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The billion-dollar pillars keeping Gold Coast's economy in best of health

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Gold Coast Economic Outlook report shows health care is emerging as a key driver of the economic rebound of Queensland’s Gold Coast to levels above state and national benchmarks.

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While Gold Coast tourism is bouncing back, fuelled by booming numbers of national and international visitors now able to travel freely to the glistening beaches and stunning hinterland attractions of Australia’s top tourist destination, it is a smattering of other industries that are propelling the city’s recovery from the shock of the global pandemic.

The latest Gold Coast Economic Outlook shows healthcare and social services, arts and recreation, as well as transport, postal and warehousing are among the industries leading the city’s economic growth.

In the first report to quantify the impact of efforts to diversify away from the Gold Coast’s traditional reliance on tourism and construction, the city’s strong recovery has been largely underpinned by the health care industry, which generated $3,666 million in the 2021 financial year.

Along with health care and social assistance, construction ($2,917 million) and manufacturing ($2,518 million) are the three major industries, contributing 11.9 per cent, 9.4 per cent and 8.1 per cent respectively to the Gold Coast’s overall economy.

These three industries collectively accounted for $9,102 million in total or 29.4 per cent of the total value added by industry in the city’s economy.

“Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a great economic shock in 2020 and 2021,” the report by the City of Gold Coast branch said.

“The Gold Coast’s overall economy has shown strong recovery and growth relative to state and national level benchmarks.”

It is not all boom, however, with the Gold Coast economy expected to end up down $2,019 million, or 4.8 per cent in 2022 compared to pre-COVID-19 forecasts.

It will be 5.3 per cent smaller, or $2,427 million under pre-Covid predictions for 2024, the report found.

However, the report found that the Gold Coast economy was recording a higher speed of recovery and growth relative to the rest of the state and the nation as a whole.

“The Gold Coast’s economic recovery is encouraging,” Mayor of the Gold Coast Tom Tate says.

“As Mayor, I’m pleased to see positive signs across several major indicators.

“I know throughout the two years of the global health pandemic, our council took the opportunity to reset its priorities and provide various stimulus packages to help our residents and small business economy.

“Similarly, private enterprise across the city kept investing in large-scale projects including resorts, our superyacht berth, new theme park rides, residential estates and the Coomera marine precinct. Collectively, these investments set up our local economy for a rapid post-Covid recovery. While there is a lot of work to do in the years ahead, we are in good shape and I applaud the have-a-go-spirit being shown across many industry sectors.’’

Despite the recent blows, employment had grown almost 2 per cent in 2021, consistent with a decade-long employment growth trend, it found.

Health care and social assistance was the largest employer, generating 33,510 full time equivalent jobs in 2020–21.

Education and training, professional, scientific, and technical services, and transport, postal and warehousing were emerging powerhouse employers.

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