25 Aug 2020

Gold Coast, here’s the hard truth – the city must innovate, educate and diversify to claw its way back from the economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic.

Otherwise, the Coast risks being left in the dust on the global stage, according to ­Future State strategist James Tuma.

Mr Tuma delivered a blunt missive to leaders hashing out a path forward at the Reimagine Gold Coast jobs, skills and industry forum yesterday.

“Our productivity … year on year, by average, is going down. We’re contributing less to the GDP of the country proportionately every year. I’m sorry, it’s a sad fact,” he said.

“We’re also getting older. You geographically have quite an old population, so whilst your immigration and growth is high, it’s not young people.

“There will be a point where there’s not enough productivity and there’s a lot of older people and you won’t be able to afford to run the city the way that you do.”

Mr Tuma said the “productivity rut” could be partially addressed by backing the creation of “innovation clusters”. But the city had low levels of educational attainment, putting STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) innovation at risk.

He praised the Coast’s “great global brand”, but said the city has an “over reliance on natural assets” like beach and climate, which was a “lazy strategy”. Mr Tuma suggested the city could focus on potential strengths including events, health, medicine, pop culture and sports.

He said the Coast’s identity revolved around tourism, construction and small business, but it should also be sold on high-value jobs and a positive lifestyle proposition.

The above is a snippet from the original article published by The Gold Coast Bulletin. Read the full article here (paywall).