The Sunshine Coast is situated approximately 100 kms north of Brisbane, stretching from Beerburrum National Park in the south to Noosa in the north and inland to Conondale National Park – an area of 3124.5 sq kms. With an estimated current population of 330,000 (2010), it has the fourth largest local government population in Australia (behind Brisbane, Gold Coast and Moreton Region).
For the past five years, the Sunshine Coast has outpaced population growth for Queensland and is expected to continue to increase into the future. The Sunshine Coast is projected to have a population of 500,000 by 2031. (Source OESR, 2011k).
The Sunshine Coast is a unique region known for its coastal beaches and its diverse geological and topographical features. It has many coastal and rural communities, each offering a distinct lifestyle. Within these communities there are many diverse small businesses that combined contributes greater than 50% of all employment in the Region.
The Gross Regional Product (GRP) was estimated at $13.815 Bn by AEC Group (2010-11). Report dated May 2011 – SCRC Economic Benchmarking for SCC.
SCBC research released in March 2012 identified the following economic challenges facing the Coast:
- Employment is over weight in retail, construction/development and tourism
- Under weight in Education, Government, Health Services, IT and Manufacturing
- Has 20% fewer state government jobs than the Queensland average for similar regions
- Losing workers in the most productive age groups and experiencing little or no growth in working age cohort, as a percentage of population
- Has the highest percentage (36.9%) of part time workers in Queensland
- Has the fastest growing aging population in SEQ.
Source: Refer to SCBC Research – Sunshine Coast Economic Direction – 2012.
Despite these challenges, there is enormous opportunity. The Sunshine Coast Region has a number of transformational projects in progress or identified, which will have significant ‘ripple effect’ in the economy and should go a long way toward addressing the regional challenges, strengthening and diversifying the regional economic base and ensuring SCBC’s targeted regional performance measures are achievable by 2020.
These opportunities include:
- The Kawana Health Hub, the largest greenfields health project in Australia:
- $5.3 billion investment in private and public facilities
- Estimated 12,000 new jobs during and post development
- Sunshine Coast University Hospital and research facility
- World-class office and residential precinct.
- Sunshine Coast Airport:
- Estimated $450 M (2008-09) investment
- New east-west runway for domestic and international aircraft
- Will support movement of 1.9 m passengers by 2020
- Estimated 5,300 jobs during construction and 2,900 post construction
- Projected to inject $475 M (2008-09) into the Coast’s economy
- Projected to inject $1.6 Bn into the National economy.
- Establishment of Maroochydore Principle Activity Centre (PAC):
- Estimated multi million investment by 2031 (no est. available)
- Structure Plan covers 206 ha in heart of Maroochydore
- Aim is to create 29,500 jobs in a range of CBC businesses by 2031
- Provides for the integration of existing retail, commercial and residential into a new Centre
- Expected to encourage additional private investment in housing, convention facilities, hotels, commercial, retail, recreational, education, entertainment and exhibition space
- Multi modal transport hub supporting regional connections.
- Establishment of Sippy Downs Technology Precinct:
- Currently no estimate. Evidence suggests in excess of $200 M.