth of the Gold Coast and the evolution of our City into a sophisticated, vibrant and cultural urban environment.

Learn more about the YP Gold Coast ‘Great Ideas for the Gold Coast’ advocacy report here.

Interested in hearing more about the Gold Coast’s film and creative industries? Join us at the ‘Creative Gold Coast’ exclusive cocktail event at HOTA, Home of the Arts on Wednesday, April 10 from 5:30pm for an insightful evening exploring the ripple effects of the film and creative industry on local jobs and economic growth, diving into the wonderful world of film and creative industries and networking with likeminded individuals.

Tickets available here.

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21 March 2019

Meet Libby Lincoln, the woman leading arts and cultural transformation for the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast's arts and creative community is leading a cultural revolution, but what initiatives are in place to help it thrive?

Meet Libby Lincoln. Libby is currently leading arts and cultural transformation for the City of Gold Coast, and as a custodian of the Cultural Strategy 2023, a guide to the City’s cultural investment and activity, she is responsible for arts development and cultural growth in the City. 

The Culture Strategy 2023 was developed after extensive consultation with the community and local cultural practitioners, and details three major catalysts for change, delivering unprecedented opportunities for cultural development and transformation and exploring the four big ideas or strategic outcomes that will fuel the strategic vision - Built on creativity, transformed by imagination.

The Strategy outlines a future where culture is central to our community, wellbeing, our city's reputation and liveability and economic growth. 

The City of Gold Coast is committed to delivering the ambitious vision, set in the City of Gold Coast's first Culture Strategy, by 2023.

Libby Lincoln has undertaken leadership roles in producing and curating major cultural projects and managing diverse arts organisations for the past 32 years; and is considered one of the most experienced arts leaders in Australia. Organisations include Brisbane Festival, Queensland Music Festival, Expressions Dance Company, Brisbane Ethnic Music and Arts Centre, Out of the Box Festival among others.

In her roles of CEO, Executive Director, Program Director; Executive Producer and General Manager, Libby has been instrumental in strategic and operational frameworks to propel artistic organisations forward.  She has curated and implemented a range of artistic projects from international collaborations and commissions; to large-scale community projects; to initiatives that develop and profile local artists and arts organisations. 

Partnerships, artistic exchange and collaborations have been a major theme throughout her career.  Within her festival roles, she has also led the development and presentation of platforms like the Australian International Music Market; as well as the ground-breaking Earth Dialogues Forum – Natural Resource Management chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev in 2006.  

To ensure successful delivery of cultural events, Libby has implemented benchmark models through long-term partnerships with government, including regional Council, and funding bodies.  Through her arts development roles, she has provided leadership for local artists, strategies for art form and audience development, and developed education initiatives.

Join us on Wednesday, April 10 at HOTA, Home of the Arts, to hear how the City of Gold Coast is supporting local artists and our cultural community through new initiatives to ensure they have the opportunities needed to thrive in our city. 

Libby will join a panel of film and creative industry heavy-hitters on Wednesday, April 10 from 5:30pm at HOTA, Home of the Arts, for an insightful evening exploring the ripple effects of the film and creative industry on local jobs and economic growth, diving into the wonderful world of film and creative industries and networking with likeminded individuals.

For more information about the Exclusive Cocktail Event: A Creative Gold Coast on Wedneday, April 10 please visit our Events Page. Places are limited, so purchase your tickets now! 

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