Youth Member for Warrego meets Mayor Tate

Recently, I had the honour of meeting with Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate at his Mayoral Chambers. As the Youth Member for Warrego in the Queensland Youth Parliament, I wanted to learn more about politics at a local level and gain insight from one of the Gold Coast’s major community leaders.

On a personal note, I was most surprised at how kind and friendly the Mayor was. Having grown up seeing him on the News and knowing his status as a very important individual to our wider Gold Coast community, I had almost forgotten about the aspect of humanity in him. I had not expected him to be genuinely interested in learning more about myself and my passions and was surprised he was so welcoming and encouraging. His Assistant told me Mr Tate gave me more time than he would typically give a community leader, which was extremely humbling and reiterated how much of an honour the experience was.  

I was most eager to learn about Mr Tate’s personal views on his role – the many challenges and joys that accompany being Mayor of “the greatest city in the world”. Mr Tate detailed to me how he adores being unashamedly pro-Gold Coast in all discussions, as he wants our city to continue to flourish and have a place not just on the national stage but receive the international praise it deserves. Through his admission that advocating for our diverse local communities can have its difficulties, I was able to gain some valuable lessons on the importance of determination and effort in absolutely everything we do. I hadn’t realised how much community consultation occurs within the Council, and how much mediation and compromise dictates in Gold Coast City Council decision-making.  

We also heavily discussed our city’s road to recovery at both present and in a future post-COVID-19 era. I learnt a lot about Mr Tate’s and the Council’s existing aspirations to expand a variety of industries on the Gold Coast, from health to education, media, IT and sports, and their increased commitment to seeing these aspirations to fruition considering COVID-19 had revealed the weaknesses of a tourism-centred economy. Hearing of his plans for these various sectors allowed me to see what tremendous opportunities expansion of industry will provide for students of my age and of the next generation. Mr Tate gave me many words of wisdom and advice for students that I share in our student newspaper The Brumby Bulletin, but my favourite of them all was when he said, “Do not be scared of your dreams. Trust yourself, it is all reachable”.  

Throughout Mr Tate’s chambers, there is a variety of memorabilia – piles of shovels from the start of building projects, plaques, ceremonial gifts and many more – that stand to remind him of his commitment to the structural development of our city and the fostering of partnerships that benefit Gold Coasters. His reception area is definitely one of the most exciting I have ever been to! When I asked the Mayor where his favourite part of the Gold Coast is, in a heart-warming manner, he said it is wherever his wife is. It looks like we need to get Mrs Ruth Tate on our College campus so that A.B. Paterson College is his favourite place!

After meeting with Mr Tate, I had the opportunity to speak to Jaz Lee, the Mayor’s policy advisor. Jaz has an extensive history working with Federal, State and Local politicians, and it was fantastic to gain his perspective on political life at each of the levels. Mr Lee educated me on the more nitty-gritty aspects of council leadership and the variety of factors and circumstances that have contributed to the development of our city into what it is today. It was great to also learn about the behind the scenes aspects of the Mayoral office, and the work Mr Tate and his colleagues do to guide and support the Mayor’s vision for the Gold Coast. 

I left the Mayoral Chambers much more knowledgeable about our city’s future, but also extremely excited for its development and proud to be a Gold Coaster. It felt a bit strange having to be socially distanced in the boardroom and for the photo, but it was a great experience nonetheless!  

Jodie Down – Year 11 Student
Youth Member for Warrego