POLICIES AND POSITION STATEMENT
These the policies of the Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce
"Business creates the economy, government controls it."
Business must be profitable and allowed to grow to create employment opportunities, economic security and an affluent society. Employees require a reasonable disposable income to purchase goods and services that enrich their lives. Government must collect taxes to build infrastructure and finance the bureaucracy that manages community assets and services. This symbiotic relationship exists within a global marketplace and is affected by it.
Achieving the proper balance in this relationship by interfacing with government is key part of the role for the Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce. The greatest impact and burden on business remains government control through legislation, compliances, regulation, taxation and red tape.
To actively support, nourish, inform and represent the cause of business
Support sustainable development
Work towards the reduction of and or rationalization of red tape
Actively lobby to lower taxation and rates
Seek fair and reasonable rates in basic utilities charges
Lobby to fast track the construction and maintenance of critical infrastructure
Work to implement the growth of business to create an affluent society
Lobby and consult with government for greater business support in funding and programs to allow economic security, growth and employment opportunities
Seek a bipartisan working relationship with the three levels of government to assist in formulating good policy that underpins socio-economic reform and security
The Gold Coast is fortunate to be enclosed within an environment of clean beaches, ocean and a sheltered Broadwater on one side and the sub-tropical hinterland containing unique flora and fauna on the other. These natural assets are a major focal point in underpinning the city's tourism industry. Growth of the economy and the population requires a balance in desirable environmental protection and sustainable development. Environmental protection and business or development within the natural environment need not be mutually exclusive. Each case should be judged on its merits based on the tenet of the 'Rio Accord 1996' of which our nation is a signatory. The accord acknowledges that, 'humanity is a part of the natural environment and is therefore indivisible from it'.
Rationalization in future land use should consider agricultural land to the North and South of the city for development thereby eliminating undesirable impact on more environmentally sensitive areas.
Development is an essential part of growth that creates investment and employment. Restricting development through delays in processing applications or enforcing charges in not desirable. The Chamber supports environmentally responsible development that is matched with appropriate infrastructure. This is essential for the future of the Gold Coast.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE SPIT
The Chamber supports sensible and sustainable development of The Spit. A master plan needs to be developed to ensure a mix of development and open space is provided for. The Gold Coast is a highly desirable tourism hotspot but it needs to compete on the global market to ensure we maintain our reputation as a tourist destination. In order to 'keep up with the development around the world it is imperative we seriously consider and embrace these opportunities. We welcome buildings that are architecturally creative and showcase innovation and entrepreneurialism. However, this must be balanced with the need for open spaces that invite families to enjoy our weather and beautiful beaches, and the need for extensive infrastructure improvements such as transport options to reduce to meet the needs of any development.
ASF INTEGRATED RESORT
GCCC in principle supports the project providing that the development provides significant opportunity for increased local business activity, employment opportunities and tourism expansion whilst adhering to recommended environmental sustainability requirements and necessary infrastructure (particularly transport) requirements.
CRUISE SHIP TERMINAL
Additional tourism infrastructure that value adds to experiences and destination is critical to the growth of this key industry. The Chamber supports the establishment of a cruise ship terminal or docking facilities that will generate additional income, employment and city recognition in overseas markets. Various locations should be investigated and the structure would need to meet environmental sustainability requirements to ensure that the natural environment is protected and maintained.
The marine industry plays a significant role in the city's economic base in manufacturing, maintenance, tourism, leisure and other marine related activities.
The health and safe navigation of the Broadwater and rivers that feed it requires the continuation of an independent Waterways Authority to consult with stakeholders, ensure navigable channels are maintained and oversee future development of tourism and boating infrastructure.
Further expansion of the marine precinct at Coomera, a leading manufacturing base, and environmentally sensitive development of the Southport Spit tourism and recreational areas are key elements in expanding tourism and the creation of employment opportunities.
The Chamber supports and encourages the development of a master plan for the Spit and suggests it that be implemented as soon as possible. The plan must consider associated cost and impact on the marine traffic, marine life and other developments in the area.
The ability to walk or bike along the beachfront from the Southport Spit to Burleigh Heads and beyond is a bold vision that has been discussed for some time. The obvious benefits of such a project for tourists and locals alike suggests that this vision should be genuinely considered while there remains the ability and resources to bring it to fruition. Such a project would serve future generations and be beneficial for both local community and visitors to the area. This could also have the potential of being a key attraction for visitors. The Chamber supports the establishment of more restaurants, cafés and bars along the beachfront as the opportunities for these are currently limited.
The Broadwater forms a natural sheltered harbour that is used by a large boating fraternity and those involved in marine leisure related activities. It also represents a significant Eastern seaboard port-of-call for visitors. This then presents an opportunity to induce visitors to stay longer and maintain or refurbish larger craft by developing suitable mooring facilities in the form of a super yacht marina, a proposal that the Chamber supports.
The geographical positioning and development of the Gold Coast has ensured it has become a prime tourism destination and tourism is a primary economic driver of the local economy. As such, all levels of government should be encouraged to financially support and formulate strategies to increase visitation and induce tourists to stay longer and spend more.
Any such strategy should welcome the development of additional tourism infrastructure by removing obstacles that prevent such projects progressing. Federal government funding in the same vein as that delivered to the manufacturing industry is an essential part in supporting this vital industry. Both Tourism Australia and Queensland Tourism need to invest greater attention and financial support to further reinvigorate the Gold Coast market.
As a semiautonomous body, predominantly funded by the city's business community, and with a clear understanding of the city's assets, Gold Coast Tourism (GCT) remains the most appropriate vehicle to implement marketing strategies. As such, the budget for GCT should be continued at current levels at minimum without drawing additional levies from the already financially burdened business community.
One of the fastest growing demographics is nature based tourism. The Gold Coast Hinterland with its unique flora and fauna presents an opportunity to capture a share of this market and value-add to the city's tourism base. The development of a cableway to the Springbrook plateau and the establishment of tourism-related businesses within this natural environment are achievable while maintaining ecological integrity. A prime example of environmental sensitivity and economic benefit is the facility built in Cairns after the government, influenced by strong green protest, rejected similar projects on the Gold Coast.
There is great potential for further expansion in business tourism, bringing in significant numbers of high spending tourists who sustain the upper end of the accommodation sector and businesses in conferencing and exhibitions.
Education is a key export industry drawing foreign students to our universities, TAFE colleges and private educational facilities. Education also represents an investment in our future skills pool and therefore becomes a key element in the economic security of our city. The chamber supports the growth and expansion of our university campuses and private educational facilities. The lowering of restrictions imposed on student visas, restrictions that have reduced our competitiveness with Canada and the US is another matter that must be addressed to secure and grow this vital industry.
City image is a key factor in encouraging both business migration and tourism. The rapid growth of the Gold Coast with a primary focus on tourism ignored a definitive aspect of any large city in establishing a cultural precinct. This oversight and weakness affects our national reputation.
The cultural precinct needs to be extensively planned so can it cater for the city for the next 100 years. It should not be developed in a haphazard approach. We need to create structures that become landmarks of the future.
The current Arts Centre located at Evandale is an ideal core element to expand this facility into a cultural precinct. With the removal of the existing Council Headquarters, redevelopment would bear little encroachment on the parkland aesthetics and amenities. Any redevelopment should include underground parking facilities similar to Southbank Park in Brisbane that would ease congestion, encourage visitation and present an attractive venue.
MAJOR CONNECTING PRECINCT UPGRADE
Chevron Island as part of the Surfers Paradise precinct and a significant entry point from the west is in need of an upgrade to reflect a flow through of the general ambience in the area. However, the character of Chevron Island in the form of a shopping strip should be maintained. Businesses, especially retail spaces should be reinvigorated on a regular basis. This strategy would encourage property owners to reinvest in their assets.
Survival of the strip is critical; therefore, any upgrade must ensure sufficient parking spaces to service businesses and the maintenance of traffic flow during any reconstruction works.
RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEM
While supporting the construction of the Light Rail Rapid Transit System as a part of a whole of city public transport asset, that support is qualified under the following conditions:
That the light rail is linked to the heavy rail at Helensvale
That the light rail is linked at the Southern end with the heavy rail to form a connecting service loop
The light rail needs to be connected to the airport
East-West connections should commence commensurate with the opening of stage 1 to reduce traffic flow and service employees and visitors to the Eastern corridor
That the project continues to investigate the establishment of park and ride stations in the Western corridor to further reduce traffic congestion leaving available parking spaces within the Eastern corridor available for customers
That GoldlinQ and TransLink remain true to their undertakings to be sensitive to the needs of business in taking all necessary precautions to reduce negative impact in their operation
That GoldlinQ continues to source local labour and businesses in the construction and operation of the system where possible or practical
That suitable presentation of the rolling stock be considered in relation to a reinvestment of city image.
In regard to the Stage 3 proposal to Burleigh, the Chamber supports this project with the additional notations that the integrity of the pathway from Broadbeach to Burleigh incorporates a natural appearance that provides a 'green soft approach' rather than the concrete sterile environment that has been left in other sections of the current G-Link line. It is also imperative that a suitable interchange area including sufficient parking be made available in Burleigh. The Chamber does not support the line going along the esplanade section from Miami to Burleigh as this should be preserved for low traffic flow and friendly pedestrian engagement.
The Chamber supports a significant increase, if not the doubling, of the police officers serving the Gold Coast. Removing the Communications Centre from Broadbeach to Beenleigh was not supported and the Chamber would encourage a reversal of that decision. Whatever the result of the above request, any police numbers resultant of that relocation should be replaced with active officers to service what the Chamber considers a shortfall in police presence in a high visitation area.
The adoption of modern technology in addressing and preventing crime - such as helicopters, personal, infrared, closed circuit cameras, up to date communications and training programs - is supported by the Chamber in its cooperative relationship with a hardworking and logistically challenged police presence.
The Chamber supports the operation of the Drink Safe Precinct operation in Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach and advocates its continuance. The Chamber opposes lock-out laws.
The Chamber supports the concept of a strategic Parking & Traffic Management plan for key tourism and business precincts with the following considerations:
- Where possible free parking should be made available in key destination precincts that attract both the local community and tourists, providing that there are adequate facilities.
- In instances where parking facilities are limited and the location is a high traffic precinct the first option would be to provide free parking with a suitable "timed" limit so as to allow for regular turnover of potential customers / visitors to the business areas.
- A tiered metering system would only be supported in those 'high demand' locations where a regular turnover would benefit both the local businesses and be fair and reasonable for the user.
- Funding received from those 'paid' locations should be re-invested into the areas to improve the infrastructure.