Message from the President - July 2016
With all the uncertainty around the world at the moment, it is good to see a second-term government elected in Australia.
This will not only give local business owners the confidence to make decisions about their future, but hopefully send a message to the rest of the world that Australia is stable and open for business.
The election has provided a boost for the Gold Coast's standing in the national sphere, with Member for Moncrieff, Steven Ciobo, and Member for McPherson, Karen Andrews, and Member for Fadden, Stuart Robert, all retaining their seats for the LNP.
The Chamber would like to congratulate Steven Ciobo for his appointment as Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. It is excellent for the Gold Coast to have someone who has such a great understanding of the importance of tourism to the economy in this position within the ministry. The Gold Coast business community now has a direct link to the core of the government through the Minister.
We would also like to congratulate Karen Andrews in her new role as Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills.
The Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce look forward to a continued close working relationship with the newly elected federal members to drive investment in infrastructure, support for the extension of the light rail, the fast-track of the NBN and upgrades to the M1.
The Gold Coast Central Chamber's four priorities are:
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.