Hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games is set to give Australia’s Gold Coast a healthy legacy, with the Athletes Village set to become the 200-hectare Gold Coast Health & Knowledge Precinct (GCHKP).
Supported by $5 billion in infrastructure, including a world-class university and two major hospitals, the mixed-use Precinct will be a focus for health-related high-tech industry development, research collaboration and jobs of the future. Ernst & Young has forecast the site will inject $2.9 billion into the local economy, while having the capacity to employ up to 26,000 people. It currently employs close to 10,000 people and caters to around 20,000 students.
City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate says the GCHKP will be a “game-changer” for the Gold Coast. “It will change the economic focus of the city to where the jobs of the future will be in health and technology.”
The Gold Coast has grown into a hub of sporting excellence across high-performance training, international sport events, education, sport science, specialised clinicians, coaching staff, sport management and product manufacturing. The Gold Coast has been awarded Best Newcomer in Sport Business International’s bi-annual Ultimate Sport Cities Rankings and is ranked the 18th top sporting city in the world on the Sportcal Global Sport Index. Meanwhile, the health industry contributes $2.8 billion to the local economy and is the largest employing sector on the Gold Coast, with 3,076 health care and social assistance enterprises and 30,210 highly skilled workers. The industry contributes $170 million in exports from supplements and pharmaceuticals to medical devices and specialist treatments.
Combined, these form a health hub, with core skills from medical imaging to biotechnology, digital athlete and patient technology, advanced design and additive manufacturing, 3D bio-printing, next generation materials, wearable technologies and micro and nano technology, big data, analytics, artificial intelligence and robotics, and integrated health and e-health solutions.
Supported by the City of Gold Coast, Gold Coast Health and the Queensland Government, the GCHKP is already home to the world-class Griffith University; the $1.76 billion Gold Coast University Hospital – one of Australia’s newest and most advanced facilities and a major teaching hospital; and the cutting-edge Gold Coast Private Hospital, which opened in 2016.
The precinct is already being tipped as a site of important health innovations, including the potential for a cure for malaria. Griffith University’s world-leading Institute for Glycomics has a vaccine candidate currently in second-stage human clinical trials. Meanwhile, a lucrative partnership with a Chinese pharmaceutical company is taking the Institute’s Strep A bacteria vaccine to human clinical trials. There is potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives and generate global sales of over $1 billion annually once fully commercialised.
Griffith University Deputy Vice Chancellor Ned Pankhurst says: “We have a truly wonderful opportunity to lead innovation and high-technology industries for Australia and the world.