CCIQ calls on Council to expand transport infrastructure
The Gold Coast City Council must focus on transport and traffic infrastructure to cater for the region’s booming tourism and population growth, according to a new poll of small businesses.
In an exclusive CCIQ survey on Local Government, ahead of the March 19 council elections, more than 1100 small businesses across Queensland have voiced their opinions.
More than one in 10 respondents (150) were from the Gold Coast – one of Australia’s largest local government areas.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said it was clear from the response that many small businesses wanted significant expansion as a priority.
“According to the Gold Coast business community the three most important roles of the GCCC are: roads infrastructure; council services; and planning and development,” he said.
Mr Behrens said small business identified infrastructure priorities for the Gold Coast as:
• Conduct lane-widening along the M1 to address congestion and population growth;
• Work with stakeholders to fast track a cruise ship terminal near the Spit;
• Assess the merits of extending the light rail south to the Coolangatta Airport; and
• Prioritise access to high-speed internet for small businesses.
“Gold Coast businesses were asked how effective the GCCC is at providing the above infrastructure,” he said.
“In the main, GCCC effectiveness appears to be pretty good with only modest room for improvement in the areas of road infrastructure and regional economic development.
“CCIQ recommends GCCC further prioritise economic development and improving local roads infrastructure across the next four years.”
Mr Behrens said CCIQ recognised the vital role that council played in building and sustaining the SEQ economy.
“Small businesses believe the activities of GCCC are of crucial importance in their day-to-day activities,” he said.
“Difficulties in planning and development act as a break on economic activity and jobs at a time when business conditions are challenging on the Gold Coast.
“CCIQ calls on the GCCC to prioritise reducing the burden of planning and development on business.”
Mr Behrens said the March 19 poll was extremely significant for the region, given that the new council would play such an important role in proceedings with the next Commonwealth Games set for the Gold Coast in April, 2018.
More than 10,000 athletes, officials and tourists were expected to converge on the southeast corner as 18 newly built, enhanced or existing venues were constructed across the Gold Coast for the Games extravaganza.
The importance of Local Government in the Gold Coast
The effectiveness of Local Government in the Gold Coast
Mr Behrens said CCIQ was committed to working constructively with all councillors across the Gold Coast over the coming four years to address those issues and challenges confronting the small business community.
“The next GCCC must also work closely with Gold Coast’s small businesses to shape South East Queensland’s economic and social environments in a way that promotes business growth and community prosperity,” he said.
“Regardless of who forms the next GCCC, it is essential that it implement services and infrastructure that address small business needs.”
CCIQ’s statement of principles and purposes for local government in Queensland:
• Ensure that Council’s finances are managed in a fiscally responsible manner;
• Seek the removal of unnecessary business regulation with the objective of eliminating anti-competitive provisions, which cannot be justified in the public interest. This includes an overriding objective of easing compliance costs of legislation, regulation and taxation;
• Maintain essential infrastructure and services at a level which encourages economic development. This can be achieved through the promotion of private sector alternatives to the funding and/or operation of local government infrastructure assets;
• Ensure that charges imposed are competitive with other comparable jurisdictions; and
• Encourage practices which enhance the transparency and accountability of its decision making.
Source: Westpac Group CCIQ Pulse Survey of Business Conditions, December quarter 2015.
Survey period: 12-29 January 2016. Respondents: Qld: 1132, Gold Coast: 149