Future Gold Coast - Beyond the Horizon Update Posted on May 11, 2016

Perceptions of the Gold Coast are changing, according to Australia’s leading demographer Bernard Salt, who along with KPMG Gold Coast has canvassed the views of local business leaders.

14 months on from the landmark Beyond the Horizon report, which provided insight into the Gold Coast’s next 50 years, the completion of key projects such as Pacific Fair, and the announcement of the Light Rail Stage 2 has helped build business confidence.

“The Gold Coast Futures initiative energised the community. It has created a focus on development, and lent gravitas to the momentum building in a city which today is better connected than ever,” Mr Salt said.

“Already we have seen a shift in perception, bolstered by the completion of local infrastructure initiatives and excitement around the upcoming Commonwealth Games in 2018.”

The Beyond the Horizon report was part of a 12-month project by Regional Development Australia (RDA) Gold Coast, sponsored by a number of Gold Coast business leaders and the City of Gold Coast. It found a city poised for growth, but one that also required a cultural shift to spur growth in areas such as healthcare, wellness, financial services, volunteering, travel and aged care.

“Last year we noted that the city needs to evolve. By 2050 the population is predicted to double to 1.1 million and the economic base will broaden dramatically. The initial momentum is good, but there is still much work to do on big and challenging issues such as education, connectivity with China, and health. One thing is clear - there is no shortage of aspiration in the Gold Coast,” said Mr Salt.

Speaking at The Southport School Foundation Business Breakfast this morning, Mr Salt reiterated several key factors and ideas that could help set the Gold Coast apart:

  • The future lies in knowledge work, which means the Gold Coast of the future must embrace all levels and forms of education and research. Major projects in this area include the Health and Knowledge precinct in Southport and Ramsay Health collaborating with Bond University on research projects
  • The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games provides a focal point for the city in the short-term.
  • The Gold Coast is unusual in its entrepreneurial composition with more people self-employed than in other cities. A Festival of Enterprise could help harness this natural advantage. 
  • Further aspirational infrastructure projects such as Light Rail Stage 3, the Cruise Ship Terminal, and Skyway could play a vital role in long-term growth.




Following the breakfast, seven workshops were conducted with a diverse cross-section of the city leaders of Gold Coast business community invited to participate. The outcomes will be published on the Future Gold Coast website over coming days www.futuregoldcoast.com.au

These workshops encompassed:

  1. Investment and development
  2. Education
  3. Health
  4. Tourism and retail
  5. Smart city
  6. Professional services
  7. Sports, community and the arts




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