A budget for the future of our economy
  • Wednesday 26 June 2013

Sunshine Coast Council has adopted a budget that invests in the long-term economic future of the region, making it easier to do business, seize opportunities and create jobs.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said it was always going to be a tough budget due to unprecedented challenges.

“This is a budget for the future; we’ve balanced the books despite the financial fallout from de-amalgamation, rising costs and falling revenue,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“This has allowed us to provide $11.8 million for economic development to help the region harness existing and future job-creating opportunities.

“In the next financial year, we’ll build on some of the major changes made in the first 12 months of this council including reducing fees, cutting red tape and selling the natural advantages of doing business here.

“This budget will keep that momentum going.”

Highlights for 2013/14 include:

  • electronic lodgement of development applications, making it easier, more efficient and less costly for all parties—applicants, the development industry and council—to do business
  • roll out of the region’s major and regional events strategy to better position the region as one of Australia’s premier regional event destinations
  • delivery of the Sunshine Coast Economic Development Strategy, which will direct economic decisions and actions on the Coast for the next 20 years
  • no increases to planning fees and charges.

“Creating a sustainable economy is much more achievable with agreed goals and priorities and all parties working together to sell the region’s message and strengths—a great example is the Sunshine Coast Economic Development Strategy which will launch later in the year,” Cr Jamieson said.

“The strategy has been developed in close collaboration with local business and industry organisations and includes a comprehensive five year action plan.

“Council’s responsibility is to get the policy settings and economic levers right so business can thrive, jobs are created and new investment occurs—and not get in the way of business unnecessarily.

“The latest annual Business Confidence survey shows business confidence in 2013 has increased by 8 per cent against 2012 and 2011 with a 5 per cent jump in businesses saying they will increase their spending significantly over the next six months.

“There is still a long way to go—the economic environment will not change overnight and we have to be prepared for the long-haul and continue to remain focussed on our clear goals.”

Key actions and outcomes from the 2013/14 budget

In 12/13 council:

Outcome

Scrapped fees for pre-lodgement meetings.

Reduced application fees by 5% for all Commercial, Business and Industrial land uses.

Reduced application fees for seven selected land use types by 25% by means of a fee rebate when the use commences within 2 years.

Pre-lodgement meetings have increased by 24%.
We’ve seen a 64% increase in Material Change of Use applications for the first part of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012 and a 10% reduction in negotiated decision requests.

Completed the first health and medical services investment mission to Sydney in October 2012 and the first investment and business mission to China in May 2013 with another planned for September.

An increased awareness of the Sunshine Coast and the abundance of investment opportunities it has to offer. We have already hosted two delegations from China as a result.

Introduced its ‘Build it and Benefit Scheme’ in May 2013, which offers up to 50% reduction in infrastructure charges.

Expected to get tens of millions of dollars of building work off the shelves and on the ground.

Refocussed the Local Business Support Program to help local business pursue opportunities associated with the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital, including:

  • delivery of extensive information sessions across the region
  • provision of targeted information and education sessions on preparation of tenders, forming joint ventures etc.

Council influenced the decision by Lend Lease to break down the works packages into over 250 smaller packages, providing more (and better) opportunities for local businesses to competitively tender for these works.

Sessions attended by over 1500 local businesses—36 of the 66 tenders awarded so far have gone to local businesses.

Approved its first International Business Development Program.

This provides the actions to help expand the export capability of the region, grow the region’s access to key markets and start to position it to attract new investment.

Attracted Tough Mudder and the 70.3 Half Ironman series events to the Coast – two examples of council’s efforts to expand the region’s range of major event experiences.

Will increase visitor numbers and bring dollars to the Coast from outside the region.

Finalised a new Rural Futures Strategy.

 

Provide a basis for clear economic opportunities for the Hinterland while preserving and enhancing the liveability and natural settings that make the Hinterland a highly attractive place to live and visit.

Continued to pursue new business investment into the region to build greater depth into the economy and provide more employment opportunities.

 

Establishment of Stellar Asia Pacific regional facility in Maroochydore – 280 jobs.

Attraction of Hearty Foods to the Big Pineapple.

Retention of the iconic Wimmers Soft Drinks in Cooroy.