- Friday 09 December 2016
Posting an unemployment rate of 4.7% - lower than the Queensland average – and around half the rate in 2012, purchasing more than 100 hectares of environmentally sensitive land and recording $1.29 billion worth of building approvals are just some of the highlights of living on the Sunshine Coast in 2016.
Mayor Mark Jamieson today (Dec 9) described 2016 as a “momentous” one for the Sunshine Coast.
“It shows there is enormous value in having a clear and coherent plan, and a determined approach to seeing that plan implemented,” Mayor Jamieson said
“This consistency builds confidence – that most essential ingredient in any success story.
“And confidence is the greatest gift any level of government can give its community.”
Presenting his annual State of the Region report at Mooloolaba Surf Club, Mayor Jamieson told an audience of community, business, education and political representatives that 2016 would be remembered as an historic marker for the Coast.
A number of the region’s transformative projects have moved from planning to implementation during the past 12 months, and there have been major gains for the environment, progress in key infrastructure projects, new records for the Sunshine Coast Airport and in domestic and international tourism.
“Quite frankly there is no better place to be than the Sunshine Coast at this time,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“We are shaping a prosperous future for our community.
“It’s a future which offers enduring employment opportunities, better access to facilities and services, greater connectivity between communities and an outstanding natural environment.
“In short, we are shaping a region - and a future - that is healthy, smart and creative.
“We are a region that is vigorous in its approach and clever in how it tackles challenges and pursues opportunities.
“This region thinks outside the square to generate new ideas for how we build our economy, maintain our fantastic lifestyle, support our communities and preserve our natural assets.”
Mayor Jamieson said it was important to take time to celebrate the Coast’s achievements and ensure the community knew how the region was progressing and what was ahead.
“There is considerable activity occurring that is helping us to achieve the strong economic position that we are now able to claim,” he said.
“Our region has more than $10 billion committed, or in the pipeline, in major public and private investment in the region.
“Following its official sod turning in February, the new Maroochydore City Centre, a project that will deliver more than 30,000 jobs by 2040 and a $4.4 billion contribution to the Sunshine Coast economy, is now in the early stages of civil works.”
Mayor Jamieson said submissions proposing commercial and mixed use projects with a construction cost alone of more than $400 million had already been lodged for consideration and further due diligence for the CBD site.
“Our council looks forward to seeing these and other proposals for the CBD develop to contract and announcement stage in 2017,” he said.
The new year will see construction start on the Sunshine Coast Airport expansion, a project that will generate $4.1 billion for the local economy, as well as 2230 jobs by 2040 and enable more direct flights to more locations in Australia, Asia and the Western Pacific.
Construction is well underway on the Sunshine Coast Solar Farm which is scheduled to come online in 2017, while the State Government’s Sunshine Coast University Hospital will open to patients in April.
Other significant results from the past 12 months, which Mayor Jamieson described as “the aces in the pack” included the Sunshine Coast:
- being independently ranked as the second highest performing regional economy in Queensland for the second consecutive year and the fifth highest performing regional economy nationally
- earning a place as one of only four Australian regions on the world’s Smart 21 communities list for 2017.
- being recognised by Infrastructure Australia as one of five cities (in addition to the State capitals) that will be the focus for the future productivity of the Australian economy
- recording building approvals in 2015-2016 which were at an eight-year high with $1.29 billion worth of construction approved last financial year – more than double what it was in 2012
- posting an unemployment rate of 4.7% - lower than for the state of Queensland – and around half the rate in 2012
- adding more than 100 hectares of environmentally significant land to council’s conservation estate to provide an enduring environmental legacy for our community
- achieving one million passengers in and out of Sunshine Coast Airport for the first time in a 12-month period
- recording our best domestic tourism figures in more than a decade with arrivals growing by 7.8% to 3.1 million while international tourists spent an all-time record $266.5 million
- welcoming 150,000 visitors from more than 70 countries in our World is Coming events campaign.
Mayor Jamieson said it was also very pleasing to receive recent data from Queensland Health that showed the region had the highest percentage of non-smokers in the State and was ranked second in Queensland in healthy weight (19% below the State average).