Latest News

Gold Coast Biomedical

As the Gold Coast economy reels from the effects of COVID-19, there is one sector which is predicted to grow exponentially in both the short term and over the next decade.

RDA Gold Coast Chair Mr Nick Scott says employment growth in the region’s emerging biomedical sector is forecast to grow by 11% annually, primarily due to the increased demand for the delivery of clinical trials.

“Global drivers for the clinical trial sector are not just about COVID-19 – due to worldwide population increase, ageing populations and the growth of middle classes, there are international markets seeking better health outcomes, personalised heath care and digital healthcare,” he said.

“As a result, there is absolutely unprecedented investment in health innovations by the medical technology and pharmaceutical sectors, with all these new innovations requiring the process of clinical trials - that’s great news for the Gold Coast.”

RDA Gold Coast’s recently commissioned study, the Regional Biomedical Supply Chain Project, shows that the Gold Coast - already Australia’s largest regional city for the delivery of clinical trials – can capitalise on the growing global demand due to strong competitive advantages which include:

  • a large and growing population which is attractive for Phase 1 trials
  • an ethnically diverse population which is attractive for testing products for international markets
  • an internationally regarded, highly educated and experienced workforce
  • world-class research institutes dedicated to medical innovation, including the Gold Coast Health & Knowledge Precinct
  • public and private hospital infrastructure.

The Gold Coast also benefits from Australia’s strong regulatory framework, with a worldwide trend to closer scrutiny of research findings and trial results.

RDA Gold Coast Director of Regional Development Ms Estella Rodighiero said the Gold Coast is currently delivering over 100 clinical trials, with a strong view amongst investors, local institutions, Government and the overall sector that this will grow significantly in both the short and long term.

With the Gold Coast’s tourism-reliant economy in freefall - and international tourism on ice indefinitely - Ms Rodighiero says that value-adding afforded by the sector will be critical in diversifying the Gold Coast’s economic base.

“Each direct job in the clinical trials sector value adds over $150,000 to the Gold Coast economy. By 2029, employment in clinical trials will be generating $33.1 million per year.”

She added that projected growth in the sector will require $34 million in building works, and every $10 million in revenue from grants or contracts attracted provides a value-added contribution of $8.9 million to the Gold Coast economy and generates 89 extra local jobs.

RDA Gold Coast has launched a new Gold Coast Biomedical website outlining of the results of the biomedical supply chain study, opportunities in the sector, and information on clinical trial sites and institutes.

The study was developed in partnership with City of Gold Coast, the Gold Coast Health & Knowledge Precinct and the Queensland Department of State Development, Tourism and Innovation.

RDA Gold Coast supporting communities during COVID-19

Media Release from The Hon Nola Marino MP
Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories

The Australian Government commends the outstanding work of RDA Gold Coast in supporting the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Led by Chair Mr Nick Scott, RDA Gold Coast’s engagement with their community, businesses and all levels of Government has been vital in identifying emerging issues throughout the crisis and opportunities for the recovery phase.

This work is important to managing impacts and ensuring communities and businesses are able to get back on their feet as quickly as possible. Key activities being undertaken by RDA Gold Coast include:

  • Conducting a business impact survey which provided valuable insights to inform the Gold Coast’s recovery
  • Using the survey to develop, with a number of proactive industry groups and committees, a roadmap which will guide the region’s response and highlight its strengths, economic drivers and innovators
  • Leading and running a manufacturing, business and investment project which will identify and showcase the region’s 2,700 manufacturing businesses that have diversified to adapt
  • Providing valuable feedback to government on the effectiveness of stimulus measures.

Regional Development Australia Committees (RDAs) have played and continue to play an important role in delivering sustainable infrastructure and services to their region. These Committees deliver important work in consulting with communities, promoting and participating in regional initiatives, and providing information and advice on their region to all levels of Government.

Since late March I have been holding regular teleconferences with RDA representatives three times a week. These conversations provided first-hand insights into how local communities are coping, and the impact and effectiveness of Government response measures. This local intelligence is provided directly to Government ministers and agencies to inform policymaking.

I want to thank the RDA Gold Coast committee members and staff for their work in driving positive change in your local communities.

RDA Gold Coast COVID-19 survey findings released

Survey Executive Summary

COVID-19 has been in Australia since January 2020.

The impacts on businesses due to the necessity of lockdown, social isolation and government restrictions have impacted negatively on businesses, community organisations and manufacturers. The unprecedented environment meant that businesses and industries had to pivot and respond to the changing environment in order to make their businesses more efficient, productive and sustainable into the future.

Tourism is a major economic driver for the Gold Coast, so the impact of the closure of the Queensland borders, cessation of international flights and the government regulations had an immediate impact on the region.

To assist in understanding the affects COVID-19 has had on Gold Coast businesses, Regional Development Australia Gold Coast recently undertook a survey.

This comprehensive study was undertaken to gain real time insights regarding the impact of COVID-19 on Gold Coast businesses, how businesses are reacting to government support packages, their current situation, and future projections.

Businesses stated the Government programs and stimulus packages have allowed them to continue to operate and maintain staff. Programs such as JobKeeper, Boosting Cash Flow for Employers, Increasing the Instant Asset Write-Off and Payroll Tax Relief were all highlighted as being a key support during COVID-19.

A number of businesses are also taking this opportunity to upskill and reskill staff with several universities and the education sector developing short courses and mircro-credentials to support this upskilling.

As a result of COVID-19, businesses have been forced to immediately review their operating models to remain viable. This includes the potential for business to research and engage with Industry 4.0 applications, creating an environment which supports technology and embraces innovation.

Businesses diversified with a number able to rapidly restructure to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) urgent requirements. Gold Coast businesses are agile and are able to pivot to meet urgent needs. Manufacturers who historically have been reliant on one market to supply product, now recognise the need to diversify their domestic and international suppliers to respond to their future supply needs This is leading to new opportunities for our local domestic supply chains. The versatility of Gold Coast businesses to diversify to keep their businesses afloat and employees in a job has been very encouraging. The impact of Federal and State Government, and to a lesser extent Local Government, assistance has played a major part in the economic survival of most businesses to this point in time.

200 responses were received from Gold Coast businesses:

  • 94% of all organisations have initiated remote working practices
  • More than half have reduced their in-office staff by over 50%
  • 63% of respondents have been working from home since the end of March
  • Nearly 1 in 4 has the entirety of their staff working remotely.

Feedback on Federal Government Stimulus Packages:

  • Businesses are accessing JobKeeper – 58% (others wanted to but were not eligible)
  • Boosting Cash Flow for Employer – 30%
  • Temporary Relief for Financially Distressed Businesses – 5%
  • Instant Asset Write-Off – 9%
  • Backing Business Investment – 1%
  • Supporting Apprentices & Trainees – 7%
  • Support for Coronavirus-affected regions and communities – 0.5%
  • Supporting the Flow of Credit – 5%

Download Survey Findings >>

Subscribe to THRIVE

Subscribe to THRIVE, our regular e-update on investment, trade and funding opportunities on the Gold Coast, and upcoming business events. We keep it brief - we promise.