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YP Gold Coast 1 April 2016


LABOR’S move to water down the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) Bill is a mistake, and any changes to the laws are set to detrimentally impact the city’s reputation as a place to live, work and play.

The laws, established in 2013 after the infamous bikie brawl in Broadbeach, have cleaned up the streets and that is evident in the lack of activity around outlaw motorcycle gang members in public places across the city.

The inability of gang members to assemble or exercise their influence by wearing club colours has seen a new level of safety in all suburbs of the Gold Coast, from the hinterland to the beaches.

Most importantly, the VLAD laws have made it much more difficult for bikie gangs to gather, thanks to the Rapid Action and Patrols Taskforce (RAP Squad), which was assembled to tackle organised crime.

Bikie 3There were eight active club-houses when the RAP Squad was established, now there are none, meaning gangs are unable to take advantage of the strength they have as a club.  

The Labor Government’s review into Organised Crime Legislation, which includes the much debated VLAD laws, was handed to Attorney General Yvette D'ath today, although it won't be released to the public until next week.

The Queensland Taskforce on Organised Crime Legislation, which conducted the review, was instructed to ‘advise how best to repeal, or replace by substantial amendment’ the legislation.

It is obvious the agenda of Labor, and it is expected the review will recommend the VLAD laws be repealed by the Palaszczuk government, igniting concerns outlaw gangs will regroup and again exert their power throughout the city.

YP Gold Coast shares these concerns, with fears the most prominent groups including the Hells Angels, Bandidos, Nomads and Finks, are set to receive a leg up from the weakened laws.

The question YP Gold Coast wants to ask is why fix something that isn’t broken?  Since the inception of the laws, there is greater certainty flowing through the city.

Tourism is on the rebound, which of course is a reflection of a bunch of different factors, however it is partly due to returning confidence that the Gold Coast is a safer environment for visitors.

The bikie brawl in 2013 was broadcast by news outlets all over the world, damaging the reputation of the Gold Coast as a place to holiday.  Now, these motorcycle gangs are not even given the opportunity to mingle, let alone brawl on the streets of the city.

In addition, international education is now a major contributor to the city’s economy and it is vital the Gold Coast portrays a safe and stable reputation in order for this growth to continue.

In 2018 the city is set to be launched onto the world stage, as the Commonwealth Games hits the shores of our city, and the image projected must be one of safety and security. 

YP Gold Coast is in full support of the VLAD laws and urges the Labor Government to continue a tough and strict stance on organised crime.

Should the VLAD laws remain or be repealed?  Have your say on the issue and comment below. 

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10 March 2016


REM4LEGAL eagle Melissa Coleman says future city leaders cannot be frightened of change in order for the Gold Coast to move forward as a flourishing city.

The Vice President of YP Gold Coast is encouraging the up-and-coming talent of the Gold Coast to be ‘YES’ people, saying the city needs strong leaders that are forward-thinking to tackle the Gold Coast’s unprecedented population growth.  

“There are too many voices opposed to the city’s progression, yet they are the same people who complain about the lack of employment opportunities, traffic congestion and property availability,” says Coleman.

“Our city leaders, while taking into consideration the voices of the minority, cannot be frightened of change.”

Coleman graduated from Bond University with Honours and made Senior Associate at Rose Litigation Lawyers at the ripe age of 26 where she has been involved in multi-million-dollar Supreme Court litigation cases.

The young lawyer is well on track to achieving her vision of becoming partner of Rose Litigation Lawyers before 30, and talks to YP Gold Coast about her vision for the city, explaining why the coastal city is the best place to live, work and play.

What makes the Gold Coast a great place to live and work?

The Gold Coast is a growing city. As young professionals we have the unique opportunity to shape our city into the environment we want to live and work in. We know we have a great work-life balance, but what we also have is the ability to create a city that is cultural, progressive and innovative. No other city in Australia can offer its younger generation that opportunity.

As a YP Gold Coast committee member, why are you so passionate about educating future generations of city leaders about the Gold Coast’s potential?

Being in the professional services industry, I can see first-hand the difficulties of recruiting and retaining quality employees. There has always been a connotation that to succeed in the legal industry, you need to work in London, Sydney or Melbourne and that there is no career longevity on the Coast. We have exceptionally good quality work on the Coast, not just in professional services, and it is so important that we encourage our best talent to see a future for themselves here.

What do you believe are some of the challenges the city is facing, and what can the Gold Coast do to overcome these?

The Gold Coast has become a victim of its own success. We have unprecedented population growth and our city’s infrastructure cannot sustain it. There are too many voices opposed to the city’s progression, yet they are the same people who complain about the lack of employment opportunities, traffic congestion and property availability. Our city leaders, while taking into consideration the voices of the minority, cannot be frightened of change. All residents must focus on the future of our city and the needs of the population and this needs to happen now.

What needs to be done to create more jobs on the Gold Coast, and grow the city’s corporate culture?

We need to become a city of ‘yes’ people. We should be saying yes to cultural precincts. We should be saying yes to initiatives that promote entrepreneurship and we absolutely must say yes to projects that improve our day to day lives and liveability of our city.

What is the city missing? 

The Gold Coast is incredibly disjointed. The geographical nature of the city naturally divides between the northern, central and southern areas and with that, come competing interests for the city. There is a real opportunity for a collective Gold Coast voice which promotes the city in its entirety. YP Gold Coast is focussed on bringing together the young professionals of the city as a whole, but our current city leaders and other established community forums must take a collective approach for the betterment of the city.  


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4 March 2016


ENTREPRENEURSHIP is in a league of its own in terms of its ability to generate economic growth, create jobs, and transform society.

That is why investing in entrepreneurship and innovation is important if the Gold Coast and Queensland wants to move forward as a leading business destination.

Last year, the Premier recognised this direction and invested $40 million in establishing a flourishing start-up culture in our state.

The business development fund is set to inject money into start-ups, entrepreneurship and innovation in Queensland with the aim of turning great ideas into commercial realities.

YP Gold Coast believes that this sort of investment is pivotal in the Gold Coast’s establishment as a worldly city.  

No longer is the Gold Coast just the ‘theme park capital of Australia’ – it is a city with endless opportunities for development, investment and business.

That isn’t to say that tourism is not vital to our economy, it most definitely is, and should also be nurtured and further invested in.

But, investment in people leads to entrepreneurial and business benefits.

By investing in the people of the Gold Coast, particularly the young and ambitious talent that is coming out of our universities, we are sending a message that the Gold Coast is a great place to lay down roots.

The aim is to encourage more and more entrepreneurs to recognise the Gold Coast as a launching pad to a prosperous future – we do not want to see business professionals moving from the Gold Coast to start up businesses in other cities.

YP Gold Coast aims to help create conditions that allow more entrepreneurs to start businesses and will work to nurture an environment that allows these businesses to grow.  

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7 January 2016


THERE'S a new real estate brand on the Gold Coast block, headed by two young guns with real estate pedigree and focused on changing the face of property.

Mitch Lambert and Jesse Willcox (pictured left-right) don't come with traditional brochures or window cards. They also avoid the nine to five and, despite their youth, say they 'won't take' social media in the workplace. 

Hard sells, 23-year-old Lambert and 26-year-old Willcox sharpened their business savvy while learning under the best.

Lambert is a former McGrath agent and son of property developer Rod Lambert, who co-owned and operated Lambert Smollen Estate Agents in the 90s. Willcox quickly made a name for himself as a top 1 per cent agent for McGrath in Queensland holding record suburb sales in Paradise Waters and Chevron Island to boot.

Willcox says the risk of leaving McGrath and opening Lambert Willcox was 'leaving it on the table'.

"You can get really favourable commissions working for an agency without any real risk, but I didn't want to work for a company forever - I wanted something greater," says Willcox.

Jesse Willcox Mitchell Lambert"I found out since leaving that working for the big brand name is definitely not as attractive as I once thought.

"I don't just want to be a real estate agent and then groom my kids to follow in those footsteps, so when the opportunity presented itself to work with my best mate, I grabbed it with both hands."

Willcox says the Lambert Willcox pledge starting on day one was: 'honest, ethical and will outwork the competition'.

He says a lot of people in the beginning doubted their abilities to build on the momentum achieved working for someone else, but the same people became supportive 'almost overnight'.

Setting up shop at Surf Parade, Broadbeach just last week, Lambert Willcox has already made one sale at Surfers Waters under the hammer and can currently count three listings.

"Our female readership in particular on has gone through the roof," says Lambert, adding it's not just the charm of the founders.

Lambert Willcox Norseman Court Surfers Paradise Gold Coast property real estate"We present every home like it's being featured in Vogue Living from an interior design perspective,  so imagery is real life and not staged. That means the family dog will feature candidly, and we won't relent on a property having video footage.

"The market was calling out for more transparency and authenticity, and we think the big players in the industry really haven't changed for decades."

Willcox spent time in Sydney, London, Paris and the US before taking the leap, and says Lambert Willcox has taken marketing inspiration from other boutique firms.

He says working the industry from the ground up also delivered 'invaluable' experience.

After studying journalism, Willcox went through five interviews to become a real estate agency receptionist, was accepted on the sixth, and in a couple of years worked through a traineeship, administration, property management and sales manager roles.

Lambert says flux in family life informed his decision to go out on his own at 22 and 'take my destiny into my own hands rather than waiting for someone else to handle it'.

Jesse Willcox Mitchell Lambert 3 2"We think a lot of salespeople lack the discipline needed to handle the industry because of the freedom it provides," says Lambert.

"There's a huge focus on personal sacrifice over personal productivity in western culture and a lot of real estate agencies honestly become adult day-care centres.

"We hate 'busy being busy' - an agent will finish the week and sigh 'big week' but didn't achieve any sales or listings. It happens all the time. We don't want our agents sitting there doing that.

"Don't just turn up at nine and leave at five. We don't have set hours and just want our staff working whenever it suits them best.

"We put our names on the door and that's what we keep coming back to. When someone goes out into the marketplace, they don't just have their name on the business card, but mine and Jesse's too."

Lambert Willcox will begin hiring in January, slow and steady, prepared to take on a pipeline of work that will be as long as can be managed. And they are gearing up for a big pipeline.

"The Gold Coast market is better than I've ever seen it professionally and we speak about it a lot," says Willcox.

"I started in real estate when the market was falling, during the GFC, and you learnt tough lessons then.

"Now what the market is doing and the speed of offers coming in, I think it's an easy time for real estate agents."

Images three, four, five and six taken at Willcox Lambert's recent listings in Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise. 



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2 December 2015


YOUNG Professionals Gold Coast was pleased to be involved in the Gold Coast Business News Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards – an event highlighting the exceptional young talent this city has to offer.

In collaboration with the news organisation, YP Gold Coast launched the Young Professional of the Year award, an award recognising those kicking big goals for the businesses they work for.

Six finalists were chosen and although they hail from different backgrounds with different experience, they all have one thing in common - they want to see the Gold Coast flourish as a world-class business destination.

All of the determined individuals listed below were finalists in the Young Professional of the Year category as part of the 2015 Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, with the top gong presented to Maggie Zhang.

Maggie Zhang, 28, Greater China Business Development Manager – JLF Group of Companies

Maggie ZhangIN 2013 Maggie Zhang was headhunted by JLF Group of Companies CEO John Fitzgerald to expand his Australian operations into China. 

With a brief to source and vet potential partners in China, to help people build wealth through property investment, Zhang conducted a number of successful negotiations.

Since then, Zhang has built a team and forged a successful business venture with Chinese partners, leading to annual turnover of more than $60 million a year.

Zhang is also on a mission to forge the Gold Coast as a leading destination for Chinese tourism.

More than 100 million Chinese tourists travel abroad each year, with this number set to double before 2020.

Zhang says it is disappointing that the Gold Coast, the tourism capital of Australia, only attracts less than 1 per cent of those travellers.

“I think the key phrase for all Young Professionals is ‘embrace China’,” says Zhang.

“Chinese are good people who provide great opportunities to Gold Coast through investment, tourism and education. I see the Gold Coast being number one for Chinese tourism and education.”

To improve its prospects, Zhang says the Gold Coast needs to create a strong identity that is not reliant on tourism.

“The biggest challenge we face on the Gold Coast is establishing our identity,” says Zhang. 

“We have expanded past the ‘theme park capital of Australia’ and that is so exciting, but we need an identity that will set us apart from everyone else.

“We need to work hard to promote the Gold Coast as a secure investment region underpinned by our commitment to tourism growth and education, and with institutional banking support.”

Amanda Williams, 31, Manager Gaven Electoral Office – Queensland Parliamentary Service

Amanda Williams StandingAMANDA Williams is proving to be a woman of influence in the political arena, having executed successful media and communication campaigns for both federal and state politicians.

The young professional has spent the last three and a half years travelling to Parliament House Canberra while working as a media advisor for Karen Andrew MP and Bert van Manen MP, assisting with legislation analysis and media relations.

She now works in the office of Sid Cramp MP, Member for Gaven, where she advises on political campaign strategies and tactics to help him secure a favourable position for re-election.

Williams says she is grateful for the opportunity to live and work on the Gold Coast, but she says those opportunities are rare.

“You only have to see the flow of traffic heading north on the M1 during the working week to see how many Gold Coast professionals commute away from our city for work,” says Williams.

“I believe the Gold Coast can grow its corporate culture and provide more jobs for local professionals but we have to ensure we are putting the pressure on our city leaders to attract and drive investment into our region.

“Additionally, professionals, government representatives and community leaders alike should be campaigning for the decentralisation of the public service from the Brisbane CBD to provide more opportunities on the Gold Coast.”

Offering advice to young professionals starting a career, Williams says ‘pick your boss, not your job’.

“You will save so much time having a great mentor who believes in you and provides you with the opportunities to grow and excel in your career,” she says.

James Ledgerwood, 30, Residential Real Estate Agent – McGrath Estate Agents

James Ladgerwood YPHE IS behind the sale of some of the Gold Coast’s most prestigious properties, including a record $9.8 million achieved for a Southport home on the Nerang River.

James Ledgerwood is fast establishing a big name for himself in the real estate industry, recently being recognised in the top 10 agents within McGrath Estate Agents in Queensland. 

With a love and passion for the city, Ledgerwood says in order to grow the corporate culture and encourage more job opportunities for those wanting to work in the city, the Gold Coast needs to realise its potential.

“We need to work towards retaining the talent coming out of our universities, which are some of the best in the country,” says Ledgerwood.  “Also we need to attract large Australian and international firms to base themselves here for the long term.”

He says that while the city is focussed on the 2018 Commonwealth Games, it needs to look beyond the 10-day event.

“We need to ensure that the infrastructure legacy left by the 2018 Commonwealth Games is one that leaves our city with new opportunities into the future both from an economic and liveability stand point,” he says.

Philip Taylor, 34, Director – Sol Cleanse

Phil Taylor YPHIS background might be in architecture, but Philip Taylor is proving that a change in career and industry can be just what a professional needs.

After working for large architectural firms in London, Sydney and Byron Bay where Taylor designed, built and project managed a bunch of homes and subdivisions, he is now extending his project management skills to Sol Cleanse.

As the director of the company, Taylor is responsible for organising, managing and further establishing the wholesale branch of the juicing company, and has helped build turnover for the wholesale arm of the business to around $40,000 per month.

Although there has been plenty of discussion around diversifying the Gold Coast economy, Taylor says to ensure the future prosperity of the city, it should stick to what it does best.  

“Maintaining Gold Coasts corporate structure begins with the focus at tertiary level,” says Taylor.

“For both trades and business education, this area already has the lifestyle to provide the foundation needed with people. Now it just needs to maintain and create the opportunities.  

“I see constant growth around the city, yet the sustainability of these ventures also needs to be measured in longevity. Focus on what this city does best and do it well – tourism.”

Emily Georgopoulos, 24, Physiotherapist – Pogo Physio

Emily Georgopoulos YPEMILY Georgopoulos has managed to turn a role in administration into a thriving career in physiotherapy.

Georgopoulos started her career working on the front desk, but with a determination to fulfil her dreams, she now works as a top physio and clinical pilates instructor at Gold Coast-headquartered Pogo Physio.

She says the ultimate aim is to specialise in women, whether assisting pregnant females with exercise or assisting someone recovering from breast cancer.

“Sometimes being a young person and having older clients who doubt your knowledge due to your age can be quite challenging,” says Georgopoulos.

“It has been a great learning opportunity as how to phrase things and show my knowledge and therefore gain trust.”

Looking to the future, Georgopoulos says the city is set to face a few challenges, with the population expected to double in the next 35 years.

“I think some of the biggest challenges the Gold Coast will face over the next five years is residential capacity for everyone moving to the Gold Coast for work, especially with the upcoming Commonwealth Games, and for public transport to service more areas,” she says.

“I think extending the tram line to meet with a train station and increasing car parking so people can park somewhere and then catch the train/tram/bus will really encourage people to utilise public transport and reduce traffic and our carbon footprint as a city.”

Matthew Taulke-Johnson, 34, Senior Web Developer – iOnline

Matthew Johnson YPMATTHEW Taulke-Johnson says the city needs to establish itself as a hub for tech startups, if it wants to grow as a worldly city.

“I believe more work can be done by the community to promote the Gold Coast as a hub of innovation through attracting tech startups,” he says.

“Making the Gold Coast an attractive proposition for tech startups will bring with it more job opportunities and a modern technical focused culture which the Gold Coast needs.”

As a web developer at iOnline, Taulke-Johnson has worked with big names, including Baskin Robbins, to deliverer digital solutions.

Through his job, he has seen the impact of the lack of high speed internet and says this has an impact on investment on the Gold Coast.

 “Many companies and tech startups will choose not to settle their offices on the Gold Coast simply due to the lack of reliable high speed broadband, and will choose to migrate to larger cities such as Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.”

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27 November 2015


Investment in infrastructure projects is vital in fostering economic growth in a city.  Because of this, it is imperative that high-level community consultation is integrated at the initial planning stage for future development, to ensure our city’s future leaders will not pay for today’s spending and (potential) mistakes.  

With this in mind, Mayor Tom Tate and the City of Gold Coast recently announced a feedback campaign which will determine the path of the light rail’s third stage, indicating that the extension will move south, focusing on the area from Broadbeach to Burleigh and beyond.

While there has been debate around the second stage of the light rail, with some business leaders critically noting the route passes through ‘no-man’s land’, it is a priority of YP Gold Coast to make sure this is not the conclusion of the third stage.

YP Gold Coast is urging young professionals to get involved in the feedback campaign, which is one of the largest community consultations in the city’s history. 

The airport is the obvious end point, being the inter-state and foreign gateway for the city. The question lies with ‘how’ we get there? With so many vested parties lobbying for different routes along the Coast and through more western suburbs, the consultation is sure to raise some very viable options and some controversial debate.

The tram system is expected to travel south down the spine of the city, from Broadbeach to Burleigh, with plans for spur lines to Robina or The Spit.  However, there has already been discussion with some industry leaders suggesting it travel west of Broadbeach and connect straight to the Nerang heavy rail, via Metricon Stadium.

The Gold Coast needs a dedicated and reliable public transport system and one that leaves a legacy for the city - the community consultation process is a great opportunity for Gold Coasters to share our wish-list with current city leaders, and direct the city’s transport to the wants and needs of residents.

Ultimately, as future city leaders, it is important that we have a voice in major decisions that impact the viability and liveability of our City.

The campaign kicks off on 30 November 2015, with results of the consultation compiled early in the New Year.

YP Gold Coast will keep readers up to date with the progress of the campaign. 

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26 November 2015


THE cruise ship terminal debate has once again re-surfaced with Mayor Tom Tate unveiling his vision for the divisive project just three months before the March 19 election.

Tate envisages a pylon-type structure situated on the ocean side of The Spit which includes a floating platform to be built in the ocean with a jetty connecting the terminal and mainland.

This comes on the back of the Queensland Government’s axing of the $7.6 billion terminal at Wavebreak Island, part of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s election promise.

While YP Gold Coast is in support of growing tourism numbers, and ultimately the Gold Coast economy, its support for the cruise ship terminal project is dependent on final plans which includes the cost of the project, the environmental impact and the surrounding infrastructure initiatives.

Looking at the project as a whole, it is great for boosting tourism on the Gold Coast – it is another avenue for holiday makers to reach our wonderful city. 

It will also boost jobs in the tourism and hospitality industries, and it is expected to inject millions of dollars a year into the local economy.

If the project can be done in a cost-effective way, with limited impact on the environment, and, if hard figures are supplied that indicate it will significantly impact business and tourism on the Gold Coast, then YP Gold Coast is right behind the investment. 

Also importantly, consideration needs to be taken in regards to infrastructure surrounding The Spit to mitigate traffic and congestion issues.

The cruise ship terminal debate is not going to go away, and it shouldn’t – the Gold Coast is full of passionate people that want only the best for the city.

But, the debate needs to be civilised.  There needs to be some sort of compromise to ensure that future generations of Gold Coasters can benefit.

YP Gold Coast will continue to follow the debate, and update young professionals on the project including the pros and cons of the development. 

Do you want to see a cruise ship terminal on the Gold Coast?  Comment below. 

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21 October 2015


IF THE city wants to provide a sustainable economic pipeline, which provides vast and diverse opportunities to future generations of Gold Coasters, it needs a strong and supported CBD.

Suggestions of a second CBD, such as Robina or Coomera, are unmerited and only weaken the economic strength and integrity of our region, while hurting the city’s reputation as a place to do business and invest.

Southport has always been the CBD of the Gold Coast, and its position as the city’s business capital was only cemented when the state government declared Southport a Priority Development Area in October 2013. 

Since then, more than $2.5 billion in commercial, residential and industrial development has been committed to the area, showcasing the significance of having a dedicated business hub.  In addition:

  • Southport has the highest concentration of employment of any statistical division of the Gold Coast, providing 25,000 jobs, with these figures expected to grow to 60,000 by 2036. 
  • Southport has the highest amount of commercial floor space in the city, with more than 150,000sqm over close to 100 buildings.
  • Mayor Tom Tate recently predicted Southport’s current population of 30,000 will more than double by 2036.
  • Southport will be the epicenter for the Commonwealth Games, as home to the 30ha athlete’s village at Parklands and the $50 million Aquatic Centre.
  • Southport is home to the vibrant Chinatown precinct, adding a multicultural flavor to our emerging city centre.
  • Southport is home to the Gold Coast University Hospital, the G:Link which connects Southport to Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach, the world-class Broadwater Parklands, and Griffith University.

Anyone who suggests that the Gold Coast doesn’t need a CBD or should have multiple CBDs, is not considering the future viability and sustainability of the city.

Business supports business, and prosperity and business confidence is created in a region when efficiencies are made and supply chains are formed.  A CBD that boasts an array of businesses and industries gives businesses the best chance at long-term sustainable growth. 

Historically, the Gold Coast’s greatest failing is its cyclical economy, with big booms and big busts, rather than other cities that experience a more stable economic pattern. For the reasons explained above, the focus on a core CBD can help ease this cycle providing more business certainty and confidence.

Ultimately, the Gold Coast’s turf wars need to end if the city wants to grow and reach its full potential.  

It shouldn’t be a question of: how can we claim the city’s CBD status? Business leaders should be asking: how can we leverage off one another to not only better our area, but also the city as a whole?

The Gold Coast is the sixth largest city in Australia and arguably the fastest growing city in the nation.  It makes sense that the Gold Coast has a strong and diverse CBD, and a CBD that is supported by all.  

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1 October 2015


INVESTMENT and development is vital if the city wants to grow and establish itself as a world-class destination.

The Spit, which is an iconic piece of real estate on the Gold Coast, is gearing up for massive transformation, with high-profile companies recognising our wonderful city as a place to lay down roots.

Sunland Group has taken a leap back into the Gold Coast high-rise market with plans for a $600 million redevelopment of Mariner’s Cove.

The vision for the tired site incorporates a major aquarium compromising three separate tanks with species from three oceans, a 1000-seat convention centre, a five-star hotel, a retail and dining precinct, a floating park and a science and arts museum which is located under a sculptured roof. 

Dubbed The Mariner, it is expected to bring in an additional 500,000 tourists to the city each year and the company says it will lay the groundwork for the city’s evolution as a world city.

Although it is yet to receive council approval, these are the sorts of projects that make the Gold Coast stand out on a world map. 

Meanwhile, Chinese billionaire-backed empire Aquis has snapped up properties across the city and launched bold plans for major developments, including an integrated resort at The Sheraton Mirage.

Labor has also given ASF its blessing to develop an integrated tourism resort and casino on a vacant 5ha site south of Sea World and north of the fisherman’s co-operative. Details of the development are yet to be finalised with ASF expected to present its initial proposal in the first quarter of 2016.

If the city wants to grow and prosper, it must embrace projects like this and invest in developments and assets that move the city forward. If it doesn't do this, the Gold Coast will remain at a standstill.

While there is still opposition surrounding the development of The Spit, these sort of projects and commitments only assist in forging the Gold Coast ahead as the Australian tourism capital and ideal residential destination. 

The Spit is wasted land in its current state and has so much more potential.  If we want to be taken seriously as a city then we need to give these developments the tick of approval and support them.    We need to embrace development and new concepts.

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30 September 2015

Ensuring the city reaches its full potential

WE live in a city that is overflowing with greatness – it is a place to raise a family and retire, it is a leading tourism destination, it has thriving education and medical hubs and, most notably, it is forging ahead as a powerhouse for business. 

But so often the Gold Coast’s corporate culture is overlooked because it isn’t a capital city. This is despite start-ups and top ASX-listed businesses choosing the Gold Coast as their stomping ground. 

Varsity Lakes-headquartered Opmantek is proving that the city can be a world leader in the technology field, recently winning a flurry of international awards including America’s favourite systems management product, ahead of computer technology giant Dell.  On top of this, its CEO Danny Maher edged out corporate heavyweights David Thodey and Alan Joyce in the 2015 Stevie Awards. 

Meanwhile, young entrepreneurs Justin Cameron and Lex Pederson are building a global empire from Burleigh Heads.  SurfStitch (ASX:SRF), the former Billabong subsidiary, has emerged as a big growth story in the retail actions sports sector and recently beat prospectus forecasts by posting a $4.1 million net profit for FY15.

The list outlining the exceptional talent the Gold Coast has to offer could go on.  But the trouble we are facing is that it is difficult to portray this side of the city, and it is often clouded by the beaches and tourist attractions.   

This isn’t to say that tourism is not vital to the economy – it most definitely is. The sector underpins the local economy to the tune of $4.8 billion, supports 8700 local tourism businesses and employs more than 35,000 full-time employees.   

However, we shouldn’t rely on tourism.  The city has everything that major cities around the world aspire to have and we need to make the most of all of our assets.

The Gold Coast is on the cusp of greatness, but investment in innovation and entrepreneurship is needed if the city wants to reach its full potential.  This is one priority for the Turnbull government. 

Secondly, we need strong economic leadership– if we get strong economic leadership at a federal level it will ultimately create a strong local economy.

And thirdly, Investment in infrastructure is vital.  Most importantly, the second stage of the light rail needs to be a priority and delivered before the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

YP Gold Coast is calling on the Turnbull government to recognise the importance of investing in vital urban infrastructure projects, which were often ignored by Abbott.

Although public transport is not a responsibility of the Federal Government, this project needs the support of all tiers of government if it is to come to fruition before 2018.

With the appointment of three Gold Coast federal members to ministry – Stuart Robert, Steven Ciobo and Karen Andrews – we have a stronger voice at a national level. 

We just need to make sure our voice outweighs those of vested minority groups that can often scream the loudest. 

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