How south-east Queensland could be new Silicon Valley
A CALL for a Silicon Valley-style rebrand of "southeast Queensland" - to create global impact - is seen as inevitable long-term but not while brand Gold Coast is so "powerful".
Respected demographer Bernard Salt yesterday made the case for coming up with a sexy new moniker for southeast Queensland and unifying its "fiefdoms" including the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba.
His thought-provoking keynote address at the sold-out Going for Gold legacy symposium sparked heated debate among the 400-plus attendees and tourism bosses.
The event - brainchild of Gold Coast Bulletin general manager Clare Starling - was dedicated to harnessing economic momentum from April, 2018's Commonwealth Games.
Attendees included almost all city leaders, rubbing shoulders with Gold Coast Bulletin publisher News Corp's global CEO Robert Thomson who opened proceedings calling the Games a "profound opportunity".
Mr Salt, urging the region not to set its post-Games "bar low" and consider challenging for the 2032 Olympics, likened the Silicon Valley renaming of San Francisco Bay's famed IT start-up hub similar to South Shire becoming known as the Gold Coast.
"If you go to Silicon Valley you will never see a more bland example of suburbia but it has projected an electrifying image to the planet by rebranding," he said.
"If we keep with the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba with individual fiefdoms we will never get anything up," he said.
"How can we rebrand this place away from southeast Queensland? It sounds like a geography lesson.
"We need to galvanise this region over the next three to five years and present a single solid case where everyone is behind it," Mr Salt said.
Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter said a rebranded southeast Queensland was inevitable as a global marketing approach: "But that is a very long-term vision.
"Currently the Gold Coast is among the most recognised brands. It's too valuable to risk it being lost in another bigger brand," Mr Winter said.
"No doubt it will happen eventually but I don't believe it will be in my lifetime."
Games Legacy Advisory Committee chair and former Premier Rob Borbidge said it would be important for the Gold Coast to retain its own identity.
"We are a unique place, we want to remain the Gold Coast and we want to build on our strengths and what's going to come after the Games.
"Realistically in the future there will have to be a regional approach but I can't support dropping the Gold Coast name - as much as I support a lot of what Bernard had to say."