Regional Economic Development

The Event acts as Gold Coast sales barometer

There is always a great deal of hype associated with Ray White Surfers Paradise’s annual three-day auction – branded The Event – but this year more than ever it is seen as a litmus test for the immediate recovery prospects for the Gold Coast.

Surfers Paradise.

More than 130 residential, prestige, industrial and commercial properties as well as land sites and marine vessels are set to go under the hammer on January 27, 30 and 31.

Ray White Surfers Paradise CEO Andrew Bell said The Event remained one of the largest auctions in Australia and provided an insight to buyer sentiment leading into the New Year.

“In two decades The Event has grown to unrivalled heights and is now seen as a litmus test for the regional and national markets for the year ahead,” Mr Bell said.

“It continues to grow each year, with prospective buyers coming from across the country and overseas and sellers keen to take advantage of this. “The Event acts to spur the market into action - as a result we often see substantial sales activity in the weeks following the auctions.”

Mr Bell said enquiries for The Event 2013 started in June 2012 with sellers keen to take advantage of The Event’s international marketing reach.

“The Event is well timed during the Gold Coast’s peak holiday season, which sees a huge number of prospective national and overseas buyers flock to the city,” he said.

Mr Bell said he had also witnessed a convergence of buyers’ and sellers’ expectations as the market continued to gain strength throughout the year, making The Event perfectly timed in the real estate cycle.

“There is general sentiment the market has reached the floor, which makes it an ideal time to sell with buyers seeing good value and competition for well-presented properties increasing,” he said. “A number of interest rate drops throughout the year has also improved buyer sentiment and will continue to do so over coming months as we feel their delayed effects.”

Mr Bell said he expected an increase in international interest at this year’s auction following a bumper year of more than $108 million in sales to overseas buyers through the Ray White Surfers Paradise Group network in 2012.

“This year we’ve seen a huge boost in sales to the international market, particularly Asian buyers, so we expect that will flow through to The Event,” he said.

Mr Bell said The Event’s listings showcased a diverse cross-section of Gold Coast properties ranging from one-bedroom units to prestige homes and small office spaces to large industrial facilities.

In his opinion, 2012 had seen a surge in buyer confidence across the board, driven by growing activity in the prestige sector and the record sale of a $12 million Sanctuary Cove mansion.

“Our office has traditionally been responsible for a number of the city’s highest priced sales and last year we witnessed noticeable growth in the prestige sector,” Mr Bell said. “It gives the rest of us confidence when Australia’s highest wealth citizens back their intuition that now is the time to get into the market, and as a result we’ve seen steady activity across the residential market following the string of high-priced sales.”

More than half a billion dollars worth of property has been sold through The Event to date, with more than $30 million in sales each year since 2008.

The Event 2013 starts on Sunday January 27 with residential and marine auctions and the presentation of Andrew Bell’s annual property report at the Gold Coast Arts Centre, followed by the commercial auction on Wednesday January 30 at Southport Yacht Club, and concluding on January 31 with the prestige auction at Palazzo Versace.


Queensland invites the world to International Gas Symposium

INTERNATIONAL gas industry leaders are heading for Queensland in a summit-style discussion of opportunities and challenges for Australia as it enters what the Queensland Government calls "a golden age of gas development".

Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser invites the world's gas industry leaders to a symposium.

Queensland Deputy Premier and Treasurer Andrew Fraser said major players in the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) and energy markets will address the Queensland International Gas Symposium in Brisbane on December 7-8. 

The Queensland International Gas Symposium will showcase global CSG to LNG opportunities and the key challenges facing the sector as countries around the world prepare for the transition to cleaner energy futures.

Delegates will have access to a selection of high-calibre international and Australian speakers with a vast working knowledge of the global and Australian CSG and LNG markets.

"In June, the International Energy Association's 2011 World Energy Outlook report said Australia is entering a ‘golden age' for gas development and could overtake Qatar as the world's largest LNG supplier by 2020," Mr Fraser said. 

"Queensland already has $45 billion worth of LNG projects under construction and is poised to become a global leader in producing and exporting LNG for the world. 

"Queensland is currently the world's largest coal exporter and our booming CSG-LNG industry presents a once in a generation opportunity for sustained investment, economic benefits and jobs." 

Confirmed international speakers include: 

• Ian Cronshaw, International Energy Agency consultant and former head of the agency's Gas, Coal and Power Markets division;

• Noel Tomnay, head of Global Gas for world-leading energy industry research and consultancy firm, Wood Mackenzie;

• Kyel Hodenfield, vice president, Unconventional Resources for Schlumberger Limited; world leading oil and gas industry services company;

• Al Hirshberg, senior vice president for planning and strategy, United States energy giant ConocoPhillips;

• Dick Mcslhattan, snior vice president and general manager LNG Global Business for Bechtel Oil Gas and Chemicals, the global oil, petrochemical and LNG plant construction giant;

• Ken Mullen, president, Savanna Energy Services Corp, international drilling services company to the oil and gas industry. 

Australian CSG-LNG industry leaders will also address the symposium including: 

• Jim Knudsen, senior vice president, Queensland Gas Company;

• Mark McFarlane, president, Santos/GLNG;

• Page Maxson, CEO, Australia Pacific LNG;

• Andrew Faulkner, CEO, Arrow Energy. 

Speakers will deliver presentations on a range of opportunities and challenges relating to the symposium's key themes: Demand and global market trends; Business and industry innovation; Encouraging investment; Environment and best practice regulation. 

The two-day Queensland International Gas Symposium will be opened by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh on Wednesday, December , 2011.


Brisbane Lord Mayor announces new Economic Steering Committee to accelerate growth

Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has announced members of his new economic development steering committee, established to engage with industry and grow Brisbane's $114billion economy.

Brisbane City engages with business to steer economy. Image: Ken Keefer,


The 12 members of the committee, chaired by Brisbane Marketing chairman Ian Klug, are from a diverse range of Brisbane's key industry sectors and from both large companies and SMEs who represent more than 85 percent of Brisbane businesses.

"I have personally invited these committee members, to ensure that a good cross section of our business community is represented and have a voice," Cr Quirk said.

"This committee will engage with the Brisbane business community through industry forums, and develop some tangible initiatives that council can implement ensure Brisbane remains a city of choice for doing business in the Asia Pacific region."

Cr Quirk said after visiting many businesses across since he has been Lord Mayor he has been very impressed by their resilience and determination.

"While there is much that council is already doing by keeping commercial rates low and attracting investment through Brisbane Marketing, I am sure we can be doing more," he said.

"I have asked Ian Klug and his steering committee to engage with industry and local businesses to complete an update of council's Brisbane Economic Development Plan by November."

Committee chairman Mr Klug said the Steering Committee will assist the Lord Mayor to increase industry consultation and foster participation in Brisbane's economic development.

"I've been overwhelmed by the response from industry with regard to their participation on this steering committee, which will meet regularly over the next three months," Mr Klug said. 

 "The establishment of this committee fits in very well with the economic development programs that Brisbane Marketing is already implementing in its role as the city's economic development agency."

Brisbane Economic Steering Committee members include:

Jignesh Desasari, chief executive officer, Adani Mining; Russell Shields, Queensland chairman, ANZ Banking Group Limited; Adam Penberthy, creative director, Fresh Advertising; Geoffrey McIntyre, Queensland managing director, Jones Lang LaSalle; Shaun Munday, managing director, Place Design Group; Jerry Harris, managing director, News Queensland; Prof. Iain Watson, academic dean and head of UQ Business School; Liz Savage, group executive commercial Virgin Australia; Roz Shaw, chief executive officer, Hawkins Group; Michelle Pillonel, general manger corporate affairs SEQ, Treasury Casino & Hotel; Nigel Spork, managing director, Centor Holdings (Manufacturing); Jason Elks, vice president, people and organisation support, Rio Tinto.



Can Australia's most efficient rail line slash carbon emissions?

PROJECT Iron Boomerang founder Shane Condon will address the Queensland Transport Infrastructure Summit in Brisbane on Wednesday (July 27). The project aims to revolutionise world steelmaking by linking the Pilbara iron ore mines in Western Australia with the Bowen Basin coalmines in North Queensland via a 3,370km rail line.

In training: the Pilbara-Bowen Basin Iron Boomerang project is ambitious, bold and inspired.


Mr Condon, the managing director of East West Line Parks (EWLP), will provide an update into the first stage steel complex parks and the connecting continental rail infrastructure development, and discuss the economic benefits of investing in export infrastructure.

The project is poised to be one of the biggest construction challenges in Australia’s history, The infrastructure, services and resource linkages will support and fuel 12 steel smelters – six on each coast – which will manufacture slab steel for export, creating one of the world’s largest commercial projects with an estimated overall cost of around $45billion.

Mr Condon will disclose EWLP’s advanced plan designs for the world’s most efficient coal wagon – a 40tonne coal axle wagon which offers over 50 percent more optimal efficiency gains over narrow gauge 26t and 25 percent over 32t coal axle wagons currently in use.  Such optimal efficiencies reduce impacts on all communities.

The 40t axle rail wagon will provide cost savings, increased wagon loading, aerodynamic fuel savings, service and maintenance synergies and reduced water usage. Freight costs will be greatly reduced and environment efficiencies maximised, creating a competitive cost advantage.

Mr Condon is the project founder and managing director of East West Line Parks, the holding company of Project Iron Boomerang. The Brisbane-based businessman has worked in the meat and seafood industries as both a business operator and consultant. His work has involved developing export markets in Japan, South East Asia, the US and South America as well as pioneering Australia’s first prawn farm in the Northern Territory as part of a private project.

EWLP has also this week signed an agreement with leading Japanese consulting firm Nomura Research Institute to examine a pre-feasibility study into the SMART Materials Concept. The project will focus on supplying steel products and other related products from Australia to the expanding market in Asia and the Oceania region in a move which could transform Australia’s steel and parts manufacturing sector.

Now in its 14th year, the Queensland Transport Infrastructure Summit attracts those responsible for planning, funding and constructing the state’s booming transport infrastructure.The event will be staged on Wednesday from 1.30pm at the Brisbane Marriott Hotel, 515 Queen Street, Brisbane.



Surat Basin Energy and Mining Expo comes to Toowoomba

THE SURAT Basin Energy and Mining Expo is being staged on June 22-23 at the Toowoomba Showgrounds. It will be the biggest trade event ever held in Toowoomba, with more than 400 sites booked and delegates attending from Nigeria, the United States, Asia and New Zealand plus Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia.

Toowoomba-based Easternwell, one of the world's most innovative mining engineeering companies, is backing the Surat Basin Energy and Mining Expo as its platinum sponsor.




The expo is a very timely event that should help to connect business and communities in the region, while promoting Toowoomba's key role in the Surat Basin's development, especially in mining and resources support

Surat Basin is widely  regarded as having the richest resources cache yet discovered in Australia, ranging from minerals to oil, coal and coal seam gas for liquefied natural gas production.

"Never before has a trade event of this size been run in Toowoomba," said a Toowoomba Regional Council spokesman. "The spin-off, in terms of local support is conservatively estimated at over $6million."

Toowoomba Regional Council expects the benefits will flow through to accommodation houses, restaurants, taxi and bus services along with other service and retail industries.

"Real estate is also likely to get a boost, with people from out of town discovering the region for the first time," the
spokesman said.

Surat Basin Expo organisers, Australian Events, have had to draw from over 25 years experience in the events management industry to bring this vast inaugural event together.

Surat Basin Expo organiser, Bob Carroll said, "The Surat Basin Energy and Mining Expo has been well supported by the industry and by those wishing to do business with the energy and mining sectors.

"The event has taken considerable planning, starting with serving breakfast for over 700 exhibitors at the Mayoral Breakfast through to making sure that the large number of visitors get all the information that they need and benefit from the event."

The Surat Basin Conference and meeting programs are also filling rapidly with plenty of interest in these facilities.

Platinum sponsor of the event, Easternwell has expressed great satisfaction in the marketing and professional way in which the event has been constructed, receiving several positive comments from staff and suppliers congratulating them on their involvement.

Gold sponsors, Hutchinson Builders, On Site Rental Group and Protector Alsafe have also offered plenty of assistance including designing and building a special entrance way into the expo.  

Silver sponsors, Southern Queensland TAFE, Finlease, Wild Desert, University of Southern Queensland, Coffey, On Site Gas and Ironclad have  all contributed towards making this event a great success, Mr Carroll said.

"The biggest opportunity to come to this region is also catered for, and that is, employment," Mr Carroll said.

"Exhibitors SQI T and USQ offer a number of courses for those wanting to be involved in the future of energy and mining and a number of recruitment companies are also represented, and they offer terrific opportunities within the industry for all levels of education, " he said.

"The first step is to register to attend. It's free and takes only a few minutes, so log on today and see for yourself. "

Pre-registration online is free, but registration on site at the event costs $10.



Gold Coast's investment attraction program returns $105,000 a day to local economy

The Gold Coast City Council's program to attract investment has returned lucrative dividends for the city. BusinessGC research shows the efforts are equal to almost two new jobs and more than $105,000 a day injected into the local economy.

Surfers Paradise: GC waves in better business.


Gold Coast City Council's Economic Development branch, BusinessGC has released figures showing the effectiveness of the Investment Attraction Program that has been running for the past two years.

Gold Coast City Council Economic Development and Tourism Chair, Councillor Susie Douglas, said the Investment Attraction Program had helped push the region to one of the fastest-growing urban development areas anywhere in the world.

"A combination of lower costs, a highly-skilled local workforce, world-class infrastructure and a supportive business environment means the Gold Coast is garnering a global reputation as a hotspot for investment and business success,'' Cr Douglas said.

"This is good news for businesses looking to establish, expand or relocate in Australia and fantastic news for the Gold Coast.

"Through the Investment Attraction Program 1300 direct jobs have been created so far. That's the equivalent of two new jobs every day.

"The program has also yielded $77million in direct capital expenditure, or more than $105,000 invested into the local economy each day.''

The Investment Attraction Program and incentive fund is aimed at driving investment into the city, attracting new companies to move or expand on the Gold Coast, retaining highly skilled workers and diversifying the local economy away from the city's reliance on the construction and tourism industries.

The program is aimed at expanding export focussed and knowledge-based industries in nine sectors including the creative industries of film, fashion and music, education, environment, food and beverage, health and medical, information communication technology, sport business and marine industries.

The program's report card to date shows it has secured major creative investment including $62million in capital expenditure and 1100 direct jobs through film projects.

Movie production attracted to the Gold Coast during the past two years include the killer shark movie Bait 3D, Sea Patrol Series 5, Singularity' a $25million film directed by Roland Joffe, and the upcoming PJ Hogan's Mental starring Toni Collette.

The program has produced a further 200 direct jobs and $15million in direct capital expenditure through major companies that have established or relocated to the Gold Coast.

Key successes include international IT specialist IBM establishing a new software development team in the city.

Information and communication technology (ICT) software development company Opmantack has also chosen the Gold Coast to base operations.

Cr Douglas said the Gold Coast is fast becoming a location of choice for companies and businesses in the sustainability, eco-efficiency and alternate energy sectors with companies such as Eco-Kinetics choosing the Gold Coast for their solar assembly plant.

"And retailers and manufacturers have identified the Gold Coast advantage with companies such as surfwear manufacturer SurfStitch relocating its headquarters to the Gold Coast."

Cr Douglas said the Gold Coast was ideally placed to attract further global business.

The Gold Coast City has a similar time zone to that of the major trading nations in Southeast Asia, is accessible from both the Brisbane and Gold Coast airports, has excellent access to major sea ports, and boasts major road and rail transport initiatives, including the under construction $1billion Light Rail System, she said.

Business Gold Coast is the business development arm of Gold Coast City Council. It is committed to proactively developing a sustainable economy through industry development initiatives and investment attraction opportunities. Business Gold Coast partners with potential investors, creates business opportunities, facilitates access to funding and generates networking connections across nine industry sectors.



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