The Covid-19 local response, infrastructure priorities and a casino made up for a robust discussion at the Sunshine Coast Business Council (SCBC) Meet the Mayoral Candidate forum on Thursday 12 March at the Surfair Beach Hotel Marcoola.

Five mayoral candidates attended the forum, including Chris Thompson, Mark Jamieson and Donald Innes for Sunshine Coast and Tony Wellington for Noosa – Michael Burgess and Clare Stewart didn’t attend.

SCBC has hosted these types of forums for the past eight years which gives its members and stakeholders a unique opportunity to ask questions relating to the economy and supporting business and jobs.

The leading Sunshine Coast business advocacy group has developed five election priorities for local government which include cutting red tape and reducing costs for businesses, expedient planning approvals and the clarity on the mass transit light rail option.

Chair Sandy Zubrinich said members have a clear idea on what they would like the mayors of the Sunshine Coast and Noosa to focus on in the next term when it comes to keeping the economy healthy and moving forward.

“There is a lot of uncertainty in the economy at the moment, especially with the Covid-19 virus causing an expected downturn, so we really need to have mayors who are going to lead the charge and help businesses survive and thrive — in the region,” Ms Zubrinich said.

“While there will be immediate support from the Federal Government with a $17 billion stimulus package, our five priorities for local government will be crucial to ensuring we stay on track in the long term.

“Priorities like reducing council charges and processing times for local government approvals will help simplify processes and make it easier for people to do business.

“It’s important to stay united as a community to ensure we create a healthy, diverse and sustainable economy with jobs and investment to support a projected population growth of more than 500,000 by 2041.”

Sunshine Coast and Noosa elections will be held on 28 March 2020 with Michael Burgess, Chris Thompson, Mark Jamieson and Donald Innes running for the Sunshine Coast Mayor and Clare Stewart and Tony Wellington running for Noosa Mayor.

“As an advocacy group, we have outlined what we believe will help stimulate the economy and it’s important the local government can work with state and federal government to achieve this,” Ms Zubrinich said.

Sunshine Coast Business Council represents approximately 4,000 businesses through its membership which include key national and regional industry groups and their members as well as national and regional businesses.

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1.       Unlock economy activity through expedient planning and approval processes and prioritising local resourcing for major and large projects 1.       Unlock economic activity through large regional infrastructure projects and introducing targets for regional resourcing.
2.       Cut red tape and reduce costs to businesses – council charges and processing time taken for all local government approvals – by simplifying the planning and approval systems. 2.       2. Tax reform across industries to support uplift in economic activity, particularly in the property industry.
3.       Work with state and federal governments to agree on transport priorities, cost requirements, splits and funding commitments – for over the next decade. 3.       Release a costed integrated regional transport strategy for the Sunshine Coast region by the end of 2020.
4.       Provide clarity around the funding options and support from state and federal for light rail as the preferred council Mass Transit option. 4.       Commit state funding to deliver duplicated rail and North Coast connect projects and associated infrastructure.
5.       Improve regional economic performance by partnering with industry to lead businesses in the adoption of transformation digital technologies. 5.       Address the state’s poor economic performance and implement a clear plan to improve its economic rating to the Top 3 performer by the end of CY 2023.

Media contact:  Maya Gurry, Fresh PR & Marketing | P: 0410 109 102 | E: