Gold Coast, Queensland - Governance

Governance

The city is governed at the local level by the Gold Coast City Council, the second largest local government in the country behind Brisbane City. Its origins lie in two local governments established at the 10 June 1949 elections: Town of the South Coast, which merged the Town of Coolangatta, Town of Southport and part of the Shire of Nerang; and the Shire of Albert, which took in a large surrounding region. On 23 October 1959, South Coast was renamed Gold Coast and on 16 May 1959 it was proclaimed as a City. The modern Gold Coast City was created in 1995 when the existing City and the Shire of Albert merged. In 2008, the Gold Coast shrank slightly as part of Queensland government's reorganisation of local government boundaries, losing the Beenleigh and Eagleby areas north of the Albert River to Logan City Council. The Gold Coast City Council has 14 councillors, each representing a division of the City. Former Olympian Ron Clarke was elected Mayor of the Gold Coast in 2004. Former mayors include Gary Baildon, Lex Bell, Ray Stevens, Ern Harley and Sir Bruce Small, who was responsible for the development of many of the canal estates that are now home to thousands of Gold Coast residents.

The Gold Coast area is represented at the state level by ten members in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland. The seats they hold are: Albert, Broadwater, Burleigh, Coomera, Currumbin, Gaven, Mudgeeraba, Robina, Southport and Surfers Paradise. Federally, the Gold Coast area is represented by three members in the House of Representatives, whose seats are Fadden (northern), Moncrieff (central) and McPherson (southern). Some western areas are part of the Forde, which is centred in the Scenic Rim Region.

Historically, Gold Coast has tilted conservative. The three Gold Coast federal divisions have returned only Liberal Party representatives since 1986, and Labor has historically only done well around Labrador and Coolangatta. At the state level, Labor has been fairly competitive in the Gold Coast for most of the early part of the 21st century. However, as part of its massive landslide in the 2012 state election, the Liberal National Party now holds every seat there.

Southport Courthouse is the city's major courthouse and has jurisdiction to hear petty criminal offences and civil matters up to A$250,000. Indictable offences, criminal sentencing and civil matters above A$250,000 are heard in the higher Supreme Court of Queensland which is located in Brisbane. There are subsidiary Magistrates Courts, also located at the northern and southern suburbs of Beenleigh and Coolangatta.

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