Gold Coast is a city brimming with confidence. Our economy is vibrant. Investment is high and employment is strong. Truly, we are way ahead.
Gold Coast is now the largest city in Australia, outside of the state capitals, and is the heart of a $27 billion regional economy that is booming. We have more than half a dozen development projects each worth more than $1 billion underway or about to start.
With around 40 high-rise cranes dotting the Gold Coast skyline our built environment is undergoing a remarkable facelift. Many of the structures now transforming our skyline feature world-class architecture. They provide a fine counterpoint to the exceptional natural beauty for which we are globally renowned.
But the towers are just one element of a $13 billion infrastructure construction program underway and the pace of residential development is just as frenetic.
It would be easy to think this is largely to do with the Commonwealth Games for which we are host city in 2018. As the largest event in the southern hemisphere, and the biggest to be to be staged in Australia for a decade, the Games are generating a lot of economic activity. With a viewing audience of 1.5 billion expected to tune-in we do want to look our best.
Tourism remains a core element of our Gold Coast way of life. We welcomed more than one million international tourists last year while domestic visitation has shot past one million a month. The City’s focus on continual renewal and innovation in our services, facilities and attractions ensures we give our visitors great experiences to take home memories for a lifetime.
This is why I am committed to achieving an offshore cruise ship terminal here. I have checked out terminals in similar locations around the world and Gold Coast would be a brilliant destination for the burgeoning cruise industry. We have met initial environmental requirements of the federal government and will continue to work with the Queensland government to hopefully achieve a positive outcome.
We are developing plans to transform the adjacent Southport Spit into an urban park of national significance. It will dramatically enhance the visual and recreational amenity of the city.
And a fabulous new attraction for both locals and visitors alike is our new Cultural Precinct at Evandale. Our $37m open-air sound stage is about to host its first productions in early 2018. It will offer a great new concert facility for audiences up to 5000. The 17ha precinct will come alive with 24-hour activity and a world-class artistic and cultural program using outdoor open space to host markets, festivals, cinema, and family recreation.
As you can tell, Gold Coast is way ahead of the game. And if you’d like to see for yourself we’d love to make you welcome.