FEDERAL ELECTION PRIORITIES 2016
With the federal election creeping closer, the Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce has made note of a number of issues it sees as priorities for the incoming government.
On July 2, Australians will go to the polls to vote for leaders and it is important to ensure the right representatives are elected to ensure not only the Gold Coast, but Queensland and Australia continues on a trajectory of success.
The Gold Coast is represented by four members that cover the areas of McPherson, Moncrieff, Fadden and Forde.
While each candidate has a differing agenda, it is important that the growth of the city is forefront of the representative's mind. Gold Coasters need strong leaders representing them on a national scale a member of parliament who isn't afraid to fight for what the city really needs.
What does the city need? While there is a lot that can be done to further enhance the reputation of the Gold Coast, the Chamber has pinpointed four priorities: investment in infrastructure, support for the extension of the light rail, the fast-track of the NBN and upgrades to the M1.
Fast-track the NBN:
Recently the Gold Coast was host to the Australian Tourism Exchange which attracted around 1500 Australian seller delegates from about 500 companies, 840 key buyer delegates from more than 30 countries and 88 international and Australian media.
While tourism bosses lauded the success of the local industry, and it really shone a spotlight on our city, the internet connection was unimpressive with it cutting in and out, leaving some attendees frustrated with not being able to get online.
As a city that wants to diversify and build on its business and education capabilities, it is vital the city is well connected.
The current NBN rollout timeline has parts of the Coast being connected from late this year with the rest of the city having to wait until 2019. However, it is especially important that the city gets faster internet connection before the 2018 Commonwealth Games to ensure travellers and locals are not let down by the city's overall offering.
Upgrades to the M1:
Earlier this year, a major car crash on the Pacific Motorway caused the city to come to a standstill, signalling that the Gold Coast is in dire need of infrastructure upgrades.
Traffic chaos swept through the city after a truck caught on fire near exit 69 and blocked off both lanes.
The lack of arterial roads means traffic has little option but to travel onto the M1, creating congestion and gridlock following accidents and at peak traffic hours.
Ultimately, Gold Coasters were left sitting in traffic right across the Glitter Strip, indicating that there has been a lack of long-term planning by those in power over the last twenty or so years.
Interestingly, on the same day, a Gold Coast Bulletin report revealed annual average traffic count figures from Transport and Main Roads show 144,437 cars using some sections of the M1 every day.
This figure is close to the 170,000 cap needed for "stable flow", and highlights that the city needs to take action and consider the development of a second highway.
With the city's population predicted to double in the next 35 years, reaching 1.1 million by 2050, the Gold Coast needs representatives that will act now to ensure the city can meet this demand and establish itself as a global city.
Investment in infrastructure:
While the Gold Coast will remain a tourism town at heart, the city is embracing diversification and realising its true potential in the areas of education, innovation and entrepreneurship, and small business.
As the city grows and matures, it is important that the small minority who are opposed to change do not outweigh the voices of the majority who want to see investment on the Gold Coast.
If the city wants to grow, prosper and be a world-leading destination, it must embrace major projects and invest in developments and assets that move the city forward - if it doesn't do this, the Gold Coast will remain at a standstill.
Support for the extension of the light rail:
Congestion is said to be one of the biggest issues facing the Gold Coast in the future, with the city's population growth expected to double by 2020.
If nothing is done, the city will experience a number of negative economic and social impacts including loss of appeal to visit, live, work and invest in the Gold Coast.
The extension of the light rail is key in a broad plan to improve the public transport network across the Gold Coast.
Mayor Tom Tate has completed research on the best route for the third stage of the tram line with it heading to Burleigh from Broadbeach and then the most direct route to the airport.
The airport is the ultimate gateway to the city, with traveller numbers growing significantly and the airport itself receiving a $300 million upgrade.
Connecting the tram line to the airport will be a significant milestone for the city and will offer domestic and international travellers a sense of ease when coming to the Gold Coast for work or play.
It is important that our representatives understand the significance of a capable transport network and lobby for these sort of infrastructure upgrades to ensure the city is well connected
What priorities do you foresee for the city leading into the election? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and have your say.