The politics of paradise: intergovernmental relations and the Gold Coast
Good relations with your neighbours are just as important for cities as they are for individuals. Intergovernmental cooperation can enable the more effective and efficient use of scarce public resources, particularly during times of natural disasters where help is needed across political boundaries. While a modicum of friendly rivalry can help to improve the quality of life (e.g. when vying for the most liveable city in the region), poor intergovernmental relations can do just the opposite – leading to wastage, political turf wars and a decline in the quality of public goods. This could result in a serious problem being neglected because no jurisdiction is willing to take responsibility (adapting to the impacts of climate change is a case in point). The purpose of this chapter is to characterise the political interactions between the Gold Coast local council and other governments with a view to identifying how they have helped to shape the city. The first section explains the underlying structure and dynamics of the Australian political system within which the city is embedded. Section two then offers a brief explanation of how governing institutions developed as the region grew. In section three the main resources, powers and organisation of the local council are summarised. Section four then briefly considers examples of relationships between the councils of the Gold Coast, Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and Tweed. Section five explores how the relationship between the council and the Queensland Government has changed over time. The final section considers interactions with the Australian Government.
Off the Plan: The Urbanisation of the Gold Coast