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Gold Coast benefits from mining boom

By Steven Cross
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The Gold Coast is the latest city to have seen the benefits of the mining boom, according to a new study.

The Gold Coast is home to the country’s highest proportion of ‘extreme commuters’ with a majority being fly-in fly-out (FIFO) miners, according to the study released last week by KPMG demographer Bernard Salt.

Long distance commuting is picking up in popularity across the country, with the number of Australians travelling more than 100 kilometres to work jumping 37 per cent from 2006 to 2011.

However, the number of long distance commuters living on the Gold Coast jumped 92 per cent over this period.

Regional Development Australia Gold Coast chair Craig Devlin said “The promotion of the Gold Coast as a potential FIFO hub aligns perfectly with our strategy, and Bernard Salt's findings seem to support a business case for the city to actively pursue this opportunity.”

According to the study, the most popular long distance commutes from the Gold Coast in 2011 were to Sydney (980 workers) and to the Bowen Basin (540 workers).

Mr Salt said the results reveal the lengths some Australians will go to in order to retain their Gold Coast lifestyle.

“Whatever it is that the Gold Coast has to offer must be pretty good because extreme commuters are growing faster in this city than in any of the 10 largest cities in Australia,” said Mr Salt.

“Australians have long demonstrated their preference for a beach lifestyle, which is why the Gold Coast is now this nation’s sixth largest city.”

Demand for the region is so strong that supply for apartments on the Gold Coast has reached its lowest level in a decade, according to Colliers International.

The number of new apartments has dropped below 1,000, with no new stock added to the market in the June quarter.

The region is also undergoing a major facelift for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, with the city council and state government committing $2.6 billion for projects, particularly in Southport.

Gold Coast locals are also the biggest intercity commuters in Australia, according to Mr Salt, with 26,000 workers commuting each day to Brisbane, outpacing second-placed Wollongong with 17,000 daily commuters to Sydney.

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