Plan­ning ahead cru­cial

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - BUSINESS - KATH­LEEN SKENE

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT THE GOLD COAST? “I spent four years trav­el­ling and work­ing around the world in the late 1990s and early 2000s and most places I vis­ited came up short when com­par­ing life­style. By life­style I mean a place where you can gain mean­ing­ful em­ploy­ment, and have a high stan­dard of liv­ing in a place of beauty and with di­verse ac­tiv­i­ties for ev­ery res­i­dent and vis­i­tor to en­joy.

“The Gold Coast and its sur­round­ing ar­eas such as the hin­ter­land and north­ern NSW are some of the most beau­ti­ful ar­eas I have been to.

“How many places in the world can you hold strong em­ploy­ment and go to the beach for a surf or a swim be­fore work?

“In other ar­eas of the world peo­ple live to work. On the Gold Coast you can work to live.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK CAN BE DONE BET­TER ON THE GOLD COAST?

“I think we lack when it comes to long-term plan­ning. Lack of plan­ning is not unique to the Gold Coast but if we want to con­tinue to be a de­sir­able life­style des­ti­na­tion of choice, we need to project our think­ing fur­ther into the fu­ture.

“The road net­work on the Gold Coast is an ex­am­ple of this. The M1 should have been up­graded to eight lanes all the way to the Tweed when it was up­graded to four lanes many years ago.

“We can’t keep kick­ing the can down the road. We need to think big! That means plan­ning and bud­get­ing way fur­ther down the track than we are.

“If our in­fra­struc­ture net­works get clogged it will de­tract from the unique life­style that I’m talk­ing about.

“Also, we need to pro­vide bet­ter ser­vice to vis­i­tors than we do. We have too much of a sense of en­ti­tle­ment that I be­lieve needs to be re­placed with hu­mil­ity.

“A mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence should be de­fined by the peo­ple you meet, the wel­come

you get and the ser­vice you re­ceive; not just the things you do and see. I also think as a com­mu­nity we need to be nicer to each other.

“So I’m sug­gest­ing ac­ti­vat­ing the hash­tag #g’dayfel­low­gold­coaster.

“I would en­cour­age ev­ery­one to say hello to at least five strangers they walk past ev­ery day. Amaz­ing what a smile and a hello can do. Let’s stop be­ing

so de­fen­sive and ag­gres­sive and reach out a bit more.”

IN YOUR TRAV­ELS. WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN BE­ING DONE ELSE­WHERE

YOU THINK COULD WORK WELL HERE? “Pro­vid­ing out­stand­ing lev­els of ser­vice. Where noth­ing is a prob­lem. Look at Bali.

“The Ba­li­nese are the most hum­ble peo­ple I have ever come across.

“So are many other cul­tures around the world. Most Gold Coast in­dus­tries and busi­nesses of­fer a ‘ser­vice’.

“The root word of ser­vice is serve. If some­one needs some­thing, do your best to de­liver that ser­vice. That ap­plies to the 6-star ho­tel to 1-star mo­tel, the tourism in­dus­try and sup­port in­dus­tries such as lawyers, ac­coun­tants and trades­peo­ple.”

IF MONEY, LAWS, TIME AND AP­PROVALS WERE NO IS­SUE, WHAT IS ONE BIG PROJECT YOU’D UN­DER­TAKE TO­MOR­ROW?

“I would build a world-class trans­port net­work to in­clude high-speed rail be­tween Bris­bane and Syd­ney (in­clud­ing a route via the Gold Coast), cre­ate ef­fi­cient links be­tween Gold Coast and Bris­bane air­ports, link light rail through Bond Univer­sity and Robina to heavy rail at Var­sity Lakes, and link light rail to the Gold Coast Air­port. I would not send the light rail south of Burleigh to the air­port.

“I would make the M1 at least eight lanes and im­prove the east-west links to the M1 from the cen­tral parts and north­ern parts of the Gold Coast.”

WHAT CON­VER­SA­TIONS SHOULD GOLD COAST MOVERS AND SHAK­ERS BE HAV­ING?

“Go back to the ba­sics. Get all the key civic, gov­ern­ment and pri­vate en­ter­prise stake­hold­ers to­gether and un­der­take a swot anal­y­sis of the Gold Coast based on what we have achieved as a rel­a­tively young city.

“We should get clar­ity on where we are go­ing, iden­tify what we have done wrong, and ex­plore what we need to be do­ing to max­imise our po­ten­tial.

“We should ex­am­ine our strengths, weak­nesses, op­por­tu­ni­ties, and threats, and de­velop an ac­tion plan that ad­dresses th­ese find­ings ... All of this should be done un­der the frame­work of en­sur­ing we max­imise the life­style that, if done right, should be the envy of the world.”

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