A kickstart for Coast economy
IT’S the Queensland political equivalent of the good cop, bad cop routine.
While his LNP buddy Premier Campbell Newman is wielding the job-cutting axe at the top end of the Pacific Motorway, millionaire Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate is playing the working-class hero.
Cr Tate has been lauded by the local property and development sector over the past week for his council’s campaign to kickstart construction jobs with a major infrastructure charges reduction package.
The package is aimed at creating more than 4000 jobs over the next four years.
Among its key initiatives is a 100 per cent discount for transport, recreation facilities and stormwater infrastructure charges for projects started and ended from October 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013; and a 50 per cent discount for projects started and ended from April 1 to September 30, 2013.
Cr Tate says the package is about getting the message across that the Gold Coast is "open for business”.
It is conservatively estimated the move could activate developments valued at up to $4 billion.
A recent council audit found 2211 development approvals had been granted but not yet acted on.
Only a few days before the launch of the council’s initiatives, Cr Tate told a Property Council luncheon: "One thing I want to do is start stirring up the emotion, get the Gold Coast happening again.”
Here’s what he had to say about some of the tourism mecca’s key projects:
* Gold Coast cruise ship terminal: "The Gold Coast needs tourism infrastructure . . . it’s not whether or not we will build a terminal, it’s where we’re going to put it.”
* Coomera Town Centre: "I’m going to Sydney to talk with Westfield and I’ll look them in the eye and say if you guys are for real we’ll work it out, if you guys believe that it’s way too early, like Robina was 10 years too early, and you don’t want to burn your money, that’s fine too. But tell me. And if you want to expand Helensvale I’ll work with you.”
* Cultural precinct and casinos: "(Cultural precincts) bring soul into a city and additional economic value . . . (but) it’s going to run at negative cash flow, that’s a fact anywhere it happens. So I came up with the idea that if Campbell Newman is thinking about issuing a casino licence well I’d like to put our hand up and ask him to issue one for the council’s Evandale site”.
* 2018 Commonwealth Games: "We have to look at the legacy of the Games. I would like them to start construction early on various venues. We don’t want to get to 2016 and go, `well, we better do something about this’.
"We need the jobs now . . . (and) there’s an opportunity there to build the Gold Coast as a sporting events town with world-class venues”.