Members of the Sunshine Coast Business Council (SCBC) met yesterday for their annual strategic workshop to confirm the group’s key focus areas for 2022 and to gain insight into what is required to achieve sustainable economic growth for the region going forward.
Guest speakers were Ted O’Brien, Federal Member for Fairfax and Rob Sobyra, Director, Research & Digital with Construction Skills Queensland and a postgraduate researcher at UQ.
Ted spoke about the geopolitical and macro-economic environment facing Australia and the Sunshine Coast and updated the audience on the federal’s government’s aspiration for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Rob Sobyra shared his views on current economic trends impacting the Sunshine Coast and what can be expected in regards to employment, migration and investment in the coming years.
“The Sunshine Coast was a very strong performer coming into the pandemic, with the highest intake of interstate migrants in the country and a rate of jobs growth that outpaced Brisbane,” Mr Sobyra said.
“The key challenge for the region is to regain this enviable position as borders reopen and governments hand economies back to households and businesses.”
Mr Sobyra believes the region is well placed for future growth given its strong fundamentals and key role in delivering the 2032 Olympics.
“Frankly, it’s the Coast’s race to lose,” Mr Sobyra said.
SCBC Chair Sandy Zubrinich said she was delighted to welcome Mr Sobyra to the Coast and thanked him for providing members with a valuable insight into the economic trends — both leading up the pandemic, as well as what was expected in the coming recovery period.
“Rob shared that our region is well-poised to capitalise on the increase in professional migration as well as significant investment in the lead-up to the Olympics which is expected to further bolster jobs and improve infrastructure,” Ms Zubrinich said.
“The disparity between regions is significant — something which we call on the state government to address, particularly as we head towards hosting the 2032 Olympics.
“Our regional pipeline of identified major projects is around $22 billion with $16 billion of that allocated for active and proceeding projects, which is split between 30 percent public and 70 percent private sector investment. A further $4 billion in public road and rail projects, although identified, remain in doubt, awaiting decisions regarding State Government funding.
“While migration and employment figures look strong, our youth unemployment rate of 14.1 per cent is still 50 per cent higher than the national rate, and 25 per cent higher than the state average. This is an area that needs urgent attention.
“Today’s member workshop confirmed our priorities as a group remain to grow and diversify our economy, maximise investment in regional infrastructure, drive digital transformation across industries, contribute to the next generation planning scheme and to play an advocacy role on behalf of our members.
“We continue to work closely with all levels of government to drive these priorities for the approximately 4,000 businesses we represent through our membership, which includes key national and regional industry groups and their members as well as national and regional businesses.”
For more information on the Sunshine Coast Business Council and membership enquiries, visit www.scbusinesscouncil.com.au.
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