Mission Melbourne: first steps positive
  • Saturday 15 October 2011

Some major players in the burgeoning clean technology and renewable energy industry will be visiting the Sunshine Coast later this month.

The visitors will be getting a guided tour of the Coast and meeting with local businesses as a direct result of Sunshine Coast Council’s recent Investment Mission to Melbourne.

Economic Development and Entrepreneurship Portfolio Councillor Lew Brennan led the mission, accompanied by Council CEO John Knaggs, Ross Hepworth (representing Sunshine Coast TAFE and Council’s Economic Development Advisory Board), and Bruce Napier and Mark Leckenby (representing the clean technology industry in the region).

Cr Brennan said the delegates on the Investment mission met up with close to 25 companies and had the opportunity to showcase why the Sunshine Coast is an ideal location for them to do business.

"We had drawn up a list of about 25 cleantech companies as a result of our earlier research," he said.

"While we were looking to promote the Sunshine Coast as a great investment opportunity, we also wanted to ensure they were aware there is an expanding clean technology and renewable energy sector in the region – demonstrating our credentials as a place where this industry can flourish.

"At the same time, we also wanted to look after the interests of the businesses in this sector that are already in the region," Cr Brennan said.

"With this in mind, we worked with the sector and its representative group – Cleantech Industries Sunshine Coast – from the initial planning for this mission to understand where there are gaps in their supply chain so we could work on supporting their business needs - not creating more competition for them."

Cr Brennan said many of the businesses had previously viewed the Sunshine Coast purely as a holiday destination, and were surprised when they learned the facts.

"They were surprised at our growing economy, competitive business conditions compared with those of other States, our technological know-how, our population of more than 330,000 and heading for 500,000 and our new business incentive scheme," he said.

"We also advised them we have the largest take-up of solar PV in the nation.

"We left them with the very clear understanding that we are a council prepared to work with the cleantech industries to grow and succeed – something that few councils have their head around."

Council CEO John Knaggs said the investment mission had drawn considerable interest from renewable energy companies who are now looking to investigate the Sunshine Coast business opportunities.

"The Melbourne based clean technology and renewable energy industry now clearly understands as a result of our mission that we are a significant force in this area," he said.

"We are also expecting some of the Melbourne businesses to attend our Clean Futures Conference here on the Coast on October 28, when we will have a chance to show them first-hand what the Sunshine Coast has to offer."?

Clean-tech industries include solar, water, waste and energy efficiency in buildings.