Elections can be a daunting process for voters – especially when it comes to figuring out which candidates best aligns with your views.
Here at MyGC we’ve tried our best to make sure the task of picking the next Mayor of the Gold Coast is a little easier.
We have spoken to each of the mayoral candidates and asked them all the same questions, which were sent in by readers, about the main issues affecting our region so you can compare them side by side.
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Incumbent Mayor Tom Tate, who was voted in to the top job in 2012, will be re-contesting the Mayoralty and is promising to ‘keep the city moving’.
NB: Links to the other candidates can be found at the bottom of the story.
MyGC: If re-elected as Mayor, what would you say is your number one policy? Or number one issue to fix?”
Tom Tate: My number one policy will be to keep our city rates low. I set the trend for that over the last four year. We have kept it low at 3 per cent and last year it was 1.1 per cent. I would like to see over the next four years that it at least be CPI or below. If we can do that, we will have eight years of legacy of low rates for our people.
MyGC: You’ve been quite the advocate for the Light Rail. It is a pretty contentious issue for some people – What would you like to see happen with the Light Rail in the future?
Tom Tate: My dream is that on completion of Light Rail Stage 2, which will connect to heavy rail is Helensvale, all the crews and everybody who has worked on Stage 2 can be transferred and commence Stage 3 to connect the Light Rail all the way to Gold Coast Airport. To do that, we’ve got to start consultation and design work. We have got two years of planning to do to get that done and get all three tiers of government to support it. Time goes by quickly and post the election I will start working on that.
MyGC: The new City Plan you unveiled recently focused on a ‘building up, not out’ philosophy, with an unlimited height restriction. Are you still confident with that plan?
Tom Tate: We did a full consultation with the people of the Gold Coast. The number one thing is we must protect our lifestyle. That is the balance, to make sure that our open space and our lifestyle is maintained while the Gold Coast’s population is growing. We’re growing at 13,000 people a year and they’re coming in. So the plan is to go up instead of sprawling out. This plan will mean over 50 per cent of our city will remain open space and it will see the Gold Coast be the greenest major city in all of our country.
MyGC: The truck crash on the M1 earlier this year brought chaos and major disruption to our city streets. What is your plan for improving traffic on the Gold Coast so we can avoid major issues like this in the future?
Tom Tate: This year we have invested a further $90 million towards our roads upgrades. The low hanging fruit is that there is more slip lanes before round-abouts so that people can get around. Anyone wanting to get onto the roundabout quicker instead of turning left so that’ll keep that traffic flowing through. The continued trial of the ‘turn left at any time with care’ traffic lights together with Brisbane – we should lobby the state government and get that going. As far as major roads upgrades are concerned, we have got to co-ordinate that work with the state government and do it at the same time so nearby roads, like our roads, are not dug up after their roads are finished. That is the coordination we’ve got to do to keep our city moving.
MyGC: There seems to be a lot of questions about jobs on the Gold Coast. What’s your plan to make sure that jobs continue to grow here on the Coast as the population continues to increase?
Tom Tate: We have to broaden our economy. Yes, our tourism and construction is going well and we will keep going with that but we’ve really got to support our education industry. We’ve got overseas students coming over and [we need] to broaden that part of it. The next thing is the IT forum – you know we’ve got to become a smart city on that part of it. The medical industry is growing as well. So my concept is that we broaden our industry we support the study gold coast making sure that it’s well-funded, last time it was $500,000. And I say to you that if we can broaden our economy it gives more young Cold Coasters the option to stay on the Gold Coast to bring up their family. They don’t have to leave here to go to Brisbane or Sydney or Melbourne. None of us would want our families to move apart.
MyGC: In your opinion, how to you think Council performed as a whole over the last four years? Are there any aspects of Council that need to be changed?
Tom Tate: Reflecting on the last four years I would say my council colleagues and I – we have been probably the most united council in a decade or well over that. Because of that, we were able to deliver clear decisions and bring confidence back to our city.
As far as our Council part is concerned – the culture is changing. The idea of a lot of red tape, say no first before we move on and how to say no, that has changed. Our council staff are proud to serve the city – they really are the biggest asset we have. It’s not the plans and equipment – it’s the people who work for council that are our biggest asset. The mantra now is ‘City of the Gold Coast – we are open to business’ to create further jobs.
MyGC: And finally, how do you feel you performed as Mayor? Are you happy with what you’ve achieved or were there some areas you felt you may have dropped the ball?
Tom Tate: There are ups and down in any jobs but I would say to the people of the Gold Coast, over the last four years I really had a crack. I’ve done the best I could do. The cranes when we moved in – there were two cranes in the sky at Griffith University – now it’s reported there are 35 cranes in the sky right now according to the Crane Index.
As far as the disappointments are concerned, I pushed hard to the Cruise Ship Terminal but there was a change of state government and that was swept aside. But one thing we do on the Gold Coast is when you get knocked down you get back up again and that’s why I’m putting to the people of the Gold Coast a Cruise Ship Terminal on the ocean side south of SeaWorld.
Check out more of our chat with Mayor Tom Tate in the video below – including his proudest moment as Mayor and what he would have done differently.
To find out what the other candidates have to say – click on their names below: