Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
Mayoral candidate Susie Douglas has committed to create new health initiatives and expand on existing ones in order to ensure that the Gold Coast is one of the healthiest cities in Australia.

Cr Douglas has had an extensive career as a nurse, while her husband, state member for Gaven Alex Douglas, is a general practitioner. She says this background has shaped her understanding of the importance of having a healthy city.

“As a nurse, I know that having a healthy population generates benefits far beyond just individual quality of life issues,” she says.

“A healthy population means shorter waiting periods in our hospitals and greater workforce productivity, which in turn deliver further benefits for the city.

“To this end, health is an issues that has effects right across the board.”

She says existing programs need greater support and promotion, while she has put forward the idea of creating a city-wide directory of health services to make it easier to find the right practitioner.

“There are so many health services on offer on the Gold Coast, but often people are forced to trawl through the internet to try and find what they are after,” she says.

“Even then, the information is often not easily accessible, and people generally aren’t aware of the number of free and value-conscious services there are out there.

“Particularly for seniors, finding this information can be a difficult and frustrating.

“As mayor, one of my first actions would be to compile a directory that would list all of the health services on the Gold Coast, organising them into categories and providing vital information such as specialist services offered, and whether or not they bulk bill.

“The directory would also list healthy activities to do on the Coast like free yoga and tai chi classes, as well as all of the exercise tracks and facilities we have to offer.

“It would also promote services such as our skin cancer clinics and free breast cancer checks—both of which are vital to ensuring that Gold Coasters stay happy and healthy.

“This is a low-cost initiative that is easy to implement, but I believe would have a major positive effect on our city.”

Cr Douglas says the Foreshore development, which was completed last year and has since become a favourite for joggers and cyclists, should provide a blueprint for similar future city upgrades.

“The Foreshore upgrade has made a massive difference between Southport and Surfers Paradise, providing a well lit, spacious and attractive path for tourists and locals to enjoy,” she says.

“But more than just being aesthetically pleasing, the upgrade has encouraged people to use the space for exercise—this is something I would like to see repeated across the Gold Coast.

“We are currently looking to extend the Foreshore further south, but moving inland I would like to see bike and walking tracks across the city upgraded, making them wider and better lit.

“People want to exercise, but too often I hear that people won’t ride because the road shoulder is too narrow, or they won’t walk in the evening because tracks lack sufficient lighting.”

An initiative closer to home is ensuring Gold Coast City Council staff are taking their holidays when they are due.

“A fairly large contributor to the liabilities on council’s balance sheet is the provision for leave entitlements,” she says.

“It’s not uncommon for people to save up weeks and weeks of holidays, which isn’t healthy for them or the city’s bottom line.

“As mayor I will ensure all council staff are taking their leave entitlements which will also equate to a more healthy and productive workplace.”

Cr Douglas says she would be proactive as mayor to ensure the council was utilising as many opportunities to improve health outcomes for the Gold Coast.

“While health is largely a state government issue, there are plenty of things that we can do as a council to ensure that our population is as healthy as possible,” she says.

“Health is one area where I don’t want to rest on our laurels—I want to push forward with some new ideas while making sure existing ones are providing the best results possible for the city.”

Contact Profile

Bruce Nelson

P: 0423 403 449
M: +61 (0) 423 403 449


Mayoral Candidate, Gold Coast, Susie Douglas, health, nurse, state government



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