“It’s time for the Gold Coast, as a maturing city, to position itself for future success.

Diversification of the economy and sustained population growth have pushed us to true ‘city’ status – reaching a scale and maturity where the boom and bust cycles of decades past could be permanently behind us.

We have a population of 600,000, giving us the critical mass to sustain a resilient and consistent economy. We’ve delivered sustainable volumes of new housing product built since the GFC. Our workforce has matured, with the retail industry overtaken by healthcare and social assistance industry, and huge growth in education.

As the city continues to evolve, we need to be clear about what we want to become – to create a united city vision.

YP Gold Coast recently commissioned a report by Urbis, which suggested the Gold Coast strives to become The World’s Best Subtropical City.

But how? Better and more marketing isn’t the only answer. It starts with us – we need to believe we’ve matured into a city, because belief will drive behaviour. If we act like a small town, we will continue to experience small town issues, like cyclical booms and busts.

Our leaders – in government and industry – must share a common view on the strengths and priorities for the city. But it needs to be driven from the grass roots level, the future leaders of our city, it starts with us.

We must support local business to ‘scale-up’. One of our key challenges as a city is supporting small business to have the confidence and ‘know-how’ to grow into sustainable medium-sized business. We all have a responsibility to invest in local business to support them to hire more staff and take on larger clientele in a sustainable manner.

We as the community need to set out to make a difference in the city by getting involved in initiatives we care about, and that are good for our city as it grows and matures.

We should support growth, positive change and sustainable development, because it will deliver more prosperity for everyone. But we can’t continue to have the binary argument of growth versus no growth, black versus white. The public dialogue needs to shift to one of maturity, one of excellence in design, one which says yes to development that advances our common vision and future goals for our maturing city.

Importantly, before we embark on selling a new vision for the Gold Coast, as The World’s Best Subtropical City, we must believe it ourselves. Are we ready to do that?”

Author: Flynn McFarlane