The changing face of local government on the Gold Coast
The city of the Gold Coast is renowned in Australia, and to some extent further afield, for the pace of its growth and for the scale of its transformation over the last 70 years from a collection of small seaside settlements and inland towns to one of the country’s urban tourism capitals and possibly one of its first knowledge cities. As outlined in Chapter 1, it is home to just over half a million people at present, but is likely to continue to grow by attracting migrants from elsewhere in Australia and from overseas, increasingly from China and India as well as from the more traditional feeder countries of Britain and New Zealand. This transformation has been described by some as the epitome of free-market or neoliberal processes of urbanisation, with only minimal intervention and regulation by any of the three levels of Australian government (Burton 2014). However, governments have always played a role in the establishment and growth of the city and will continue to do so in the future. Whether that role is welcomed by all, whether it represents ‘vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself’ or whether a more extensive role will be required in the future are all questions that this chapter attempts to answer. It begins with a brief consideration of the emergence of local government in Australia and its changing role in shaping the development of major cities, and then reviews the growth of the City of Gold Coast through several of the more prominent theoretical perspectives on the role of local government in processes of urbanisation and urban management. The chapter concludes with some informed speculation on the future of Gold Coast local government.
Off the Plan: The Urbanisation of the Gold Coast
Australian Government and Politics