In the past, the Gold Coast was perhaps perceived as the rather brash, gawky “teenage” sister-city of Brisbane, but in the wake of the city’s economic boom, with over $13 billion worth of investment in transformative civic projects coupled with the emerging knowledge economy, we are seeing the birth of a modern, smart, world city that would rival many in Australia for liveability.
An idyllic lifestyle
With a 57km coastline that includes some of the most renowned beaches in the world, the Gold Coast is not short of natural beauty. Encompassing about 21,000 hectares of parks and with a backdrop of 100,000 hectares of world heritage-listed rainforest, you have one of Australia’s most biodiverse cities.
But while the Gold Coast has long been recognised as one of Australia’s premier tourism destinations, attracting over 12 million visitors a year, the area’s employment growth rates, economic expansion, and long term growth prospects have prompted 12,500 people a year to become permanent residents. This impressive population growth has, in turn, driven the expansion of the educational and cultural amenities that one would expect in a modern city.
A thriving cultural scene
The intrinsic and tangible value of arts and creativity to the health and competitiveness of a city has long been acknowledged. The emerging arts and culture sector has the potential to further diversify the Gold Coast economy as well as create jobs.
Millions of dollars are being invested in a new cultural precinct that will enhance the city’s cultural economy and create a point-of-difference across the region. The Gold Coast Cultural Precinct will be the city’s centre for arts, culture and creative enterprise. With new visual and performing arts facilities and a programmed outdoor Artscape, the Cultural Precinct will support the city’s already thriving cultural evolution.
Besides providing inspiration for the creative arts, the stunning natural environment also makes a unique backdrop for artistic and cultural events. From the Berlin Dance Company’s performance in an estuary to the incredible installations peppered along the beach for Bleach Festival or Blues on Broadbeach, there is a fresh, vibrant creative energy manifesting.
As the area attracts more international visitors as well as professionals and young families who migrate for lifestyle and opportunities, there is a growing need to provide the cultural precincts, creative clusters, festivals and events that are part of what the modern consumer expects to find and enjoy in a global city.
Providing excellence in education
The Gold Coast is home to three world class universities and a range of specialist education and training providers, and the education sector is growing. Study Gold Coast, a peak industry body, is dedicated to promoting and uniting the industry to grow student numbers domestically and internationally.
This vibrant city is recognised globally for providing quality education, training, innovation and opportunity in the backdrop of an unrivalled destination, being ranked as the Best Student City by the Beach in the World QS Rankings.
With three research-intensive universities – Bond, Griffith and Southern Cross – and more than 200 education providers, the Gold Coast offers the greatest educational choice of any city of its size in Australia.
There is a strong focus on connecting students to the workforce to enhance graduate outcomes and to increasing the quality and breadth of study choices.
The education and training sector is a major contributor to the Coast’s growth and maturity. By 2020, education and training will be in the top five employment sectors in the city.
Health and knowledge sectors leading the way
It is perhaps surprising to some that the health and knowledge sector is now the largest employment sector on the Gold Coast. Given this, it is little wonder that the city is attracting internationally acclaimed researchers to its emerging research and innovation hubs.
The Gold Coast Health & Knowledge Precinct (GCHKP) is a unique global business location for high-tech industry development, research collaboration and jobs of the future.
With the amazing work of researchers such as Professor Mark von Itzstein who founded Griffith University’s Institute of Glycomics, the Gold Coast is establishing itself as an innovative biomedical research hub, set to become a world-leading research precinct within the next 10 years.
The $5 billion Health and Knowledge Precinct includes the Gold Coast University Hospital, Private Hospital and Griffith University. The Precinct has created a unique environment where researchers, academics, clinicians and business leaders can collaborate and ultimately provide some of the best services in Australia.
Keeping the city moving
As one of the fastest growing cities in Australia, the Gold Coast Transport Strategy 2031 recognised the city’s increasing travel demands as a result of its rapid population growth, and aims to keep ahead of congestion while ensuring the Gold Coast’s great lifestyle is maintained.
The linear nature of the Gold Coast means that it is not feasible to simply continue to build roads to address congestion issues. Great cities are defined and experienced through effective mass transportation systems and with the increasing awareness of the need to employ sustainable modes of transport and the growing challenges facing urban centres, the Gold Coast Light Rail project, the core of the city’s vision for the future, represents a major step forward in transforming the city into a modern, accessible destination.
The $1.3 billion investment represents an ambitious, city-changing infrastructure project that has integrated new and existing transport systems, stimulated urban regeneration and facilitated sustainable transit-oriented development. Stage 1 and 2 are already complete, with Stage 3 in planning.
Gold Coast Airport is the sixth busiest airport in Australia and has experienced significant domestic and international growth over the past decade. It is preparing to undergo a $200 million redevelopment that will ensure it continues to grow as an economic and aviation gateway. Stage one should be completed mid-2018, with the upgrade finished early 2020.
One of the key drivers in the Gold Coast’s transformation and transition from a reliance on tourism and construction to the stability of a knowledge-based economy has been its Mayor, Tom Tate.
With an economy now approaching $30 billion, he is overseeing a massive investment in infrastructure as the Gold Coast prepares to welcome an influx of visitors and media for the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
As well as an overhaul of sporting facilities and the creation of the Commonwealth Games Athletes Village, the infrastructure program has included health and knowledge hubs, world class transportation and a new cultural precinct and the largest film stage in the southern hemisphere.
With the Gold Coast on show during the Games, it is a perfect opportunity to present its new image as a cosmopolitan, multicultural and sophisticated city to the world.
For more information on the Gold Coast an just why we’re excited to be investing in this growing region, download our full Gold Coast Investor Report below.