State of our Region: ‘stronger, smarter, more connected’

From boosting our economy to embracing a recycling revolution and preserving precious eco-systems … 2023 was certainly a ground-breaking year for the Sunshine Coast.

State of our Region: ‘stronger, smarter, more connected’

From boosting our economy to embracing a recycling revolution and preserving precious eco-systems … 2023 was certainly a ground-breaking year for the Sunshine Coast.

Our region saw the launch of an Action Plan to address and continue our response to Housing and Homelessness, a global business lured from New York and the starter’s gun fired on projects being created for our community from our involvement in the Olympic and Paralympic Games Brisbane 2032.

Welcome to Sunshine Coast Council’s 2023 State of our Region!

The State of our Region provides a snapshot of achievements, memorable moments and programs aimed at strengthening our community and making life even better in our very special part of the world.

This year’s address features Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson and many inspiring community champions, who share their stories and aspirations for the future of our region.

Take a look at the State of the Region video

Mayor Jamieson, who launched the first State of our Region in 2012 when first elected as Mayor, said enormous gains had been made for our community in 2023.

“Our region now has a much stronger and resilient economy with a clear blueprint for its future, generating investment and employment opportunities that allow people to work closer to home and enjoy higher-paying jobs,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“From the Big Apple to the home of the Big Pineapple we attracted global professional services firm, Genpact, which is setting up here, creating 250 new jobs in finance, insurance, IT and administration.

“Council was proud to bring people together for award-winning events, create safer and more accessible recreation and sporting facilities and enhance our national and international reputation as the Sunshine Coast Biosphere.

“Our Council continues to focus on the needs of our community, including health and wellbeing, connectivity and prosperity, as we look to guide sustainable growth, build confidence and pride in our region and help maintain this lifestyle we’re famous for.”

Horizon Festival unites.

Horizon Festival unites.

Investing in a brighter future

“We saw our first billion-dollar budget, which included a Capital Works Program of $331 million.

“This included support for a number of major long-awaited projects, some delivered with contributions from the State and Federal Government, that will vastly improve the way we move around the Sunshine Coast and give us easier access to business and lifestyle centres like Mooloolaba and Caloundra.

“We also moved to better protect our people and places when faced with natural disasters by investing in a world-leading bushfire detection system called exci.”

Mayor Jamieson said Council had developed many forward-thinking initiatives working towards zero-net emissions, reduced waste, new parks and cooler households.

“This year heralded a recycling revolution as we delivered a new $40 million Material Recycling Facility (MRF) at Nambour, which was jointly funded by Council and the State and Federal Governments.

“With industry-leading intelligent sorting technology, the Sunshine Coast MRF will be able to recover glass bottles, plastic containers, cardboard, paper and steel and aluminium cans, supplying a range of quality products for re-use across several industries.”

“Construction of the facility was funded through an agreement between all levels of government, with $22 million from the Queensland Government’s Recycling and Jobs Fund, $13.5 million from Council and a $5.1 million joint contribution from Australian and Queensland  governments under the Queensland Recycling Modernisation Fund.”

Sunshine Coast Ecological Park.

Sunshine Coast Ecological Park.

Helping new wave of homeless

David Foreman of IFYS, who features in the State of our Region video, said his service assisted those experiencing homelessness and this year was helping people who had never been homeless before.

“It’s not just a bed we provide, but support and wrap-a-round services that provide a more secure future,” Mr Foreman said.

“We have increased our outreach support to assist those sleeping rough and also services for young people in need.”

TurtleCare’s Mathew Lynn, spoke of his great passion for the region’s most precious marine visitors.

Mr Lynn highlighted the importance of a satellite-tagging program launched last season and how it was helping carers better understand – and protect – turtles.

Natasha Odgers, who works in disaster resilience within our hinterland communities, said future planning was vital to keep our increasing population safer into the future.

“With climate change and the increase in disasters, we need to think more seriously about how the community can equip itself to be more resilient,” she said.

“We know there are going to be more people who are new to the Coast, so they might not necessarily know what the disaster risks are, such as severe storms, floods and bushfires. This is why planning is so important.’’

Sunshine Coast lifestyle in action at Kings Beach.

Sunshine Coast lifestyle in action at Kings Beach.

Manufacturing sector on the move

Lachie Smart of Smartline Medical said he had loved growing up on the Sunshine Coast, a region that “gives you a bit of everything, from the beach to the bush and the city when you need it”.

Mr Smart, who in 2016 become the youngest person to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft, said he had worked elsewhere, including overseas, but returned to the Coast to take up a position as general manager of Smartline Medical.

He said this company that manufactured medical equipment on the Coast and exported to 25 countries around the world, had received excellent support from Council’s programs and the initiatives they support, such as the Manufacturing Excellence Forum Sunshine Coast whose Founding Director Tim Kelly also features in the video.

Sunshine Coast Young Citizen of the Year Mason Hope, a national ambassador for headspace, gave some valuable insights into his work in the young mental health sector.

“We need to be able to empower our young people here, because we have such great opportunities,” Mr Hope said.

“We need to do everything we can to enrich and upskill these kids in what the future holds and life.”

Rhondda Alexander, of Friends of Currimundi Lake, called for more help from residents to maintain and safeguard our environment.

“This is our area. We live here, so it’s up to us to help look after it.”

This article State of our Region: ‘stronger, smarter, more connected’ has been supplied from the OurSC website and has been published here with permission.