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President's Update / Southport Chamber of Commerce



    Congratulations Headline Creative

    Monday, December 05, 2016

    David and Luke from Headline Creative have won the 2016 maccas Regional Media Awards Best Ad Creative for their Kaia Foster Care Upside Down campaign for FSG.

    Congratulations again to Headline Creative
    Platinum Member of SCOC

    Where will all the people live??

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014

    No big surprise that for most of the good folk who come to the Gold Coast….whether they be “Visitor or Tourist”, the reality is that  many will decide to more here, hopefully permanently.


    Whilst many of us are continually endeavouring to get some of the jigsaw pieces into place, Stage Two of the Light Rail to link with Brisbane being a key one, our redeeming factor we seem to have, especially notable of late, is the terrific weather.


    The number of Victorian visitors who are still escaping the volatile weather they experince cannot speak highly enough of our climate and the clean beaches that are so accessible.(and frankly much nicer than the orange Terrigal sand in NSW or seaweed washed up with rubbish in Port Phillip Bay!)



    Even those from Sydney know we have the bees knees here….without the nasty things in the water Up North. Fancy one lass from Lane Cove telling me she hadnt bought an outdoor setting for her new home “because we are waiting for the weather to get warmer”.



    With the apparent mini–turmoil in the Financial Markets at the moment due to the obvious dramas in many countries, the good news for some is that our dollar today is at 88 cents against the US Benchmark….dont forget it was around $1.15 in Mid 2011. So we are now a much more “affordable” place to be for the Overseas Audience…for Education and for Property Investment..and Residence.


    That finally gets me back to the Subject….where are they all going to live?


    85% of them will live in the existing Residentially zoned regions of the Gold Coast….and that means us too.

    The huge cost for infrastructure for power, water, waste water, telecoms, roads etc makes it smart to work with what we have. And guess what…the rezoning possibilities within 800 metres of the Light Rail track means many of those will be your neighbours in new large and small developments.


    I’m sure that means quite a difference for many of us in our local Residential Landscape but otherwise, where do they live?...and whose going to pay for the millions to create new Suburbs?….not me thank you.



    So facing that Reality of a changing landscape and changing population mix, lets not lose that overall reason why we are here…..the warm weather, the clean beaches, the safe boating, the Business opportunites………. and the chance to help make the Gold Coast the prime place to live in Australia.




    Laird Marshall 
    President of Southport Chamber of Commerce

    Public Transport…..why should you care if you don’t use it?

    Monday, September 29, 2014

    “The joys of moving to the Gold Coast…the only place you can freely move around in cars, park almost anywhere, never having to worry about the gridlock that the Capitals suffer”.

    I read that about 25 years ago before I moved to Sunny Queensland. But then I believed almost anything the Advertising offered…palm trees by the beach in Brisbane (actually Tangalooma), beautiful beached a stones throw away from the CBD…(tried Cleveland or Redcliffe Peninsula beaches?…crap compared to Gold Coasts!)..and of course, the Car was the easy way to travel here.

    No need to consider anything else.

    But now, we have to. Multitudes are moving here, roads getting too busy and parking….sure, at a price. So maybe Public Transport does have a place in out lives. Let me share a quote with you by Robin Chase…..

    Transportation is the center of the world! It is the glue of our daily lives. When it goes well, we don't see it. When it goes wrong, it negatively colors our day, makes us feel angry and impotent, curtails our possibilities.

    So where are we at?.. Light Rail is getting higher than expected numbers yet there still are people who believe we don’t need it connecting to Brisbane, via a Heavy Rail Link.

    Are those folk happy to wait in traffic in Buses?…Cars?…not me. Its blindingly obvious we need an efficient Public Transport System. The Glasgow games wouldn’t have survived without it and either will we, will 95% of future Gold Coast Residents and Businesses using existing infrastructure.

    For goodness sake, if you haven’t don’t it yet, please register on the Extension Petition in the G C Bulletin…..….  


    If we want to maximize the fact that we are a World Class city, lets catch up to the big boys!


    Laird Marshall 
    President of Southport Chamber of Commerce

    Gold Coast, here’s your Big Opportunity!….Or should that be Brisbane?

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

    Where is the groundswell for Business Opportunities in South East Queensland where people want to live?

    Investment in the GC from big capital city businesses has been stifled for many years, because the City has not taken advantage of an Official CBD to show we are more than convenience stores and surf shops.

    Some might say the level of Investment by these Corporations has generally been small time, purely toe-in-the-water.

    You see, we have been seen by most, for many decades, as a place to have a holiday with surf & sun – with a distraction of theme parks for the kiddies.

    That’s it.

    Now to ask Senior Management who don’t live here, to put down serious money to generate serious business – why would they, unless we have some perceivable advantages in purchasing that land & building premises, running that business, obtaining staff and retaining staff – when the perception for the Coast has been a ‘fluid’ employment level and primarily an holiday destination.

    Now, the galvanising of Southport as the CBD and its Special Development Status, is a start to show there are serious businesses here & a huge development opportunity is coming.

    And not only for Southport. Whilst we at the Chamber have been awaiting a resurgence due to the Light Rail being complete, (read “end of noise and holes in road”), there’s going to be a flow on to other areas of the Gold Coast.….and logically, you might say, it would be a big advantage for all Chambers to collaborate with our current and potential members and the Gold Coast City Council….and for that matter, State and Federal Govt.

    Easy to say, since we are all working on making the Gold Coast a heck of a lot more resilient….but for the last few years, at least in  Southport, there has not been a budget available from Government to assist us to put some terrific Business Activation plans into action on the scale that we wish…and one we know will work.

    Now the central Southport Region has been formally endorsed as the CBD, we trust there will be the support from State Council and State Government to encourage businesses to actively participate in the revitalisation of Southport – but we can’t do that to the full extent with a volunteer base of well-intentioned Businesspeople.

    The State and Local Governments need to work with all Gold Coast Chambers of Commerce, who don’t represent vested Interests, to empower all businesses her now to become Involved and motivated…and to set up the scene and mindset to attract those Businesses that can see more here than just a “good time for a short time”.


    The Bus is coming…but so is the Plane!

    Monday, March 17, 2014

    Ah, the joys of a quick trip overseas…well earnt short break and the chance to mingle with the Phucket locals whilst  invariably buying the DVDs, singlets and hiring the moped to visit Kata Noi beach, truly a million miles from home (and taking calls and emails on the recently upgraded package…$600 data download bill last month made that essential)


    First part of the journey..6.02am Bus on GC Highway to airport…simple eh?...By 6.20 no Bus but the Tweed Heads one said its coming soon. Not Reassured by Timetable at Bus Stop not even showing a Bus going to Airport…any time. More waiting…its coming any minute…website says “slight delays”....by 6.45, call a cab to make the 8am Cut off for Baggage and $72 later, reach airport.

    Too hard for a Punter who hardly catches Public Transport in QLD….like most, I find cars are easier…but we have to start modifying our behaviour with changes in Options now.


    Lets hope the Light Rail System doesn’t get caught up in the Translink “system” and end up not giving us the reliable Service our Taxes pay for….Sydney run rings around us and they have a real time Apps that makes it so simple to plan a trip ….and hopefully the Buses will have some synchronising with the Light rail schedule…because if we are going to head towards “major City “ status, public transport that turns up is essential.


    It’s a Key reason for people visiting and hopefully moving to a City…just check the acclaimed systems in Singapore, Hongkong and as I mentioned, Sydney.


    In Melbourne, the Trams are seen as very reliable, and you can see them coming from afar (not turning off to Seaworld) with reliable and frequent Transport  an essential feature for an emerging City.


    So message to Translink..…..please get public confidence ramped up for our Public Transport…or the Cars will continue to take over.

    …and bring back more dedicated Transit Lanes…a message from my Taxi Driver!




    Resiliance of the Gold Coast Businessperson –

    Wednesday, February 12, 2014
    A Great Article As Found In the Gold Coast Sun Today
    We haven’t had it too easy in Business on the Gold Coast for a long time.  
    Global issues in the negative sense, have directly affected our Tourism, our Construction and Educational Intake – and those are the industries we rely on for prime activity.

    In fact, we are more dependant in many ways to what happens outside the Gold Coast, than what we plan to do here.

    No surprise that two of these Markets have taken a big hit in the last few years, and this has exposed our ‘Boom or Bust” economy, as simply that. When it’s good, the feeling and prosperity is shared by most – when it’s bad, many businesses go broke, people lose jobs, we lose good staff and it’s very difficult to maintain a positive business environment within the Coast and reason to establish a business here.

     Educational advancements by our local Universities and TAFE’s have helped, Infrustructure of Light Rail has helped, but nothing can beat a diversification of major Industry estblishment that we need to evolve  - and soon.
    (When we talk about ‘Industry’ let’s not forget the Government – we are hugely under-represented in State and Federal Government jobs here – to the tune of thousands of employees.)

    Fortunatly, Brisbane is ‘expanding’ towards the Coast and we have the land – and workforce – for major Interstate and International companies to consider us. That will be undoubtably helped by the new rail system, Games Infrustructure and establishment of our first officially recognised CBD in Southport.

    By the way, the Council now are in the process of fast tracking a multitude of developments in this CBD region, apart from the Chinatown precinct. Next year will see many newly established businesses in our region and frankly it’s about time.

    For all of those business people on the Coast who have worked hard to make a living, and still feel the Coast is the best place in Australia to ‘play’, it’s about time they got rewarded with some good economic times.

    Our Chambers of Commerce act as a barometer of how businesses are faring and it’s safe to say that the majority think we are slowly but surely getting further into growing our business expansion, if we make the most of it and do it sensibly without losing our key assets.

    I hope so – it’s no point attracting people to the Coast without an Economy that thrives on a Lifestyle scene, with the surf, sand & climate.

    Not much chop if you can’t get the job you are qualified for and the dream is not happening. Let’s maximize our Natural assets that folk in other States come here to holiday for……. and impress them with our Business Opportunities to actually come and relocate here… – otherwise, growth & a better life for all will be very slow!

    China Town - Far More Than a Few Takeaway's

    Monday, January 13, 2014
    Sydney City at Christmas is a hectic place, particularly with the local population inundated by the masses of tourists.

    I think, even busier than the regular weekdays and by anyone’s measurement,  that’s “chockers”.

    Masses of families and young adults abound and they are not just using the city streets as a thoroughfare to get from A to B – but they are there to eat, drink, take in the ambience and sights and the experiences.  It’s also somewhere to go.

    And –  know where it is the busiest?

    The Chinatown precinct, which is, by their own admission, is past its visual use-by date and about to have a ground up Billion dollar re-build. Thats Billion not Million.
    The mono rail is gone, light rail is being relocated, the Convention Centre is being bull dozed and rebuilt and an 800 room hotel is going in.

    So where’s the money coming from?...... it’s just a collection of streets with basic signage, an Asian influence and apart from the purpose built Chinese Gardens, nothing really exciting.  But – the people come in droves and it’s all about the destination.  In a city with the harbour bridge, fish market (just try and get a park there), Opera House, Balmoral Beach at $6.00 an hour parking, no wonder so many use public transport.  (It works exceptionally well )

    Then add  the Blue Mountains and Circular Quay, etc etc and guess what is the third most visited site?

    An amalgam of non descript local streets they call Chinatown, fronted by Paddy’s Markets.

    Now on the Gold Coast, we have our turn to create a destination within the designated Chinatown precinct, that can be a drawcard in itself.  It takes time to do this from scratch, since we are not building on an established enclave.  But that’s better for us.

    The visual effect from beginning to end can be purpose built with a common theme, integrated landscaping and proper utilities, such as water and power underground, so the visual effect should be not to be marred with a plethora of wires and poles (visualise Asian countries marketplaces with spaghetti wiring – not a good look and rather unsafe).

    It’s not just the Sydney Chinatown that draws the crowds – in Singapore, you would think they would hardly “need one”- let me tell you, Chinatown there is a drawcard in itself and a mass of activity in some rubbishy (crappy) lanes you wouldn’t believe!

    On the Gold Coast, we may be a long way behind ............ them in population (and house prices, thank goodness), but we can have our own Chinatown that “bats above our weight” if there’s  purposeful development co-ordination by our Local and State government to involve private Enterprise supporters to make it a destination in itself – and that’s what will bring  many more visitors to our City that otherwise would not come.

    And no-one in the Community sees it as a contentious issue .....we are all united behind it.  What a change!

    PS – Lex Bell and I were going to catch up New Year’s Eve – forget that idea – Lex was in a “lock up” with 4,999 other revellers with his piece of blanket space next to the Botanical Gardens and I was with the 500,000 other mostly patient people at Milson’s Point under the Bridge to watch the coloured lights and sparkles and spending money they could spend with us.