Industry leaders from across the city came together at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre yesterday for the ‘Reimagine Gold Coast Jobs, Skills and Industry Forum’.
The think tank organised by the City Heart Taskforce saw representatives from 11 key economic pillars pitch their ideas to the Federal Government, with the Member for Moncrieff Angie Bell, Minister for Government Services and the National Disability Insurance Scheme Stuart Robert and Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews all in attendance.
Topics included revitalising the Southport CBD, industry transformation, infrastructure, rebuilding tourism and the future of hospitality and accommodation.
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Chair of The City Heart Taskforce, Federal Member for Moncrieff Angie Bell, said the forum was an opportunity to chart a way forward for the Gold Coast.
“It’s about Gold Coasters working together, it’s about us, for us, and by us. We can’t afford to sit back and wait for outside influences to move the city forward; we need to do this from the inside out,” she said.
“We have often heard expressions of a ‘new normal’ to describe our future but the Gold Coast was never normal, it has always been exceptional. I look forward to a new and exceptional future for the Gold Coast.
The event included a breakfast program attended by approximately 120 people, followed by Key Pillar Industry sessions and brief presentations from a variety of speakers.
Future State strategist James Tuma said the Gold Coast relies too heavily on its natural assets, calling it a “lazy strategy”.
“There’s lots of positivity and good news, but there’s also lots of real challenges the Gold Coast has to work through in the coming generation,” he said.
“Our productivity… year on year, by average, is going down. We’re contributing less to the GDP of the country proportionately every year. I’m sorry, it’s a sad fact.
“We’re also getting older. You geographically have quite an old population, so whilst your immigration and growth is high, it’s not young people.
“There will be a point where there’s not enough productivity and there’s a lot of older people and you won’t be able to afford to run the city the way that you do.”
He believes the Gold Coast needs to focus more on events, health, medicine, pop culture and sports.
The City Heart Taskforce will pass on a report to the Federal Government.