Great cities are defined by effective transport networks, and no great city is defined by its roads.
That’s why the Gold Coast needs a multi-modal transport network that goes beyond cars, buses and rail. As we discuss in our Great Ideas for the Gold Coast report, the linear nature of the city means that we can no longer continue building roads to address congestion issues.
Our city has a unique opportunity, thanks to its 260 kilometres of navigable waterways, for a public ferry service to activate the waterway network and provide an efficient service for residents and visitors.
Based on current population forecasts, the Gold Coast has enough people to support a public ferry service – and this is before we consider the demand likely to be generated by the significant number of tourists who visit every year.
A public ferry would complement the existing transport network, and take pressure off our increasingly congested roads. Importantly, it would unlock parts of our canal network currently only accessible by car. The service could link key destinations from Labrador, Southport and the Spit to Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.
Just like the light rail, a ferry service could start with a small route servicing strategic locations and expand over time. It could grow sustainably, and in step with passenger demand.
Like any public transport, it will need to be government subsidised. However, as the city matures, we need to acknowledge that investment in creating an integrated transit system will set our city for future success. It’s about investing now for the benefit of future generations.
Concerns about the six-knot speed limit and the height of bridges within the city’s waterways aren’t real barriers to an effective public ferry service – these issues can be managed by the right operator with a suitable ferry design.
Critical to its success is the location of terminals and the distance between them, so some time and research needs to go into this.
We know there are groups who have expressed interest in delivering a ferry service for the Gold Coast. Collectively, government and the private sector need to agree on a model to support its delivery.
Discussion around new tourism opportunities for the Gold Coast has unearthed some great ideas – a dive wreck off the coast, a cable car to Springbrook – both have merit, but aren’t we forgetting what’s already in front of us?
The Gold Coast has a highly diverse and authentic tourism offering. To create a sustainable tourism market that provides the most benefit to the city, we need to support our existing offering by celebrating and marketing it, reduce regulations for tourism operators to thrive, and inject money into public amenities such as civic space and public Wi-Fi.
Embracing our diverse and unique mix of tourism offerings would best support our local businesses and help to create memorable experiences for both locals and visitors.
After all, the appetite of global travellers is changing, and visitors want to experience a city the same way a local would.
So what are these experiences? Burleigh’s village markets, Miami Marketta, our heritage-listed hinterland trails, fine dining in Broadbeach, Palm Beach’s bustling café scene, Southport’s emerging laneway culture, stand up paddle boarding on Currumbin Creek, Bundall’s state-of-the-art cultural precinct HOTA, our Broadwater Parklands…The list goes on.
We know that great places with identity create attachment, sense of place, pride and greater involvement of people and business with their community. Think of Burleigh Hill on a Sunday afternoon.
So how do we support our great places?
We reduce red tape on liquor licencing and hours of operation within our coastal villages to support night-time trading and creation of viable boutique bars. The cultural and creative life of a city is enhanced by safe, inclusive and vibrant night-time economies.
We better integrate each of our inland and coastal villages to encourage our visitors travel further afield. Extension of light rail and possible introduction of a ferry service would improve tourism accessibility within our city.
We invest in public realm improvements, like public Wi-Fi. Outdoor piazzas and pedestrian streets provide an opportunity to create a sense of place and a variety of great experiences.
We focus on promoting local authentic tourism offerings rather than lobbying for investment into new ‘one-off’ attractions.
We can see our tourism sector is growing, but lengths of stays are declining. We need to rethink how we market our tourism offering to ensure our visitors have a richer local experience, and stay here longer.
YP Gold Coast is calling for a firm commitment from all levels of government to stage 3 of the light rail corridor.
It’s our belief that stage 3 must run along the coastal spine of the city – from Burleigh Heads, to Gold Coast Airport, and beyond to Coolangatta. This route will enable the light rail network to appropriately service residential areas, commercial hubs and employment nodes.
Running the light rail down the coast will enable the development of east-west corridors to places like Robina and Nerang in the longer term. But our priority should be connecting our transport hub and gateway to the city – the airport – to the established light rail network.
The extension of light rail through our iconic coastal villages of Burleigh Heads and Palm Beach can be delivered while protecting the qualities that make these places unique to the Gold Coast.
The light rail doesn’t automatically create unlimited building height and poor development outcomes. The city’s town planning framework can manage development to ensure new development is high quality and reinforces the iconic character of our coastal villages.
We’re also strong advocates for ensuring the delivery of extensions to the light rail don’t unduly impact our small businesses.
Light rail is key to creating a truly world class public transport system for our city, and now is the time for action. Together we need to get behind the project, and advocate for our city’s exciting future. Stage 3 must move ahead, and we need all levels of government need to commit to its delivery.
“Take calculated risks and remember the correlation between risk and reward.”
Paul Little walks the talk. He’s a highly credentialed businessman who built up Toll Holdings’ turnover from less than $20 million and left the company with a market capitalisation in the region of $8 billion.
He now boasts personal wealth of $927 million, according to the 2017 Financial Review rich list.
Addressing a YP Gold Coast lunch at Hellenika this week, Little says his company, Little Group, is here “very much with a toe in the water”.
They’re about to start selling a 263-apartment project on Philip Avenue in Broadbeach – a marked move away from Melbourne’s inner-city apartment market that Little says has become tough as buyers find it increasingly difficult to secure funding.
“We’ve reached a point of confidence when we can push the button on the project,” Little said to 120 Gold Coast business leaders and entrepreneurs.
“Things in Sydney and Melbourne have become tough, but we’re very excited about this project. The area is ready for it.
“Broadbeach has such strong infrastructure, wonderful patrolled surf beaches, the light rail and the casino development."
Little was joined by Urbis Gold Coast director Matthew Schneider, who believes the city, while young, is at an important stage of maturation.
“We need to mature not only as a place to live, but as an investment destination,” he said.
“And as we grow we’ll confront big city challenges – investing in infrastructure, tackling traffic congestion – but we should do it without selling our souls. That’s our challenge as a business community.
“The Gold Coast does need to attract investment from abroad. We aren’t a big capital city that has the critical mass to sustain itself.”
Little shares Schneider’s appreciation for the offshore dollar.
“An Australian city that can take large cruise ships has huge income potential for the economy. It’s a large international market,” said Little, referring to controversial plans for a cruise ship terminal in the city.
“Investment in the expansion of Gold Coast Airport is very important for attracting people to the city. People want to fly direct, they don’t want to go via somewhere to get somewhere else.”
But it was some little pearls of wisdom that left an impression on the audience.
“If you’re starting off in your career, try and work out where you want to finish in life. Don’t work out where you want to start. Allow yourself to dream a bit; work out where you want to finish and work backwards from that,” he said.
“From doing so, you’ll have a better idea of how to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
“And remember the risk/reward ratio.”
So perhaps Little’s foray into Gold Coast property is a risk, but history suggests it’s one that will pay dividends.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TyuVSIqhE4&feature=youtu.be
“The sharing of knowledge makes knowledge greater”.
So says Danny Maher, the founder of Gold Coast-based business software multinational Opmantek and passionate advocate for connecting and empowering innovators.
Danny addressed a group of more than 130 professionals and entrepreneurs at YP Gold Coast’s cocktail function at Sandbar Surfers Paradise recently, providing rare insight into how he built Opmantek from a start-up to a booming business that services more than 130,000 organisations worldwide.
‘Build it and they will come’ is Danny’s attitude to attracting talent to the city.
“The Gold Coast is a fantastic place to live and do business,” he said.
“There’s loads of smart people who want to work on the Gold Coast, we just need to create the opportunities and show them they exist.”
When Danny was establishing his business, he would list positions in Sydney or Melbourne in order to attract workers at the top of their fields.
“We needed the best of the best, and they just weren’t looking at the Gold Coast,” he said.
“You can have a go and you can get things done here. You just need the right people.”
Danny shared his vision for morphing the Gold Coast into an IT hub and how to capitalise on innovation and disruption.
“We’ve founded the Gold Coast innovation hub where people can get the resources they need to make their businesses more successful,” he said.
“We need innovative businesses to know they can succeed here.”
And if Opmantek is anything to go by, succeed they can.
As the Young Professionals of the Gold Coast, we wanted to let you know that we are fully supportive of your investment in the Gold Coast and we wanted you to know – please don’t give up on our City.
We are sorry that, to date, your development proposals have not been successful. It is regrettable that as a City we have stuffed you around – first with Wavebreak and then with The Spit.
But we truly believe that the Gold Coast is maturing into a global city and the type of investment you wish to make is critical to ensuring we continue to attract the best talent from around the world.
We are a passionate group of Gold Coasters advocating for quality economic development, and diversification of our career prospects. Your development will begin to realise these aims.
As a group, we think the perfect location for your development is the ‘old hospital site’ in Southport, the Gold Coast’s CBD. It’s just over 3 hectares in size, on top of a hill with water views, with 3 road frontages, and a light rail station out the front. The site is currently vacant.
A prospective purchaser of the site has proposed a very mediocre development, but we believe our CBD deserves better.
We believe this site within our CBD deserves your development. It is the prime site within our CBD, with the highest and best zoning in our City (Priority Development Area) - so you won’t get stuffed around there!
We would love to see your development built within our City. Your development is exactly what the future generations living, working and visiting our City will want and need.
YP Gold Coast
Please direct media enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
YOUNG Professionals Gold Coast has called on its members to use the organisation as a means to advocate for the change they want to see in the city.
More than 170 local young professionals, business executives and entrepreneurs gathered at The Island Rooftop last week for a cocktail event hosted by YP Gold Coast.
The organisation used the opportunity to introduce its management committee and encourage attendees to connect with them to collectively drive positive change across the region.
YP Gold Coast prides itself on being the city’s leading advocacy group and hopes its members will take a proactive role in its advocacy efforts, says committee president Sean Braybrook.
“We’re a passionate group of Gold Coasters who want to help bring the new generation of our city’s professionals together and with them, do something meaningful,” he said.
“We want people to see us as a vehicle to drive their own ideas and initiatives that will have a positive impact on the Gold Coast’s business community.”
YP Gold Coast’s charity partner, OzHarvest, raised $705 through its raffle on the evening, allowing them to deliver 1,410 meals to people in need across the city.
Future YP Gold Coast events will be announced on the organisation’s Facebook page and website: www.ypgc.com.au.
Anyone wishing to connect with the committee can do so via email: email@example.com.
Find your passion, surround yourself with the right people, and have a fair dinkum crack.
That’s the message to come out of YP Gold Coast’s Entrepreneurs Lunch at Harry’s Steak Bistro and Bar on Friday, March 10.
Keynote speaker Tony Cochrane, Chairman of the Gold Coast SUNS, was joined by some of the city’s trailblazing entrepreneurs - HiSmile founders Nik Mirkovic and Alex Tomic, Amazonia creator Dwayne Martens and Superdraft owners Jake Robinson and Mark Deacon.
Cochrane is a firm believer in having a go and believes passion and persistence are the ultimate ingredients for success.
“Don’t hold back. Don’t wait for somebody to invite you. Get involved and have a fair dinkum go. You’ll be amazed at what you can do,” he says.
“These guys (the entrepreneurs) are proof that if you’ve got a good idea and you’re willing to work hard you can make it happen.
“Look at what’s been done in the education space on the Gold Coast – 15 years ago it was barely an industry in its own right, now education is one of our top economic drivers.”
Cochrane says small to medium sized companies are the future of the Gold Coast’s business landscape.
“I don’t think we’ll ever be a big business city. We’re not about skyscrapers and suits. It’s not us and I hope it never is,” he says.
Nik Mirkovic, whose teeth whitening company turned over $10 million in two years, agrees the city’s smaller size and laidback nature are conducive to success through innovation.
“The Gold Coast allows you to be the best version of yourself and not get caught in the business rat race,” he says.
Size and location aside, each speaker highlighted the important role their teams have played in their organisations’ success.
Dwayne Martens founded Amazonia at 22 selling acai smoothies from a stand at his local markets. He established his now mutli-million dollar health food empire with the support of friends, but rapid expansion required him to staff up.
“Now I’m in a great space where my role is to drive innovation in the business,” he says.
“I can’t be completely involved in all operational aspects of the business – I need to work smart.
“I spent a lot of time ensuring the right people were around me, and that those people hired the right people.
“They all do it a hell of a lot better than me.”
Superdraft’s Jake Robinson, who leads a team of 120 designers with a portfolio of more than 2,700 completed projects, says people are the hardest part of any business.
“People are expensive and they can make or break your business,” he says.
“Find the right people who share your vision and follow your leadership. Then do what only you can do and delegate everything else.”
For the founders of HiSmile, finding the right team was integral to filling a skill gap in their business.
“We’re not dentists, we saw a business opportunity,” Alex Tomic says.
“We knew our strengths and sought the expertise of the right people when we needed to.”
Cochrane says a skilled and supported team is vital for any successful business.
“You can have the best product in the world and the best ideas, but if you don’t have the right people around you, you’re in trouble,” he says.
“We (Gold Coast SUNS) have spent the last 12 months making sure we have the best people in their roles.
“Whether you’re the chairman or the cleaner, every person has a role to play, and there’s no excuse for not treating everybody in the workplace the same.
“Of course not everyone can be the CEO, but everyone deserves respect and to truly feel part of an organisation."
The vocal minority disputing the transformative Mariner’s Cove project proposed for Main Beach are halting the Gold Coast’s economic and cultural progress.
The $600 million Mariner’s Cove would rejuvenate underutilised land, create thousands of local jobs and provide a much-needed boost to the economically depressed Tedder Avenue strip.
Its developer, Sunland’s Soheil Abedian, has likened the Zaha Hadid-designed project to international landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and New York’s Guggenheim Museum.
Young Professionals Gold Coast, the city’s peak body representing young business and industry leaders, says Mariner’s Cove is a landmark project which should be assessed on the long-term benefits it presents to the city.
Vice President Melissa Coleman says the loud voice of a single suburb is petitioning against the development, which is not representative of what the whole city wants.
“It is mind-blowing to me that this is even up for debate,” says Coleman.
“Developers, architects, cultural strategists and those with a beautiful vision are throwing millions of dollars at us, yet we prefer to say ‘no thanks’.
“Infrastructure and traffic management will be improved, yet for the inconvenience of a few years of construction, there are people who would rather halt the economic and cultural progress of our city and the state of Queensland.”
Ms Coleman says argument about the preservation of the Spit lacks merit.
“The proposed site is not even ‘the Spit’, it is south of Marina Mirage and is a wasted site that has been sitting empty for decades,” she says.
“And Main Beach residents can't possibly have concerns for height restrictions when they themselves reside in, or are already surrounded by, buildings of up to 45 storeys.
“As a passionate Gold Coaster, this leads me to question why we listen to the minority - I am confident that the majority of the city is excited by such an incredible development.”
Jessica Thomas says if the Gold Coast is to prosper, locals need to accept that the city will be changing as it provides for population growth.
The YP Gold Coast board member, who is passionate about fostering the city’s young talent, believes the city is on the verge of greatness; however it needs to embrace change and transformation.
Jessica, who was admitted as a solicitor at 22 before being promoted to an associate of law firm Short Punch & Greatorix at 24, highlights the importance of a collective voice in evolving the city as a worldly destination.
“The Gold Coast is a vibrant city that is constantly evolving and with continued proactive leadership the city will thrive,” she says.
“As young professionals, we have the opportunity to assist in the development and growth of our city so long as we are united.”
Read more in this Q&A with Jessica:
What makes the Gold Coast a great place to live and work?
Having grown up on the Gold Coast, studied on the Gold Coast and established my career on the Gold Coast makes me really appreciate the value of a true work life balance. I love the fact I can go for a run on the beach before work and then play netball and touch footy after.
Although I appreciate the time I spent working in Brisbane, having the opportunity to further my career at such an upstanding law firm on the Gold Coast makes me appreciate the opportunities available so close to home.
I wholeheartedly believe that if you have a strong work ethic, you can find that the professional opportunities and benefits that you receive working in the capital cities are also available on the Gold Coast.
Also, the fact that we are in such close proximity to other big cities - we are only an hour drive from Brisbane and an hour flight to Sydney – makes the city even more appealing.
Why are you so passionate about educating future city leaders about the Gold Coast's potential?
When I was asked to join the YP committee, I immediately grasped the opportunity as I saw this as a platform to assist with the motivation of our future city leaders by connecting professionals through various networks. It is always a good feeling to be able to call a peer that I have met through networking at a YP event, to rely on their expertise regardless of their profession.
Networking has also allowed me to grow my contact list which has been invaluable to draw on that experience when my clients are in need of advice in a different specialty.
The Gold Coast is a vibrant city that is constantly evolving and with continued proactive leadership the city will thrive. It is through organisations like YP that the city will continue on a path towards success.
In addition, the key note speakers that present at our YP events offer a diverse range of knowledge and assist with the implementation of ideas that educate those who attend. It is exciting to be part of the team that helps to inspire and motivate young professionals on the Gold Coast. It is through YP, as a collective, that we can develop this place into a world class destination where major international companies invest.
Why is it so important that the city evolves and diversifies?
The young professionals of our city have the opportunity to assist in the development and growth of our city so long as we are united.
Professionals with diverse backgrounds, interests and knowledge, as a collective are able to think laterally and provide innovative solutions for the continued growth of the Gold Coast.
Having knowledge passed down through mentors that have been in business for longer than some of us have been alive is also a great asset. As long as the young and old work together and integrate their knowledge we will do great things for the city.
What do you believe are some of the challenges the city is facing, and what can the Gold Coast do to overcome them?
There are individuals on the Gold Coast that are narrow minded when it comes to development and progression of the city. People need to accept that the Gold Coast is a young city and will be changing as it provides for population growth.
Bernard Salt says that it is more than likely that three mega regions in the next 90 years will develop around Sydney, Melbourne and south-east Queensland (Gold Coast) and that these cities will require careful urban planning. This urban planning needs to begin now.
The city’s infrastructure and transport facilities will also have to be one step ahead of the population growth to maintain the Coast’s liveability.
Lastly, let’s get cracking and develop that vacant land known as the Spit to bring in more jobs, more tourists and give the Gold Coast economy the boost and security it one day may need. People travel the world to visit the built environment and as the Spit and Broadwater south of Wave Break Island is all man made, this area could be developed to be the jewel in Gold Coast’s crown. The area north of Wave Break Island should be maintained as a natural habitat.
What needs to be done to create more jobs on the Gold Coast, and grow the city's corporate culture?
Firstly, we need sustainable development that balances the interests of all stakeholders.
Secondly, we need to attract big investors to the city. If national and international investors view the Gold Coast as a dynamic and emerging city thriving with opportunities, they will have no choice but to invest here to assist with the growth of the corporate culture.
Thirdly, we need to keep graduates on the Coast. We have top ranking secondary schools and some of the best universities in the country, if not the world, that attract local, interstate and international students to complete their tertiary studies.
Lastly, we need to lobby for the decentralisation of government departments and other major corporations from capital cities, for their head offices to relocate to “regional areas” such as the Gold Coast. Imagine if the ATO were to relocate its offices to the Gold Coast. What a boost to the local economy this would be with a boost in the number of public servants and their families living and working on the Gold Coast.
What is the city missing?
The city is missing a united voice when it comes to bettering the city as a whole. Let’s for now focus on the positives and what the city has to offer and how to grow and improve our infrastructure and current assets and opportunities rather than focus on what we are lacking.