Since 1998 the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research has prepared an annual State of the Regions report for the Australian Local Government Association. The report includes coverage of urban as well as country regions – for example, the Sydney metropolitan area is divided into nine regions and South East Queensland comprises six regions, one of which is Gold Coast.
Each report includes an array of data for each region. These data are also available by Local Government Areas. The data is intended for use in local economic development planning and project assessment, and is collated from a wide variety of sources. The paper describes the availability of primary data at regional level, including the Census and administrative data available by postcode (especially Social Security and tax statistics), housing sales and prices and local government valuation data. Survey data are also discussed, including methods by which surveys can provide local estimates for variables not explicitly observed at the local level.
The paper takes the City of Gold Coast as an example and compares the economy Gold Coast with that of Australia as a whole and also with other selected regions. The structure of the Gold Coast economy is similar to that of Australia as a whole in many respects, though its dependence on tourism as an economic base results in lower than average value added per person employed.