The Gold Coast is leading the post-pandemic economic recovery in Queensland and is set up for a prosperous future, according to the City of Gold Coast’s recent Economic Outlook report.
The report reveals the three booming industry sectors that have largely underpinned the Gold Coast’s impressive economic bounce back – health care and social assistance, construction, and manufacturing. These three industries have collectively accounted for $9.1 billion or 29.4 percent of the total value added by industry in the economy.
There are many Gold Coast-based businesses making great strides in each of these key industries, with everything from artificial hearts to helicopter simulators.
Health Care and Social Assistance is the largest employer on the Gold Coast, providing 33,510 full-time jobs across the industry. While doctors and nurses working in hospitals may immediately spring to mind, the field is much more diverse than that; there are companies on the Gold Coast making major advances in medical research and technologies.
One example is the private MedTech company BiVACOR, which is tackling heart failure by developing the world’s first total artificial heart. The US-headquartered company has its international office and software, electronic hardware, and blood compatibility research and development capacities at the Gold Coast’s Health & Knowledge Precinct, where it is collaborating with Griffith University’s Mechanobiology Research Laboratory to prepare the artificial heart for use in the first patients.
BiVACOR CEO Daniel Timms said the company, which has recently raised a further $22 million to develop its device as a viable alternative to transplantation for end-stage heart failure, was confident in the opportunity on the Gold Coast for successful research translation, and a smooth pathway to bringing the technology to the first Australian patients.
“That facility doesn’t exist very often around the world where you have a got a university, hospital and an innovation space within walking distance of each other,” Timms said.
“To see the expansion of this area was really attractive for us to bring our technology back to work with a world-leading laboratory at Griffith, which didn’t exist when we started almost 20 years ago.”
The Gold Coast is a hub of major residential and industrial developments, becoming the second-largest sector in the local economy. A wave of construction projects is currently underway from homes, to hotels, warehouses, office spaces, and more. With so many projects happening, construction businesses on the Gold Coast are challenging the status quo and looking at ways to build things differently.
Enter Knotwood, a Stapylton-based company that manufactures aluminum products that look and feel like wood, combining both beauty and functionality. Knotwood is able to provide construction contractors and distributors with long-life substitutes for timber fences, gates, screens, decks, and more.
After taking the Gold Coast industry by storm, Knotwood is now exporting its products to New Zealand, the US (including Hawaii), Canada, the UK, the Caribbean, and South Africa.
Knotwood co-founder Darren Galway says that the Gold Coast has been an ideal location for the company to operate and grow.
“People don’t always think of the Gold Coast as a manufacturing and heavy engineering hub. But there’s some reasonably big players and lots of pockets of industry here and it’s very, very busy,” Galway said.
“You’re close to the major highways, rail, and close to docks. It’s actually very easy, and then there’s a very nice lifestyle.
“We’ve got a lot of growth opportunity, so it’s a very good place to be.”
The Gold Coast has become a mecca for manufacturing businesses – particularly those in the high-tech space. New-wave manufacturing sales are valued at over $8 billion and have grown almost 20 percent over the past five years, making it the third-largest sector in the Gold Coast economy.
RYAN AEROSPACE is one of the many high-tech manufacturing companies operating on the Gold Coast. The aerospace innovators manufacture realistic and competitively priced helicopter and jet flight training devices. They sell these simulators to domestic and international customers and count the US Air Force, Army, and Navy, as well as England’s Royal Airforce as clients.
Originally based in regional New South Wales, RYAN AEROSPACE made the strategic move to the Gold Coast following a family holiday in 2011. Managing director Chris Ryan said the move was a rewarding one, with the majority of the company’s suppliers and services now within arm’s reach, including local engineers, electricians and electronics specialists, and even sheet metal, upholstery and powder coating suppliers.
“Doing business on the Gold Coast for us has been a fantastic experience,” Ryan said.
“We have such good relationships with our suppliers and engineers and the local authorities, Council, have been so good to work with on the Gold Coast.
“Everything we need to run our business pretty much can be found within a couple of blocks of where our business is.”
With a thriving economy and high-performing industry sectors, the Gold Coast has cemented itself as a city of opportunity for businesses across the country and around the world.