Community-led vision for a waterways city

Published Monday, 30 August, 2021 at 02:30 PM

Minister for Transport and Main Roads
The Honourable Mark Bailey

The community’s vision for the Gold Coast as a waterways city is at the centre of the refreshed Gold Coast Waterways Strategy.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the Gold Coast Waterways Strategy 2021-2030 recognises the cultural, social, economic, and environmental values that are unique to Queensland’s second-largest city.

“There is 170km of navigable waterways on the Gold Coast, with the activities on or attached to them estimated to support about 6000 jobs,” Mr Bailey said.

“This 10 year strategy places the community and their needs at the centre of the Gold Coast Waterways Authority’s decision-making process and encourages everyone to make the most of what our waterways have to offer.

“It builds on the Palaszczuk Government’s $130 million investment in the Gold Coast Waterways Authority since 2015 to upgrade and maintain our waterways, as well as create jobs at a time when we need them most during Queensland’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

“The Strategy will also play an important role in helping to deliver on our partnership with the City of Gold Coast Council to look at the social, environmental and economic impacts of climate change.

“It will help us to consider how our waterways assets are holding up, and what future infrastructure is needed to respond to the changing environment.

“This Strategy to be delivered by the Gold Coast Waterways Authority focuses on improving access, connections and destinations to encourage greater innovation in waterways planning and management.”

Mr Bailey said the Strategy supported the expansion and diversification of the Gold Coast’s economy by growing marine-based industries and job opportunities, improving access to the waterways through integrated planning, providing infrastructure that aligns with community needs and promoting destinations.

Gold Coast Waterways Authority (GCWA) Chair, Mara Bún, said the community wanted to see three key areas addressed in the Strategy:

  • Access – the ability to get out onto the water quickly from a launching point such as a boat ramp, jetty or pontoon
  • Connections – a navigable channel network supported by infrastructure needed to access it
  • Destinations – locations promoted for a variety of users including recreation, events, and industry activities such as shipbuilding and maintenance, tourism, film, and television production.

“We’ve co-designed this Strategy with the community so that it celebrates the values that make the waterways special and set the Gold Coast apart from every other community in Australia,” Ms Bun said.

“This Strategy addresses the need for an informed and well-managed response to the changing waterways, including congestion and use as a result of population growth and the intensifying impacts of climate change.

“I’d like to thank everyone who devoted their time and expertise to helping us develop this Strategy.

“We’ve had fantastic input from community groups, sporting and recreation groups, local businesses, other government agencies, the City of Gold Coast and individual waterways users.”

GCWA CEO, Hal Morris, said the Gold Coast Waterways Strategy 2021-2030 builds on the earlier Strategy which had established strong foundations to sustainably manage the waterways and plan for the future.

“We’ve created a blueprint for the next the next decade that establishes world-class principles for managing our waterways and land-based reserves such as Doug Jennings Park at The Spit.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the community and our partner agencies to realise their vision for the waterways and ensure they continue to be enjoyed by locals and visitors now, and into the future.”

The Gold Coast Waterways Strategy 2021-2030 is available at (


Media contacts:
Minister Bailey: Toby Walker – 0439 347 875
GCWA: Jennifer Griffith - 0428 923 308