Contribution to Thought Leadership

Sunshine Council Business Council has established a consistent record of success as a regional leader since 2010.

Over the past ten years SCBC has drawn attention to topics that tightly link to our key focuses of investment, infrastructure and employment.

Here is a reminder of some of the areas we have stimulated, and sometime provoked, community discussion about which we have supported with SCBC commissioned research and forums/conferences:


As a level of stabalisation commenced post the initial impacts of Covid, SCBC had a busy year that focused on a diverse range of subjects that influence and impact the region. Following on from the cyber security market sounding research work shops were undertaken to understand the focus needed in the region to enable the ICT industry. This has culminated in the establishment of SCTechIA (Sunshine Coast Tech Industry Association) which will be the core advocacy group on ICT for the region. This will have a full launch early in 2020 when memberships will be enabled to the market.

SCBC undertook its fifth Think Tank series holding three sessions in April ,May and June which brought together industry stakeholders (UDIA, PCA, RDA), councils and other industry stakeholders to focus on agreeing the key elements of a modern Planning Scheme to support growth and change and the preparation of an industry submission as input into the drafting of the Sunshine Coast Council New Planning Scheme by Sunshine Coast Council. This work resulted in a joint submission to Sunshine Coast Council regarding key elements to be considered in a new planning scheme.

We were able to reconnect face to face with members and held a sell-out lunch in May where Mark Steinart, former CEO of Stockland presented on the Rise of the Regions, this was followed by another sell-out event, the Aging in Place conference held in July where Nationally recognised speakers covered a range of topics to understand that ageing is not a choice but how we age should be.

The work continued to maintain the current pipeline of major projects to better understand impacts on projects commencement or continuation and therefore impacts on jobs. This again showed the strength of the construction sector and an increased investment from the private sector with the delivery of a number of projects, that had expected to be significantly impacted by Covid.

April, May, June 2021 | Think Tank Series No. 5 - Agreeing the key elements of a modern Planning Scheme

May 2021 | LunchMark Steinart, former CEO,Stockland – The Rise of the Regions

Feb to June 2021 | Series of Cyber Security and Information, Technology and Computing workshops undertaken to build on the learnings from the Cyber Security Market Sounding research.

July 2021 | Ageing in Place Conference – with Nationally renowned speakers focusing on How we age well and in place.

October 2021 | Annual Combined Government and Business Forum, bringing together three tiers of Government and Industry

November 2020 | Annual Combined Business & Government Forum – themed around ‘Playing to Our Strengths’.  Keynote speaker Ms Jennifer Westacott, CEO Business Council of Australia

July 2020 | Deb Frecklington Leader of the Opposition Webinar

May to September 2020 | Five COVID-19 Economic Recovery Briefings by industry to 3-tiers of government; Pipeline of significant public and private sector project development

April and July 2020 | Sunshine Coast Region Digitalisation Transformation workshops

Sept to October 2020 | Cyber security market sounding and feedback sessions

March 2020 | Meet the Mayoral Candidates Forum

October 2019 | Annual Combined Business & Government Forum

September 2019 | Digitalisation workshop – moving the regional economy forward

June 2019 | Digitalisation, Big Data, Fast Access, potential to spearhead new industries and new jobs conference

April 2019 | Where the jobs will be in 2023 briefing

March 2019 | Pre-election meet the candidates

October 2018 | Panel discussion held for the release of the Ripple Effect Research

September 2018 | Annual Combined Business & Government Forum

September 2018 | Deb Frecklington, MP, Leader of the Opposition – Breakfast.

July – September 2018 | Think Tank Series 4. Agreeing what is required to deliver on the Shaping SEQ Regional Plan and future proof the region for sustainable growth.

May 2018 | Economic briefing by Macquarie Bank for SCBC and Master Builder Members.

May 2018 | Retail Evolution Conference

April 2018 | |Economic Impact of Regional Universities – Corporate lunch

September 2017 | Second Combined Business & Government Forum

June 2017 | Urban Evolution of the Sunshine Coast Conference

May-August 2017 | Think Tank Series 3:  Sunshine Coast Growth Opportunities and Challenges Emanating from the ShapingSEQ Regional Framework

November 2016 | Federal Election:  Meet the Candidates – forum

September 2016 | The New Zealand Story – lunch

August 2016 | First Combined Government and Business Forum

August 2016 | Realising the Ripple Effect conference

February-June 2016 | Think Tank Series 2:  PROTECTING THE DIVERSITY AND RICHNESS OF THE SUNSHINE COAST REGION BEYOND ITS ECONOMIC VALUE  – Increasing the effectiveness of community engagement.  What needs to change?

November 2015 | Human Rights Symposium

June 2015 | The Challenge for Regional Australia in the Competition for Investment

March-June 2015 | Think Tank Series 1:  PROTECTING THE DIVERSITY AND RICHNESS OF THE SUNSHINE COAST REGION BEYOND ITS ECONOMIC VALUE balancing growth | development | environment

May 2014 | Follow up to the Youth Prosperity conference.

March 2014 | Future of Agribusiness on Sunshine Coast & how to invest.

November 2013 | Youth Prosperity conference.

April 2013 | Growth of the Middle Class in Asia – are there opportunities for the Sunshine Coast?

December 2012 | March 2013 and June 2013 review of action plan with Sunshine Coast Council and industry.

August 2012 | Health Precinct conference on importance of the ‘Ripple Effect’ and developing a 9 month action plan.

March 2012 | Sunshine Coast’s Economic Direction.

May 2011 | Board room lunch focusing on Health Precinct’s master plan.

July 2010 | First significant health forum focusing on what we could learn from overseas experience.

SCBC has a successful economic and business advocacy record

Sunshine Council Business Council has established a consistent record of success as a regional leader since 2010.

Below are examples of where SCBC has led or been key in initiating, influencing or expanding discussion and ideas. This does not cover the extensive confidential advocacy work undertaken on behalf of members.


With the implementation of the Submarine Cable into the Sunshine Coast and considering the potential positive economic impact this could enable to the region, SCBC worked with Sunshine Coast and Noosa councils, State Government departments and industry in creating awareness of how to maximise the economic benefit to be derived from the regional communications infrastructure, including the international submarine cable and how to drive a Digital Transformation that can enable economic growth.

SCBC undertook a conference in relation to the impacts of Digitalisation Big Data Fast Access Conference June 2019 and further followed up with a workshop comprising 75 people from industry and government sectors on September 2019 Digitalisation – Moving the Regional Economy Forward.

As a result of this workshop a Plan of Action was developed and SCBC had commenced work on implementing the draft action plan by firstly establishing three panels to cover the three themes featured in the draft action plan:  (1) Health,  (2)Education and (3) Next Wave.  These panels will oversee the implementation of the action plan to deliver a draft high-level digital transformation growth direction for the industries.


In addition to the conferences and forums undertaken that focused on the economy impacts for the Region the SCBC also undertook two key research projects during 2018.

The development of the Sunshine Coast Region – Our Essence – a body of work that inspected 10 years of research, to identify key themes and recurring values that help define and depict a story of the Sunshine Coast Region. The research work culminated in the production of the Sunshine Coast Region : Our Essence video which can be found via Youtube and on our home page. Background to Sunshine Coast Region_OurEssence


The second body of research that further developed an understanding of maximising the potential ‘ripple effect’ from major regional projects.

In 2018 the ripple effect discussion raised to a multi project and industry level.  Working in collaboration with RDA Sunshine Coast Inc., Property Council of Australia and Sunshine Coast Airport

“The Ripple Effect”, research that investigated game changing projects and how to realise the promised economic ripple effect. This research considered the categorisation, measurement and delivery of proposed infrastructure..

The research was undertaken by Dr Steven Boyd and titled Enabling Projects of Regional Significance.

The research was presented at a SCBC conference on 23rd October 2018.

In addition to the research we held various economic briefings as well as the Retail Evolution Conference  undertook our 4th Think Tank series Agreeing what is required to deliver on the Shaping SEQ Regional Plan and future proof the region for sustainable growth.  Conducted three sessions between July - September 2018.  SCBC met with Mayor Jamieson and CEO Sunshine Coast Council, Michael Whitaker to discuss the outcomes. The outcomes also formed part of Session 2 of what has now become the annual Combined Goernemtn and Business Forum held in September and SCBC will continue raising questions in terms of the consolidation and other regional targets in 2019.


SCBC media and advocacy remained focused on:

  • Infrastructure, particularly Tourism.
  • Calling on all sections of the community to show integrity in their regional conversations around development.
  • Again calling for collaboration between Councils and government on issues such as medical placements and to show a united face to the investment community.
  • Federal and state budgets, providing the opportunity to support Mayor Jamieson in his discussions around regional investment priorities and strengthening the call for more infrastructure funding for the region.

The Business Council held:

  • Great Cities Conference – opening a conversation about what type of ‘regional city’ the Sunshine Coast wants to be. This work will be built upon during the year.
  • Third session of Think Tank Series 3: Sunshine Coast Growth Opportunities and Challenges emanating from the Shaping SEQ Regional Framework. The outcome of this series in August will provide the opportunity for SCBC to seek meetings with the Deputy Premier and Mayors Jamieson and Wellington to discuss agreed outcomes that will contribute to advocacy focus.
  • On 29 September 2017, the Business Council will host its second Combined Government and Business Forum and again bring together the 3 tiers of government with regional business leaders to discuss topics of regional importance.


SCBC held its first Combined Government & Business Forum (CG&BF)which aimed to get government and business on the same page on the topics covered and, together with the Think Tank work, provided the information to keep these issues on the advocacy agenda with Councils and government:

  • Integrated Transport Strategy – How it works best
  • Next Generation Planning
  • Revitalising the Coastline – how and why
  • Importance of Health and Education – key to a Smart Region
  • The value of measuring regional sustainability
  • Second session of Think Tank Series 3: Increasing the effectiveness of community engagement to deliver shared benefit to the community, business and government.

Following the CG&BF, the Business Council asked Sunshine Coast RDA to take the lead in coalescing business and government on priorities for a regional Integrated Transport Strategy, and continued to support RDA through the process and to advocate on transport priorities.

The Business Council also followed through with:

  • University of Sunshine Coast, inviting further collaboration to progress research on the revitalization of the regional coastline, on approaching SCC and Noosa Council on restating independently managed regional sustainability indicators and on further investigating employment predictions in the education sector.
  • Mayor Jamieson, highlighting the opportunity to showcase regional initiatives and research to other Queensland councils through his position as President LGA, - e.g. regional sustainability indicators, Next Generation Planning and approaches to revitalizing the coastline – undertaken in this region that would be applicable in other comparable regions and provide over time an important information base for benchmarking regional performance.


SCBC used the state budget to continue its focus on growth and investment, highlighting that inadequate investment constrains both social and economic activity and that the region continued to be left behind in terms of government and private sector investment. The Business Council is repeatedly talking in the media about the need for modern transport, health, education and tourism infrastructure to support a diversifying and growing economy and population.

Media and advocacy activities focused on transport and tourism infrastructure and the pending local government elections and were supported by several conferences and forums all contributing to regional conversation:

  • The Challenges for Regional Australia in a competitive investment market
  • Unconscious bias in the workplace and the importance of strong leadership
  • Five decades of women’s careers – what has changed?
  • Human Rights equals Prosperity – public lecture
  • First Session of Think Tank Series 3 on Protecting the diversity and richness of the Sunshine Coast region beyond its economic value: Balancing Growth, Development and Environment.

The Business Council commenced advocating for the return of independent research and monitoring of regional sustainability indicators, which it is still calling for today.


SCBC increased its media focus around the investment in infrastructure critical to achieve the growth targets set in REDS and in line with the Council of Mayors’ Priorities for South East Queensland June 2013. A second Investment Market Survey was undertaken with a wider sample including international investor and again set the focus on the business council’s advocacy agenda at theSCBC also took its advocacy work into the agribusiness industry and, partnering with SCC, reviewed available research to put a spotlight on the state of the agriculture industry on the Sunshine Coast and conducted a forum – The Future of Agribusiness on the Sunshine Coast – Where to invest. That work contributed to the SCC agribusiness taskforce.


SCBC built on previous research establishing the structure of the region’s economic base to look at the opportunities arising from the rapid development of Asia and what this may mean for the Sunshine Coast. The research was collaboration with Sunshine Coast Council and stimulated debate and forums on the topic and contributed ideas in the formulation of the REDS.SCBC undertook its first Investment Market Survey as part of its response to the draft SC Planning Scheme 2014, to understand the investment criteria and perceptions of the Sunshine Coast as an investment location and the type of investment opportunities the investment community were most interested in on the Coast. Again, this work underpinned the Business Council’s advocacy agenda and meetings with Councils and state government particularly on the need to understand how private sector investors made investment decisions and making the Sunshine Coast an easy region in which to do business.

SCBC also started calling for cooperation and collaboration between all tiers of government to agree region’s investment priorities following the release of the REDS and repeatedly highlighted the high unemployment rates.


SCBC released its first regional paper - Economics Direction 2012 – 31 - which stimulated a conversation highlighting the Sunshine Coast region’s under-performance in terms of per capita GRP, unemployment and participation rates, high % of part time and casual workers, low participation in further education, faster growing aged demographic than comparable regions and lack of growth in some working agedThe report introduced a jobs target of 100,000 new jobs and brought into focus the importance of transformation projects such as the Health Precinct, Airport, Maroochydore PAC and technology and key industries in driving job growth.

That research underpinned our advocacy agenda for the next few years and the jobs target was taken regularly raised with SCC and fed in to the Regional Economic Directions Strategy (REDS).

SCBC, together with industry members, called on the SCRC to establish a separate legal entity to manage the development of the proposed Maroochydore PAC, as a step toward managing the potential for conflict of interest. It also called on SCC to be bold in its vision for the PAC as well as transparent around its investment strategies. Around this time the Business Council started to call on Councils and government to ‘hunt as a pack’ - a theme that has been picked up and frequently used.


SCBC undertook independent research titled ‘What, So What, What Now’ which developed a profile of the Sunshine Coast economic base that would be required to support a 500,000 population. The Business Council’s narrative at the time highlighted the need for change to support a growing population and how that change could be driven and what would be achieved.Discussions included the need for a revised regional economic development plan, the need to ‘exploit’ potential of transformational projects to drive growth, transport and new funding models for the airport.


SCBC was the first industry group to talk about the proposed new public hospital in terms of the potential broader economic ‘ripple effect’ outside of the bricks and mortar of the public hospital. This discussion resulted in regular meetings with council and state government and multiple forums over successive years led by the Business Council, and the first action plan developed in collaboration with council and other key stakeholders. That action plan contributed to the SCC Health Task Force.SCBC continued to advocate on the ‘ripple effect’ discussions until we handed responsibility for this issue over to the Kawana Chamber of Commerce in early 2017. Our focus in 2017 will be on the positioning and success of the broader Health Precinct.

CGBF James Tuma