Written on the 8 March 2010


THE Australian and global economies are set to resume significant economic growth and this will accelerate as the year progresses.

While there are still some economic storm clouds on the horizon, such as European country debt levels, these will be far enough away from Australia to not significantly impact the rebound in domestic economic activity.

The key drivers of economic growth are innovation, productivity, labour market skills, inflation and the cost of money. All of these indicators look to be positive for 2010. There are a range of new technologies that will have a significant impact on consumer demand and business productivity including the iPad, 3D television, low emission motor vehicles and the roll out of broadband capability that will contribute to economic growth.

The unemployment cycle has now peaked and there will be a tightening of the labour market in Australia this year. Employers will need to become proactive to lock in their quality staff as more and more businesses will compete for the tight pool of highly-talented workers.

Fortunately the Gold Coast has an expanding tertiary education industry and the supply of highly qualified workers will grow throughout this decade. Significantly, many of these new workers will have international backgrounds as the migration rate is set to remain high. It is these workers who will provide a base to strengthen the international connections and opportunities for business on the Gold Coast.

As 2010 rolls out, we are set to see a further increase in the cost of money as the Reserve Bank increases interest rates to what are considered to be ‘normal settings’.

Businesses and consumers will need to plan for higher interest rates in the order of 0.75 to 1.00 per cent above current levels by the end of the year. The exact timing of the interest rate rises will depend on evidence the Reserve Bank has of increasing economic activity, the emergence of asset price bubbles in the housing market, the rate of inflation and increasing wage rates as a result of a tightening labour market.

The challenge for the Gold Coast is to develop a strong business core that positions the corporate sector competitively with other cities in Australia and internationally. Currently there are only 18 corporations headquartered on the Gold Coast that are listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. Growing the number and quality of national corporations here is vital to underpinning long-term economic growth.

But the key to the Gold Coast’s prosperity is the small to medium enterprise sector. Businesses in a range of industries will benefit from improved economic conditions and increasing consumer confidence particularly in the retail, manufacturing and services industries.

The development of the Gold Coast as a place for major sporting events and as the home of national teams in all the football codes as well as a wide range of other national and international level sporting competitions will create numerous business opportunities that can be capitalised upon.

Strategically 2010 is the year the Gold Coast must think big in further raising its sporting profile, especially if a bid is to be made for a future Commonwealth Games in 2018 to be hosted by the Gold Coast.

The city has an opportunity to position itself as the home of Australia’s sports business. A strategic goal should be to target all national sporting bodies with the objective of having these groups locate their headquarters on the Gold Coast.

Clustering national sporting organisation management teams and the associated industries of marketing, event management, media and communications on the Gold Coast will enable the creation of cross-industry synergies that will complement our traditional tourism and hospitality industries and help to recession-proof the city from future economic turbulence.






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