Welcome to our December 2014 Newsletter for valued Members of the Sunshine Coast Business Council.
In this edition:
SCBC Appoints New Board
The Sunshine Coast Business Council (SCBC) has welcomed four new board members to its ranks following the organisation’s Annual General Meeting at TAFE Queensland East Coast in Mountain Creek last week.
Re-elected SCBC Chair Sandy Zubrinich said she was delighted to welcome Dustin Welch from Savills Sunshine Coast who will represent the Property Council of Australia, Tim Boag from MODE Design Corp representing the Urban Development Institute of Australia, Mark Skinner from Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat and Ben Simpson, Regional Manager of Stockland Sunshine Coast to the board.
“Collectively, our new board members bring a wealth of expertise in property, economics, urban development and tourism to the table, which I’m sure will be of substantial value in guiding SCBC’s actions over the coming year,” Ms Zubrinich said.
“In 2015, we aim to work closely with the various levels of government to address key infrastructure needs within the region, attract investment to the area and foster growth and employment opportunities.”
“In particular, we’ll be championing the roll-out of various projects such as the Bruce Highway upgrade and Sunshine Coast Airport expansion, as well as the development of the Kawana health precinct and Maroochydore Principal Activity Centre.”
Ms Zubrinich said the SCBC, which has been the voice for business on the Coast since 2004, would also continue to identify strategies to tackle important issues facing the Sunshine Coast region such as the high youth unemployment rate.
“We’ve already come a long way in this area following the successful Youth Prosperity Forum held in November 2013, where SCBC brought together a range of government officials, local employers, community leaders and Sunshine Coast youths to address the problem.”
Ms Zubrinich said the SCBC could not have achieved so many positive outcomes in the past year without the efforts of the board’s outgoing members, Michael Hopkins, David Oliver, Peter Bolton-Hall and former board member Tim Hughes who retired earlier in the year.
“These board members have all made a significant contribution to driving a range of SCBC initiatives in recent months and we are very appreciative of all their hard work and support.”
Ms Zubrinich said the SCBC intended to propose a change to its constitution at the upcoming general meeting in March, allowing the board to appoint David Oliver as the organisation’s first lifetime member.
“David was a founding board member of SCBC when it was first established in 2004 and has contributed to the organisation in many ways, including as the treasurer and as a member of the economic portfolio.”
“David has been an extremely energetic, enthusiastic and respected board member and we are delighted that he will continue to be associated with the SCBC as a general member after stepping down from the board.”
New research sees Sunshine Coast on investment radar
Research commissioned by the Sunshine Coast Business Council (SCBC) reveals that investment interest in the region has increased substantially since the last survey was conducted in 2013 with 78 per cent of participants indicating that they would invest in the Sunshine Coast in the future compared to only around 50 per cent of participants showing interest in the last survey.
SCBC Chair Sandy Zubrinich said the research, which included interviews with over 30 significant local, national and international investors, was a positive indication of the opportunities that lay ahead for the Sunshine Coast and the marked improvement, while largely attributed to the substantial investment in the Kawana health precinct, was a good outcome.
“We can certainly celebrate some of the findings in the research including investors’ greater willingness to invest in the region and being placed as the top-ranking region in regard to successful investment locations over the past ten years,” Ms Zubrinich said.
“This was a new component within the survey and explored how we rated in comparison to 28 Australian and international locations in regard to where investors had experienced the most success historically. The Sunshine Coast edged Townsville as the highest successful investment location followed by the Gold Coast, Cairns/Far North Queensland and New Zealand.”
“The research also made it very clear that the Kawana Health Precinct went a long way towards putting the Sunshine Coast on the map in regard to investment and the State Government, Mayor Jamieson and the council should be commended for playing a strong role in facilitating and supporting this particular development.”
While there was much to celebrate in the research, Ms Zubrinich said it was important to note the shortcomings identified in the survey to ensure the region continued to improve in regard to investment interest.
“Respondents certainly made it clear that they wanted to see the Sunshine Coast Council become a stronger advocate for growth to ensure ongoing employment for local residents and sustaining vibrant communities,” Ms Zubrinich said.
“The survey called on the council to better manage the vocal community groups who advocate against development which supports the Business Council’s view that if we are to prepare for population growth and we want to combat our escalating youth unemployment, we need to stimulate our local economy.” However, this is not just a Council responsibility and SCBC will work to engage with these groups to ensure the Coast’s environmental assets are protected and balanced with the need for growth. We would like to encourage greater cooperation between all parties in 2015 to ensure the high standards are met for development and for environmental management.
“While some locals feel like they want to close the door on all development, this is not sustainable or realistic if we want to provide employment for the next generation. We are already struggling with a 15 per cent youth unemployment rate and if we continue to say no to major investors we can expect to continue to be one of the worst performing regions in this regard.”
Other areas identified in the survey for improvement include the planning and development approval processes which were again identified as negative factors in relation to supporting and facilitating future investment on the Coast.
“There was a clear message that the Planning Scheme needs to be aligned with the Regional Economic Development Strategy and that while the Mayor and some councillors are successfully promoting the ‘open for business’ mentality this has not necessarily translated fully throughout the organisation,” Ms Zubrinich said.
“While it must be said that some of these opinions may have been formed over an extended period of time and there may be some legacy issues, it is important that council sends a strong message to the investment community to adjust this sentiment and demonstrate change in this area.”
The Sunshine Coast Investment Survey 2014, which was conducted by Urbis, was based on face-to-face and phone interviews with over 30 chief executives, managing directors, regional directors and business owners with investment experience or potential investment interest in the Sunshine Coast region and questions were developed to target the key investment sectors for the Sunshine Coast region, namely property, tourism, infrastructure, agribusiness and manufacturing.
“For the 2014 survey, we trebled the number of investor participants and covered regional, national and industry investors as well as doubling the number of question areas to provide greater insights,” Ms Zubrinich said.
“The intention of the research is to get a better understanding of the criteria investors use to make regional investment decisions so we can better respond to these criteria and provide a welcoming environment for investors into the future.”
On behalf of the Sunshine Coast Business Council board, we wish everyone a merry Christmas and a prosperous 2015.
The Sunshine Coast Business Council would like to welcome new members who joined this financial year: Peregian Springs Shopping Centre, Noosa Civic Shopping Centre, Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat and Sekisui House.
We would also like to thank our renewing members for their continued support and contribution.
Opportunity to join the Membership of the Sunshine Coast Business Council is open. To recommend Membership to your own network of leading local businesses, please invite them to visit our website at www.scbusinesscouncil.com.au where application forms are available.