Industry leaders, government and academics congregated at Monday’s Sunshine Coast Business Council workshop at Marcoola to identify areas for growth and innovation through transformative digital technologies.

Sunshine Coast Business Council Chair Sandy Zubrinich said the new submarine cable when completed, together with 5G and NBN, provided the modern infrastructure for industry innovation and growth through digital technologies.

The Business Council believes the region’s communications infrastructure is now as important for regional growth as transport infrastructure and should receive a similar level of planning.

Speaker Search 365 CEO Gavin Keeley was an early player in bringing the idea of a Submarine Broadband Cable to the Sunshine Coast after moving to the region in 2006.

“I realised there was a high reliance on tourism, construction and retail but not a lot else was going on, however there were a lot of building blocks in place with the University of the Sunshine Coast and the growing health precinct,” said Mr Keeley.

“It’s important to identify that just having the cable landing station doesn’t actually mean you are going to get the economic benefit.

“I often explain to people that while the London cable actually lands in Cornwell, the region doesn’t necessarily get any direct economic benefit because they never planned for it.

“By getting this planning in early, we can now wire up the Coast and plug into this very important asset.”

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Sunshine Coast Broadband Cable is running on schedule and Council is gaining very strong interest from Singapore.

“Getting people to think about regional areas is not without its challenges but we’re working really hard to do that,” said Mayor Jamieson.

“One thing businesses won’t be able to ignore is that we will be the closest point of contact to Asia.”

Property expert, Lawson Katiza from Savills Australia said it is important the real estate industry and developers are being more proactive about the future.

“It’s all about ensuring you have the connected hubs, you have the right people providing facilities, the right hardware within the buildings, and that the buildings are adaptable to the new environments and new ways of working,” said Mr Katiza.

The workshop follows the success of the Sunshine Coast Submarine Cable Conference which was held in June.

The health and education industries were the focus of the workshop as well as identifying the next wave of industries that will benefit from fast data and digitalisation.

The Sunshine Coast Submarine Broadband Cable is expected to be operational in 2020, giving the region the fastest telecommunications connection to Asia on Australia’s East Coast.

The Sunshine Coast’s entry point will be one of only three in Australia and the only one that lands in a regional area, generating an estimated $927 million dollars in new investment to Queensland.

A draft action plan will now be developed and delivered to Sunshine Coast Council, Noosa Shire Council, universities and industry groups by the end of October.