Planning ahead crucial
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.”