A long road ahead, but the enthusiasm’s there
  • Friday 20 July 2012

Fast-tracking of the Sunshine Coast Airport’s expansion took out the number-one position in the wish-list at Wednesday’s Sunshine Coast Business Leaders Round Table.

The suggestion was among a number of similar proposals to help stimulate the Coast’s economy and underlined a passion among business leaders to find positive solutions.

The conference, involving more than 60 business, industry and government representatives and hosted by Sunshine Coast Council, opened to hear a "state of the economy" report by demographics compiler AEC Group.

The report noted that according to the 2011 Census, the Coast’s population was closer to the 307,000 mark – which suggests the rate of population growth is slowing.

Reassuringly however, was the report suggested that the Coast’s economy - when compared to other non-mining regions - was in competitive shape on many counts.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said he was optimistic about the Coast’s economic future based on the enthusiasm and wealth of interest the Round Table had produced.

"Without doubt, there seems to be no disagreement on the need for us to work together," he told the conference.

"At the outset I gave business and industry my commitment that the partnerships we forged yesterday will be valued, supported and respected.

"To this end, we will take the good ideas that were generated and continue to engage with business and industry representatives as we collectively bring a number of these suggestions to fruition."

The mayor highlighted a number of the excellent suggestions that had come from the participants including:

  • Looking at programs and regulatory issues to encourage young people to stay in the region
  • Capitalising on the Coast’s events tourism reputation and attracting more events to the region
  • Being clearer about what the Coast’s competitive advantages are and playing to these strengths.
  • Leveraging off existing infrastructure – be it the Big Pineapple or the Sunshine Coast Airport

Cr Jamieson said this was only the start of the journey.

"Some of these ideas will be able to be progressed quickly – and where this can happen I am seeking the support of business and industry to make them happen," he said.

"Others will take some time but I am confident from the goodwill and passion that was in the room we can remain focused on the end goal and deal with any obstacles.

"Council is determined that we achieve a common message around the opportunities in the region and that we are all working as one team to present the Sunshine Coast as an ideal place to do business.

"No lesser goal will suffice."