Mayor Jamieson - Putting more money in your pockets
  • Monday 27 April 2015

You may have heard the saying, “Nothing changes if nothing changes and if you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep getting what you've always got”.

That message resonated strongly with me last week.

A business person said we should just accept that the average household income on the Sunshine Coast would always be less than the State average “because it’s always been that way and will never change”.

I can’t and won’t accept that. Attracting investment to grow our economy and put more money into our residents’ pay packets while protecting our environment and lifestyle is at the forefront of every decision I’ve made since coming into office.

I am also mystified that some believe because we live in one of the best places on earth, the family down the street, the driver heading to work along Nicklin Way or the 20-year-old catching a bus to a job interview should accept they’ll be paid less than their Brisbane and regional cousins.

And we are not talking about just a few thousand dollars a year.  The latest wage and salary earner figures estimate the Sunshine Coast’s average annual household income at $50,244 – more than $7000 below the State average.

Taken across all households, that’s $840 million a year in lost income.

The difference is even wider when the Coast is compared to Greater Brisbane ($60,001) meaning on average, our households are about $10,000 a year – or more than $800 a month – worse-off by comparison. The lost income across the Sunshine Coast is $1.2 billion per annum.

That’s money that could go towards making it easier to pay for life’s every day necessities and towards discretionary spending to help grow the economy.

It’s money to buy a piece of furniture, to upgrade the car, to spend on entertainment, to get a haircut or to buy that pair of shoes you’ve had your eye on for that special occasion.

It’s money for those items many people just haven’t been able to afford in the past. It’s money that will help our local businesses grow and prosper and the multiplier effect is enormous.

We can create our own destiny and Sunshine Coast Council is putting runs on the board as we grow the economy.

Business confidence is at its highest since 2008 and last year almost 20% of all new jobs in Queensland were generated here on the Sunshine Coast – more than any other region.

Add in the Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital employees who will earn, on average, $80,000 each year and the recently announced Youi Insurance global headquarters development where the average employee’s annual salary of $70,000 is almost $1660 a month above the state household average, and the tally grows.

In Youi’s case, 19% of staff are aged 18-25.

Don’t forget our game-changer projects: Maroochydore City Centre – Australia’s only greenfield CBD development and the Sunshine Coast Airport expansion which will create more jobs especially in export, and you have a diversified economy complementing our traditional tourism, retail and construction sectors.

We are well on our way to shaping a future where we are Australia’s most sustainable region – vibrant, green and diverse – a future where our Sunshine Coast residents are earning more and still living in the best place on earth.

This column first appeared in My Weekly Preview in April 2015