WORDS: Mayor Tom Tate PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied

We are focussed on balancing our growth with careful planning and affordability of essential services

Our city is a breeding ground for young entrepreneurs. We boast an abundance of incredible young talent, from medical research to sports science, manufacturing, education and the arts… it’s all happening on the coast.

As a city, we are only 70 years old and the average age of our residents is 39.

Demographically, people between 18-34 make up 22% of our 633,000 population.

Since 2012 when I was elected Mayor, I have had a vision to expand our city’s economic base to ensure more rewarding and stimulating jobs for youth are on offer.

I looked at it from a selfish perspective. With four children living here, I didn’t want them to have to leave to pursue careers ‘down south’. Long-term Gold Coasters will recall that in the early part of this century, thousands of talented young people felt compelled to leave the coast and head south as soon as their high school years were behind them.


They left, chasing the ‘smart jobs’ in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide or even overseas.

In 2022, I can proudly confirm that the ‘brain drain’ to the big eastern seaboard cities is over. In fact, it’s in reverse with intrastate and interstate youth now wanting a slice of the action we have created right here. One-third of those who migrated to the Gold Coast between 2016-2021 were aged 18-34. That’s great news from an economic and social perspective. Keeping families together is good for social connection, mental health and a city’s overall well-being.

It has fed into the economic data we see for the Gold Coast today: unemployment for October was 2.2% (1.4% lower than the state average and 1.3% lower than the national average); and our city’s Gross Regional Product (GRP) is up from $29 billion in 2011 to over $39 billion today. 

Growth is good but it brings with it a unique set of challenges: retaining affordable housing; building new community facilities in the right locations; keeping rates low; managing our multi-faceted transport challenges; designing future residential estates so we can avoid urban sprawl; and preserving our lifestyle. 

As we grow, more jobs, in more industries, means more opportunities for every Gold Coaster. 

Council has firm plans on how to manage our growth and these have been crafted through community consultation over many years. 

I see a bright future for the coast with a resurgence in international visitors as well as an uplift in tertiary education and commercial investment from the United Kingdom, on the back of the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement. 

Balancing this growth while maintaining the essential services ratepayers expect is what gets me out of bed every day. 

We can continue to deliver the services people expect, at a price they can afford. 


Tom Tate –Mayor