Mayor Mark Jamieson has described 2017 as a landmark year for the Sunshine Coast thanks to the significant progress that has been made delivering economic, environment and community initiatives.
In his annual State of our Region address delivered at newly refurbished Playhouse Theatre at The Events Centre, Caloundra, Mayor Jamieson said the year’s highlights had helped to create a future all Sunshine Coast residents could look forward to with confidence.
“I am always proud to highlight how our Sunshine Coast is performing and never prouder than at this point in our region’s history,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“I firmly believe that the pride our residents feel about their home, their region, their Sunshine Coast, is as strong as mine.
“We are delivering a future we can all look forward to with confidence because there is no other region in Australia offering the opportunities anywhere near that offered at the Sunshine Coast.
“Our council has been entrusted by our residents to continue to shape a prosperous future for our community which offers enduring employment opportunities, better access to facilities and services, greater connectivity between communities and an outstanding natural environment.
“In short, we are delivering a region – and a future – that is healthy, smart and creative.”
Mayor Jamieson said the 50th anniversary celebrations had offered a great opportunity to reflect on the region’s journey and assess where it is now.
“We can look forward to what I’m sure will be a remarkable next 50 years,” he said.
“The anniversary celebrations have brought into focus how the community, back in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, decided our former name, the Near North Coast, simply didn’t help attract tourism and investment.
“They sought something more distinctive.
“In 2017, it’s not only the name ‘Sunshine Coast’ that makes us distinct – it’s what we are achieving as a region and the plans we have for the future.”
Mayor Jamieson said a significant highlight for the year was the increase in the Sunshine Coast’s average household income – a major goal of his mayoralty and the current council.
“This is great news for our business community who rely on consumer spending,” he said.
“We have come a long way in a relatively short period of time.
‘Our household incomes are now 10% below the State average. Within four years we have more than halved the 22% figure we inherited in 2012.
“That’s a really powerful story and a significant improvement, putting more money in our residents’ pockets.
“We are certain those figures will continue to improve as we target, through our Regional Economic Development Strategy, higher paying jobs to our region.”
Mayor Jamieson said despite the progress that had been made in recent years, there was still plenty of work ahead.
“Our job will be made easier thanks to the strong foundations we have laid in 2017 and the previous four years,” he said.
“Given the decades of neglect this region has experienced from successive Federal and State governments, there is ground to make up, particularly in the area of rail and public transport infrastructure which is a State Government responsibility.
“As I have done since becoming Mayor, I will continue to strongly advocate for the Sunshine Coast to receive a fairer share of the funding pie and we hope our newly elected State members, as well as their Federal colleagues, will fight on our behalf.”
State of our Region 2017 snapshot of highlights
- An average annual economic growth rate of 4.09% – a full percentage point higher than the nation’s.
- Employment up 11,500 over the year with 6400 extra jobs in construction alone.
- Unemployment rate now at 4.9% – a full percentage point lower than for the state of Queensland and at least 50% lower than what it was in 2012.
- Stage one of the Maroochydore city centre site, including installing Australia’s first automated underground waste collection system, now 95% complete
- Sunshine Coast Solar Farm switched on, making Sunshine Coast Council the first local government in Australia to offset 100% of its electricity consumption with energy from a renewable source.
- Sunshine Coast Airport named best of its class in the Asia-Pacific and continues to be the country’s fastest growing airport.
- Palisade Investment Partners confirmed as Sunshine Coast’s new commercial partner to operate the asset under a 99-year lease.
- Design work underway on new Sunshine Coast Airport runway.
- State Government’s $1.8 billion Sunshine Coast University Hospital officially opened, spearheading continued investment in the Kawana Health Precinct.
- Grand final victory for the Sunshine Coast Lightning in their debut season in the Suncorp Super Netball League.
- Residents moving in each week in the region’s two large scale master planned communities – $7 billion Caloundra South (now known as Aura) and the $3 billion Avid development Harmony at Palmview.
- Inclusion on the World Smart21 Communities list again for 2018
- Youi’s new $73 million global headquarters, expected to inject $1.2 billion into the local economy over the next 10 years, opened in the Knowledge Precinct at Sippy Downs
- Highest ever domestic visitor numbers – 3.4 million arrivals and 12.4 million visitor nights (up 4.4%) in the past year, plus 11.6% growth in international visitors more than double the state wide increase.
- New Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Rainforest Discovery Centre, opened by the Governor of Queensland.
- 50th Anniversary of the Naming of the Sunshine Coast celebrated in style with 98 events, 35,000 guests
- Building approvals at their highest level in eight years, with council issuing $1.72 billion in approvals for the 2016/17 financial year.
- An average life expectancy of 82 years – two years above the state average.
- The highest percentage of non-smokers in the state.
- Levels of obesity 19% below the state average.
- Long-term Environment and Liveability Strategy endorsed to maintain the liveability of our region and build on our already outstanding environmental credentials over the next 25 years
- $3.7 million invested in four new environmentally significant land parcels, adding another 178 hectares to Council’s conservation estate
- 1000th Land for Wildlife property signed on, taking total to almost 7600 hectares of land protected.
- Caloundra Music Festival attracted around 35,000 people and our second Horizon Festival drew almost 40,000 people to more than 220 art and cultural events over 10 days.
- Record Sunshine Coast Stadium crowd of 10,000+ for Storm v Warriors NRL trial