About us

2003- Present: Director, Swingin’ Safari [ Aust ] Pty Ltd

Established 2003 as a test bed for a Co-operative business model and alternative entertainment product to appeal to a broad demographic.

It started as a pop up business idea to utilise a building prior to development of the location. The landlord refused to offer a lease and only guaranteed 3 months use from September 2003 to end of January 2004 .

It still operates today over 10 years later, as the local business with construction at its doorstep now for over 3 years [ longer than any other business ]  due to the Light Rail Construction yet remains one of the few businesses still operating on the light rail track, after over 300 others have closed their doors.

The landlord had always intended to sell or develop the site, last month it sold to a group of Chinese Investors and developers with their own plans

The business established itself within a short space of time as an iconic destination for both locals and tourists and has featured in most advertising undertaken by the Surfers Alliance to promote Surfers Paradise.

It has been featured in national fashion magazines [ Grazia and GQ ] as a ‘must do’ Gold Coast experience plus several inflight magazines such as Asian Traveller Jetstar and Virgin. The Restaurant Bar concept with music which now 7 years is known as a local favourite which has acted a cultural hub for Surfers playing host to various events and themes nights.

Eg: The Screen Producers Assn of Austral-Asia International Conference “ Safari World”

Various Wrap parties and events for the Film industry eg: Chronicles of Narnia, The Vine, Sea Patrol SERIES 2,3,4 , Kokoda, Mermaid, 3D, Boost Surf Show on the Beach, Big Brother Wrap Party 3 years running.

In addition to this it has hosted major product launches for all the major Surf Industry Brands, Billabong, Rip Curl, Quicksilver, Red Bull, Otis Eyewear and Oakley. In each case the client has returned for additional business.

A simple theme of ‘FUN’ featured regular Entertainment and Events programme, was the first to incorporate a grass roots retro market “ The Bohemian Bazaar” a market day with Street Food, Wine tastings, Art exhibits & Cabaret . At its core was a commitment to support for the development of local original music and theatre groups and assisted in raising over $20,000 for various charities through all sorts of themed events.

Prior to opening Swingin Safari

1999 – 2003: Gold Coast Co-ordinator CEA Consortium Ltd; Incorporating Bridging The Gap Inc., GC Business Enterprise Centre Ltd and Gold Coast Skill Centre Inc.

This role evolved from a strategy to establish a Consortium of not-for- profit organisations amongst a network of 9 different organisations in Brisbane and the Gold Coast in response to a Federal Govt initiative to privatise funding streams for human services vocational education and job creation initiatives.

Responsibilities included product development, research and development of funding for various forms of job creation and local economic development programmes with funding from Federal and State Governments and support from Gold Coast City Council.

Annual budget was subject to funding contracts secured but averaged between $5 and $8 Million per annum which included wages for up to 100 people directly employed on various projects across the city at any one time.

CEA Consortium had IT Labs in Miami and Southport, a Construction arm and a welding facility in Southport. During this time it was the recipient of various awards from the State Minister for Education and Innovation for Innovative Practice and The Prime Minister for Innovation in Program delivery.

Responsibility for the research, costing and submission of funding proposals fell on the principal. As the principal of a group of Not for Profits the only way business can be established and developed is with a well respected and solid network of business relationships within other community organisations, Industry, GC City Council and both State and Federal Government.

Awards: Prime Minister’s Award for merit for innovation for Implementation of Work for the Dole Programme over 400 people in the first project which incorporated an innovative Enterprise programme for Young Offenders The Bandwagon – a local bands music event and charity fundraiser .

State Govt- Community Jobs Plan awards for Innovation – The Digital City Project and Flayva Magazine

GC Urban Design Award – GC Skill Centre Miami – working with Industrial Design Students studying design to undertake design fit out of Community Facility.

1991 – 1999: CEO; Gold Coast Skill Centre Inc :

When Neil started this position the organisation had one annual grant of $70,000 with the Federal Govt , within 4 years the organisation was responsible for a $7M budget and in 1998 had an annual budget of $40M due to a Federal Initiative for job Creation which involved direct employment of 1000 people on short term 3-6month work projects across the City.

During this time a Joint Venture arrangement was struck with The Nobby’s Beach Surf Club to establish it as a Community Enterprise Program for the Hospitality Industry incorporating Training which generated significant income for the Surf Club. GC Skill Centre was also instrumental in winning innovative National Pilot Programmes in working with Mature People and very challenging youth. In each of these involved creation of Arts and Cultural Events.

1991 – 1990: Manager; Nicolinis Group Surfers Paradise to oversee development of the business from scratch to become one of the busyest in Surfers.

1988-1990 : Consulting to - Oasis Shopping Centre Broadbeach Tavern and Mall & Gold Coast Publications Advertising and Editorial Entertainment Industry

1989 – 1986: Entertainment; – Food and Beverage Manager; Sheraton Mirage Resort: Establish Entertainment and Events programme for the Resort.

Manager Fortunes Nightclub; Conrad International Hotel and Jupiters Casino : Create and oversee all aspects of Nightly Events programmes and Events

1985 – 1984: Nightclub Precinct Surfers Paradise Manager Twains Nightclub , Penthouse / Bensons/ JBs various positions

1982-1983 : Asst Manager Lindeman Island Resort Whitsundays.

In the 12 years Neil worked in the Not for Profit Sector he was directly answerable to various Boards of Directors and all financial aspects of operations from securing of funds to full expenditure and audit. He was directly responsible for generating a total of Approximately $75m in Federal and State Govt Funded programmes as well as generating Community Enterprise initiatives such as Surf Club Management Worm Farming etc.

Honorary Positions held

99/2000 President Rotary Club of Surfers Sunrise [after being member for 3 years]

’00-03 On the Board of GC Youth Forum

’96 -2000 Australian Representative - Governing Council, The Commonwealth Assn for Local Action and Economic Development.  COMMACT : - An organisation funded by The Commonwealth Foundation in London with a focus on People Centred Development which established networks for collaboration and empowerment in Grass Roots Economic and Cultural Development between Commonwealth Countries.

As one of 10 Australians attending 4WCW Working for Common Wealth Conference 1996, Neil was invited by The Irish Congress of Trade Unions and Key organisations involved in the Peace Process in Northern Ireland to establish the 1st ‘Wider Horizons’ programme in Australia -  one of many strategies designed to contribute to the Peace Process in Northern Ireland – The Wider Horizons Programme was funded by The International Fund for Ireland  [ with contributions from Australia, NZ, UK, USA , Canada and EU ] Other International Conferences COMMACT 5WCW-Working for Common Wealth Conference Stutterheim Sth Africa dealing with issues raised through the end of Apartheid in Sth Africa.

’92-96 Management Committee GC Youth Service

1986 – GC Organising Committee during United Nations International Year for Peace


Neil Beattie

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