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Virus refugees may mean more companies shifting HQ to Queensland


The COVID-motivated migration from Victoria and New South Wales to Queensland may not just be transplanting a touch of southern sophistication and city lifestyle traits, it may also be driving a potential northern shift in Australia’s business base.

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An assessment by KPMG Enterprise has picked the trend of people moving north to Queensland that has been supercharged by the pandemic as a potential transformative makeover for business across the state, including target commercial hubs such as the Gold Coast.

KPMG Enterprise division lead in Queensland, Adam Twemlow, said the injection of diverse, high-quality skills, combined with a new collaborative approach to business being forged in the fire of the pandemic, could make Queensland the nerve centre for business.

Speaking ahead of Gold Coast Business Week, to be held from 9-13 November, Twemlow said national and multinational businesses with a presence in the Queensland market that had transferred staff north at the start of the health emergency had found many of their people were not moving back, while others were simply packing up to head over the border and bring their business with them.

The migration from areas such as Sydney and Melbourne was adding new credibility to areas not previously seen as serious options for business headquarters, he said.

“People have definitely started to cotton on to the lifestyle benefits of the Gold Coast, and the technology that we now have allows significant business to not have to sit in capital cities,” Twemlow said.

“The benefit now that COVID has brought is that there’s businesses that have been sitting there thinking about it, but hadn’t acted. From what we are seeing in the market, there is definitely a shift to businesses starting to head up here.

“That can only be positive and it’s not just in our professional services industry, it’s across many industries…it’s the general sophistication of our skill set and therefore the credibility it will bring to the Gold Coast as well.”

Twemlow said positives from the pandemic also included a swerve away from a competitor model to a new collaborative business approach.

As part of Gold Coast Business Week, complementary businesses were being encouraged to establish partnerships to adapt and grow amid changes wrought by COVID, he said.

“One of the things we are looking to do is create networks of like businesses, or businesses that might be able to work well with other businesses.

“Part of it is the power in brainstorming and the collective power in the sharing of ideas and bringing new perspectives to the table. I feel people are definitely open to new ways of operating.”

The idea had already taken off among tourism and some retail and hospitality businesses on the Gold Coast, he said.

“I’m seeing a lot of tourism operators doing it very tough. In normal tines there might be an adversarial type relationship, but more what we’re seeing now is businesses collaborating to try and work together and bring together their different offerings.

“They are trying to work out, ‘how do we offer this together to the limited market we’ve got and make a really compelling reason for people to drive two hours from the north side of Brisbane or drive in from Toowoomba to come and experience the good things we’ve got on the Gold Coast?’

“It’s ultimately working together to create that compelling reason to bring the drive market to the Gold Coast.”

Gold Coast Business Week is free for businesses and being held online for the first time.

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