Tom Tate has been Mayor of the Gold Coast since first being elected in 2012. He was re-elected in 2016 and again in 2020. Throughout his time in office, he has been committed to three key outcomes for the city: keeping rates low; delivering value-for-money services to the community; and reducing council debt. These three priorities have seen him re-elected with strong primary vote.
The Gold Coast is Australia's second largest local council, servicing almost 700,000 residents and with an annual budget of $1.83 billion.
Before entering politics, Tom obtained a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of New South Wales in the early 1980s.
He began his professional career in the construction sector and has owned and managed properties in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Today, with cost-of-living pressures facing residents and small business, the Mayor and councillors have undertaken widespread reform of the council administration to find greater savings in areas including waste management, administration, water services and fleet and plant.
At the same time, Council is investing to broaden the Gold Coast's economic base beyond its cornerstones of tourism and construction.
A range of programs now make up Council's core business including: a Youth Employment Program to assist youth in securing apprenticeships; the annual GC Careers Festival; founding the Gold Coast Innovation Hub to promote start-ups; an Inclusive and Accessibility strategy to assist people with a range of health and mobility challenges; and implementing the Gold Coast Smart City Strategy to explore the latest in IT and AI (Artificial Intelligence) opportunities.
Protecting the city's natural environment is also a key priority. In recent years, a suite of programs have been put in place to preserve the city's waterways, 2300 parks and extensive green and open space. One program – the Free Trees initiative – has seen more than 900,000 trees planted in the past decade. Council is actively purchasing land for wildlife to add to its overall reserves and has started work on the largest community park (260ha GreenHeart) for all residents and visitors.
In the field or renewable energy, the Mayor has led the city's Environmental Sustainability Strategy to create a path towards an eco-friendly energy future.
From a social perspective, the Mayor and councillors recognise the importance of supporting the local arts and cultural sectors and have taken significant steps to promote its growth. This includes promoting the Gold Coast Music Awards, constructing the $135 million HOTA Arts Precinct and creating a dedicated film attraction unit within council.
In 2018, the city successfully hosted the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, attracting global attention and contributing to the city's economic prosperity. Today, post games venues enjoy around 92 percent occupancy with local, national and international sporting events part of our annual calendar.
Under Mayor Tate's leadership, public transport has been a core focus. Council has supported large-scale public transport uplift including the Gold Coast Light Rail expansion, a City Ferry Service and development of the Coomera Connector. In 2022, council partnered with the State Government to expand bus services across the north given this area is experiencing the fastest population growth in Australia.
Attracting major events is a key objective of council and Mayor Tate has helped secure new concerts, festivals and events including the 2023 Pacific Air Show.
From a community perspective, the Mayor has ensured 'no one is left behind' and leads a range of taskforces to help the homeless and people struggling with domestic and family violence matters.
As the civic leader of Australia's sixth largest city, Mayor Tate continues to engage with business and residents to maximise opportunities today, and tomorrow.
He is married with four adult children, all residing on the coast.