- Tuesday 10 May 2016
The mayor of one of the fastest growing regions in Australia has called on the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and leaders of other major parties to make the Sunshine Coast a priority and visit the region during the Federal election campaign.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said thanks to the strong economic strategy being pursued by this region, and its proximity to Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast would play an important role in the future productivity of the Australian nation and should therefore be a key priority for the major parties in the lead up to the July 2 poll.
The communities in all three Federal electorates covering the Sunshine Coast will elect new members, given the retirements of the sitting members for Fisher, Fairfax and Wide Bay.
“This Federal election is an important opportunity - not only for the Sunshine Coast but also for the major parties - to clearly demonstrate their commitment to re-energising the economy, providing the programs and investment to generate jobs and improving the future prosperity and liveability of communities,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“It is also an opportunity for the political parties to address some of the long-standing needs of this region, which have been overlooked for some time by successive Federal and State governments.”
Mayor Jamieson said that the numbers alone showed why the Sunshine Coast should be a target for all parties during this eight-week campaign.
“The Sunshine Coast will become the ninth largest region in the country, and our economy has grown in the last 15 years at an average of 4.05% - higher than Australia’s 3.1% average,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“The Sunshine Coast has been independently ranked as the second highest performing regional economy in Queensland and has the highest level of business confidence of all regions in the State.
“In February, Infrastructure Australia identified the Sunshine Coast as one of five cities – in addition to the State and Territory capitals – as core focal points for the productivity of the Australian economy – and places where governments should support growth.
“And while there are now plans to transform Australia to a new economy, the Sunshine Coast started this journey back in 2013 with its blueprint for a new economy in our Regional Economic Development Strategy.”
Mayor Jamieson said all of the essential ingredients were here for the political parties to position their electoral platforms – innovation, sustainability and liveability.
“Bernard Salt recently referred to the Sunshine Coast as Australia’s Capital of Entrepreneurship, and we need to ensure this remains the case,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“What we need now are firm commitments to the key infrastructure and policy outcomes that are needed to support this growing community on the Sunshine Coast.
“With a population of more than 285,000 people, our region should be a key target during the campaign, given there are no sitting members contesting the election and our capacity to influence the shape of the Senate in this Double Dissolution election.”
Mayor Jamieson has today written to the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the leaders of the other key parties inviting them to visit the Sunshine Coast during the election campaign and seeking key election commitments from all parties.
Mr Turnbull last visited the Sunshine Coast in September 2015 in the week before becoming Prime Minister. It is understood Mr Shorten has not visited the Sunshine Coast since he became Leader of the Opposition in October 2013.
“We believe if Mr Turnbull and Mr Shorten are truly committed to future innovation, productivity, liveability and fairness, then a visit to the Sunshine Coast will enable them to see for themselves what a contemporary region is all about and they should make the commitments that our region needs,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“There was clear evidence of dissatisfaction with the major parties at the last Federal election and indeed, the seat of Fairfax is now one of the most marginal in the country.
“Now is the opportunity for the party leaders to show their respective commitments to shaping a smarter future for the Sunshine Coast.”
Mayor Jamieson said Council would be seeking the following key commitments from Federal candidates:
- A financial commitment from the Commonwealth over three years to assist with meeting the financing costs for the expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport
- A commitment to strongly encourage the Australian Communications and Media Authority to declare a submarine cable protection zone off-shore from the Sunshine Coast
- A firm timing and funding commitment to the expansion of the Bruce Highway to six lanes between Caboolture and Caloundra
- Confirmation of the medical school university places at the Sunshine Coast Health Institute being developed as part of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital
- The Sunshine Coast be one of the first three locations nationally for development and finalisation of a city deal as a means to address the critical inadequacy of the coastal public transport network.
- A firm timing and funding commitment – in partnership with the Queensland Government - to deliver the duplication of the North Coast Rail Line between Beerburrum and Nambour.
“Each of these commitments are clear Commonwealth responsibilities and collectively, will help deliver the jobs and prosperity for our region,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“In the case of the cable protection zone and the confirmation of the medical school places, these commitments also help position the region as a leading contributor to a progressive innovation agenda in the Digital Age.”
Over coming weeks, the mayor will be briefing all candidates in the three Sunshine Coast-based electorates and continually encouraging the major parties to support the future prosperity of the Sunshine Coast community.