Our strategies

Our strategies provide direction for the transformation of the city over the next 10 to 20 years. Learn more about our strategies by selecting from the list below.

To view the plans that support these strategies visit Our plans.

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City of Gold Coast: built on creativity, transformed by imagination

The City of Gold Coast's Culture Strategy 2023 sets a vision for our city where culture is central to our community wellbeing, our city's reputation and liveability, and our economic growth.

The strategy calls us to push boundaries and challenge perceptions, uncover and promote our unique heritage and culture, and explore new creative territory.

We seek to find new ways to support our artists and cultural practitioners to create excellent contemporary art that is distinctly Gold Coast. We want to engage our residents and visitors to explore, participate, make and experience arts and culture that surprises, delights, challenges and entertains.

We aim to make arts and culture part of our everyday lives.

The Culture Strategy 2023 was developed after extensive consultation with our community and local cultural practitioners.

Check out the Culture Strategy 2023 which details three major catalysts for change, delivering unprecedented opportunities for cultural development and transformation, and exploring the four strategic outcomes that fuel our strategic vision.

Take a look at our Public Art Plan 2021, which informs investment and delivery of commissioned permanent and temporary public art.

We provide over 780 different services to our residents, businesses and visitors. The Customer Experience Strategy is about ensuring our customers have the best possible experience when using or looking for information about our services and dealing with us. Our vision is to make life easier for our customers.

Our customers have told us they want us to focus on:

  • removing complexity
  • offering more self service options
  • being available to help
  • keeping them informed
  • proactively communicating with them
  • asking them for feedback.

The strategy will ensure we continue to keep pace with evolving technology, services and customer expectations.

The expected outcomes over the coming years include implementing:

  • improved website design and functionality
  • webchat
  • SMS, social media and messenger app notification systems to alert customers of service outages or other time sensitive information
  • an online bookings system to allow customers to determine availability and book services such as parks, community centres, sporting facilities
  • up to date data security measures to protect customers' personal data from cyber security threats
  • regular customer feedback opportunities to ensure our services are designed around customer needs.

The Customer Experience Strategy was adopted by Council on 11 October 2019. A detailed implementation plan is currently being drafted.

Download the Customer Experience Strategy below for more information.

The City of Gold Coast Economic Development Strategy 2023 provides the framework for our long-term growth and prosperity.

The strategy reflects our commitment to ensuring the local economy continues to thrive in a changing environment.

There are six key themes for delivering the strategy:

  1. Innovation – foster innovation and entrepreneurial activity.
  2. Cultural – build a thriving cultural economy by growing our creative industries.
  3. Infrastructure – increase tourism infrastructure in areas such as dive, marine and eco-tourism; improve telecommunications infrastructure and links between business hubs; and to create a Central Business District.
  4. Competitive business – reduce regulation and red tape; and support new business, export and productivity.
  5. Workforce – increase study and training in the city in line with business needs; grow our skills base; increase employment options; and raise the city's global profile as an education, knowledge and research destination.
  6. International – strengthen international partnerships; increase our export base; and attract inward investment.

Download and view the strategies and plans below. You can also visit our Economic Development International Plan page.

Released in 2013, the Gold Coast City Transport Strategy is guiding the city's transport system to 2031, creating a smart, connected and liveable city under a one network approach.

The Transport Strategy is a city-changing initiative that will create a world-class transport system and put the City of Gold Coast on the map.

A balanced transport system is the key to a positive transport future. We aim to manage road space better, eliminate bottle necks, invest in cycling and walking, extend the light rail network, improve bus services and extend the capacity of the heavy railway.

The City of Gold Coast has recently undertaken a review of the Transport Strategy to ensure we are on track with delivering our 2031 transport commitments and best placed to adapt to emerging technologies and trends.

This mid-life review, with input from across our organisation as well as key industry and government stakeholders, has shown that we are on track with delivering our 2031 transport commitments and are adapting well to changes in the transport landscape by considering emerging technologies. We have achieved much in the last five years, and are well prepared to deliver even more in the next five years.

Read more about transport and the Gold Coast, achievements so far, how we are responding to the changing transport landscape and managing congestion in the city in the Mid-life review summary.

Find out more about our other City initiatives and plans that contribute to the Gold Coast Transport Strategy 2031:

The Water Strategy vision is to ensure best-practice management of the Gold Coast's natural resources for a sustainable future.

Council has endorsed the latest addition to our strategic agenda, the Gold Coast Water Strategy, to guide the sustainable management of our water resources and environments.

The strategy outlines key actions for the first five years (Phase 1) of our 20 year aspiration to become a water sensitive city. In short, we want to be a city where people want to work and live long term - a liveable city, as well as a resilient, sustainable and productive city.

To achieve that aspiration we need to respond to the challenges facing cities of today including increased urbanisation, periodic floods and droughts and changing government policy.

The strategy's vision is to ensure best-practice management of our natural resources for a sustainable future and as such, it has been developed in partnership with Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities (CRWSC) and will apply the CRWSC index of 34 indicators to track our progress towards a water sensitive city In all, the strategy outlines more than 30 actions across the following four strategic outcomes:

Our healthy waters

People inspecting a waterway

Our environment, prosperity and unique Gold Coast lifestyle are dependent upon our healthy and connected water environments.

From the hinterland to the ocean, healthy water environments support thriving habitats for native species, recreation and shading and carry out vital floodplain functions.

Innovative water solutions

Innovative water solutions

Our water solutions and strategies value natural resources and deliver innovative, efficient water-related services and outcomes that benefit the community and the environment.

Water inspired design

Night view of the Gold Coast Canals

The Gold Coast is a well-designed and prosperous city inspired by water.

We create beautiful, connected spaces while respecting the dynamic nature of water to ensure a safe, resilient and sustainable city.

Partnerships with water

Indigenous people in traditional dress

Water extends across natural, societal and political boundaries, making it complex to manage.

By working together, we carefully manage and protect our water resources and environments for current and future generations.

Vision: Our beaches are clean, healthy and accessible now and into the future

Lifeguard talking to some kids at the beach

The City of Gold Coast has been a leader in coastal management for more than 50 years, driven by the need to protect the city and its shoreline from the impacts of storms. A suite of innovative policies, research, technologies and beach management techniques have been implemented on the Gold Coast and subsequently acknowledged and adopted as best practice throughout the world.

The Gold Coast's iconic beaches draw some 12 million visitors to the city every year. Such valuable assets need a special plan to make sure they are given the care and protection they need, which is why we have an Ocean Beaches Strategy, developed through widespread community consultation and endorsed by Council of the City of Gold Coast in August 2013.

There is joint stewardship of the ocean beaches

We collaborate with a number of external agencies such as:

  • Gold Coast Waterways Authority
  • Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation
  • Tweed River Entrance Sand Bypassing Project
  • Griffith Centre for Coastal Management.

Activities completed under these partnerships include sand bypassing, wave buoy deployment, coastal data capture, dredging and beach nourishment works, and coastal research.

Everyone can enjoy the ocean beaches

Our Surf Management Plan seeks to balance the interests of all beach and ocean users to ensure that our beaches are open, inclusive, and remain healthy and clean. The vision for the Surf Management Plan is to provide world's best practice coastal management strategies to preserve and enhance the surf amenity of the Gold Coast. The Surf Management Plan also recognises the key role surfing plays in the economy, culture, sporting life and social capital of the city.

Currumbin Beach School Surfing Lifeguard talking to some kids at the beach Surfing at Kirra Beach

Our beaches are healthy and clean

Dredging

Dredging

We undertake an annual dredging campaign at Currumbin and Tallebudgera Creeks. This program provides many benefits including flood mitigation, improved water quality and minor beach nourishment to southern Palm Beach (Currumbin) and Burleigh Beach (Tallebudgera).

Regular beach maintenance

Clean beaches and waterways are synonymous with the Gold Coast. To ensure our beaches and foreshores retain their appeal, we invest in a range of cleaning and management services. Our mainland ocean beaches are swept (using a City-designed tractor sieve) every day of the year. We have 6 crews of 2 people who patrol the 860 kilometres of tidal waterways removing over 1000 tonnes per year of debris.

Tweed River entrance Tweed River Entrance Sand Bypassing Project (TRESBP)

This is a sand transport system that collects drifting ocean sand at a jetty on the southern side of the Tweed River entrance and ‘delivers’ the sand, by underground pipe, back to the ocean on the northern side of the river. From here, the sand is transported by wave currents to nourish southern Gold Coast beaches. TRESBP is run by the New South Wales Government with support from the Queensland Government and the City of Gold Coast.

Our infrastructure is protected from coastal hazards

Shoreline works

Gold Coast Shoreline Management Plan is a strategy with a 50 year horizon that focuses on coastal physical processes, coastal ecological processes, economic values, community values and beach management. The plan includes 77 recommendations to manage the Gold Coast's coastline, including measures to combat the threat of increasing storm events on Gold Coast beaches over the next 15 years.

Some of these projects are as follows:

  • Palm Beach Shoreline Project – a holistic plan to provide a sustainable solution for the ongoing protection of the foreshore at Palm Beach. The project aims to:
    • reduce the vulnerability of the beach and beachfront development to storm damage
    • protect, and if practical, enhance the beach and surf amenity for the community
    • provide a sustainable, cost effective and integrated solution to maintain a healthy beach profile
    • avoid or mitigate adverse environmental and social impacts associated with beach erosion.
  • The Northern Beaches Shoreline Project – this project will utilise sand reserves located offshore of the Gold Coast to nourish the northern beaches of the Gold Coast and decrease the vulnerability of these iconic beaches to storm damage. The Northern Beaches Shoreline Project area includes Main Beach, Surfers Paradise and Northcliffe Esplanades.
  • Northern Beaches Sand Nourishment Pipeline – this project is investigating the options available to use a sand backpassing system to deliver sand nourishment from the Gold Coast Seaway Bypass System back down to the northern beaches.
  • Seawall – the construction of seawalls forms part of the City's shoreline management response to coastal erosion. Our seawalls, located along an invisible coastal boundary known as the A-Line (alignment parallel to the foreshore set by the State Government), are a vital component of the City's defence mechanism against erosion.
  • Project Kirra – This project reinstated the Kirra Point groyne by 30 metres to its original constructed length and was completed in 2013.
Front cover of Our Natural City Strategy document

Our Natural City Strategy seeks to protect our natural environment and recognise its significant value to our economy and lifestyle. Gold Coast is one of the most biodiverse cities in Australia. The City aims to conserve this unique biodiversity as our city grows, including working towards 51% native vegetation cover.

One of our priorities is to ensure we live in balance with nature. This strategy encourages nature-based recreation while safeguarding our beaches, wetlands, waterways, rainforests, bushland, coastal and marine environments and the wildlife these habitats support.

Our Natural City Strategy recognises that the natural environment underpins our wellbeing, cultural identity, economy, tourism and overall prosperity while supporting the City of Gold Coast's vision themes of place, prosperity and people.

Strategic outcomes and key priority actions

Building on and complementing existing City initiatives such as the City Plan and Nature Based Recreation Plan, the strategy focuses on the strategic outcomes of connecting people with nature, protecting places for nature and partnering with the community to secure and enhance our natural assets.

The City will establish new and grow existing partnerships with government, businesses, research institutions, landowners and the community to protect and restore strategic habitat and conserve priority species.

There are 13 key priority actions to support the strategic outcomes, including nature-based recreational infrastructure, an expanded community participation program, continue implementing policies to protect natural assets; undertake vital health monitoring and management of our natural assets; and seek opportunities for investment attraction to support long-term outcomes.

People in nature

1.1 Implement key recommendations of the City's Nature Based Recreation Plan that provide opportunities for people to connect with and appreciate nature while actively supporting nature conservation outcomes. Some project examples for delivery consideration over the coming years include:

  • enhancing the experience of the Springbrook Mountain to Tallebudgera Valley Cream Track walk
  • Wyangan Valley multi-use track linkage
  • Schuster Park pathways
  • a track to connect Raintree Glen with Shelter Road in Coombabah Lakelands Conservation Area
  • community infrastructure, including nature-based recreation trails
  • community infrastructure, directional and interpretive signage to enhance visitor experience.

1.2 Implement an Into Nature program to:

  • enjoy, explore, feel and engage residents and visitors with nature
  • build awareness and understanding of the city's unique natural assets
  • promote, support and reward nature conservation partnerships with residents, community groups, schools and research institutions, business and the development industry.

1.3 Explore and support opportunities in the cultural space to promote our natural assets and their connections to our indigenous and non-indigenous history, cultural identity and heritage, landscape character, economic prosperity and lifestyle.

1.4 Pursue actions from the City's Water Cycle Implementation Plan to support community participation in catchment health and waterway initiatives.

Places for nature

2.1 Investigate collaborative monitoring and reporting arrangements on the health, condition, quality and protection of our city's natural assets to inform management actions.

2.2 Prioritise and implement management actions to improve health, quality, condition and level of protection for our priority natural assets.

2.3 Continue to implement the City Plan's environmental policies to protect native vegetation, habitats, corridors, wetlands and waterways and where applicable, offset the loss of environmental values.

2.4 Continue to implement waterway policy to improve development and waterway health outcomes across the city.

Partners with mature

3.1 Establish new and grow existing partnerships with private landowners, volunteer groups and government programs to increase the area of land protected, restore strategic habitat and conserve priority species.

3.2 Implement a suite of tools which are fiscally responsible to enable practical, community-focused partnerships to safeguard areas of high value for their environmental, recreational and hazard mitigation functions

3.3 Partner with government, research institutions and businesses to undertake targeted research and conservation actions on strategic habitat and priority species in the city.

3.4 Continue to work collaboratively with stakeholders and landowners to coordinate bushfire, pest plant and animal management in the city.

3.5 Work with the development industry, major infrastructure providers and government to direct investments and activities in the permanent protection of important natural assets and provision of vegetation offsets arising from the City Plan, the Queensland Government's Environmental Offsets Act 2014 and the Commonwealth's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, to help secure the city's critical wildlife corridors, core habitat areas and substantial remnants.

Responding to the community

In May 2017 we asked the community for feedback on this strategy and respondents indicated majority support (88.99 per cent). The community have expressed that our natural environment is vital for the health of our city and its flora and fauna.

The Community Engagement and Marketing Report provides a comprehensive account of the marketing and communication reach and engagement tools employed, as well as the survey results and key findings.

Front cover of the Solid Waste Strategy document

Why do we need a Solid Waste Strategy?

City of Gold Coast is the second largest local government area in Australia and the sixth largest city by population. By 2024, we expect to grow by another 130,000 residents – that's more than 60,000 extra homes nine years from 1 September 2015, when the Solid Waste Strategy 2024 was adopted by Council. Add in the 12 million tourists that visit our city every year and our expected growth in commerce and industry and that's a lot of solid waste to manage!

What is solid waste?

This is the unwanted solid material that usually ends up in a bin. Otherwise called rubbish, refuse, garbage or trash, it includes litter, illegally dumped waste and recyclables. It doesn't include wastewaters, sewage or other liquid wastes.

Developing the strategy

The strategy is the culmination of extensive community consultation and internal collaboration. The community consultation phase was conducted 3 November to 5 December 2014. 1721 responses were received. Responses showed general support for the draft strategy. All feedback was collated and considered in the development of the final strategy.

The new strategy

The Solid Waste Strategy 2024 was adopted by Council on 1 September 2015.

The strategy outlines the extent of the waste management challenge in the next nine years and how we intend to meet it. Our vision is ‘Managing our resources for a sustainable future’.

Our four proposed outcomes in 2024 are:

  • The City and the community actively practise waste avoidance and other positive waste behaviours
  • Waste avoidance, re-use, recycling and recovery opportunities are maximised prior to landfill disposal
  • Our capacity to manage future waste is secured
  • Solid waste management has minimal negative impact on our environment and public health.

To achieve these outcomes, we propose to focus on:

  • Actively involving the community and City staff in practical recycling and waste reduction programs.
  • Diverting identified priority wastes from landfill, especially organic waste. Organic waste includes garden waste, food waste, timber and cardboard.
  • Providing more recycling options in public places, for medium to high density housing, business premises and at major events.
  • Planning ahead to build cost effective, best-practice waste and recycling infrastructure that will meet predicted demand.
  • Implementing best practice collection services and waste facilities that meet the community's needs, as well as financial and environmental factors.

The City's strategic program is defined by 19 key actions. Progress on these actions will be measured via interim targets reviewed during the nine year term of the strategy.

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