High profile business leaders have put their heads together in a bid to propel the Gold Coast to world-class status.
On Wednesday, Mayor Tom Tate joined entertainment guru Tony Cochrane, Queensland Airports CEO Chris Mills, co-owner of the Gold Coast Titans Rebecca Frizelle and an array of other influential Gold Coasters to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the city.
Gold Coast Bulletin editor Rachel Hancock told myGC the roundtable luncheon was a chance to discuss how the city needs to innovate and evolve to reach its potential.
“We all talk about wanting the Gold Coast to be a better place to live, to work, to have tourists come in – but I feel like we don’t all actually work together,” she said.
“We just wanted to get some of the key business leaders to come together and look at a real platform for the next 10 years.”
One of the key issues discussed was the city’s infrastructure, including the necessity for construction of Light Rail Stage 3A to get underway.
Despite the project still being at the centre of a funding stoush, Mayor Tom Tate told myGC there’s no reason why they can’t start construction now and sort out the funding shortfall later.
“We should start the project now because it’s not going to be finished for 18 months, ” he said. “So, until the bill has to be paid in 18 months, let’s get on with it.
“In other words, put your order in at the restaurant, we’ll split the bill later and at the very least, the children are hungry, let’s get on with it.”
Queensland Airports CEO Chris Mills also backed calls to extend the light rail to Gold Coast Airport as soon as possible.
Construction of a new hotel at the airport and the expansion of the terminal is underway as part of a $500 million master plan.
“For us, with that level of investment, we need to make sure we have a great connection to the airport and a great experience for people coming through,” Mr Mills said.
“People visiting the Gold Coast want a seamless experience, so for us that’s the light rail.”
“It’s not just for tourists, it’s for locals too and for future generations, that’s why getting in now, getting the infrastructure in place now means we don’t have to retrofit something when it’s too late.”
Other areas explored during the roundtable discussion included population, housing, water, tourism and education.
Highlights from the conversation will now form the basis for the Gold Coast Bulletin’s Future Gold Coast campaign that will run in the paper and online from September 2-14, culminating in an event with keynote speaker Bernard Salt on Thursday September 12.