SCBC continues the debate on investment on the Sunshine Coast

In our October 2014 Member Newsletter, SCBC presented a case for mature debate on the Sunshine Coast in relation to the:

  • community’s confused attitude toward investment (and we are told . . . confused attitude about what the Sunshine Coast stands for – values, culture, aspirations etc);
  • noisy negative voices against economic development and being too quick to judge specific investment opportunities without full consideration of all information . . .  and this includes an understanding as to the impacts on the Corporate Plan (CP) and the Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS) when opportunities are stalled or shelved;
  • the need for strong, unified and consistent leadership by Councillors to explain each investment opportunity to the community in a mature, balanced and intelligent way linking back to the objectives of the CP and REDS, and not fall victim to the next election cycle (basically to stand up and be counted in the interests of strategies they signed off on);
  • our regional reputation when we continue to thwart private investors looking to invest in our region and particularly, those who are already here.

In that newsletter, SCBC stated that if the Sunshine Coast is to achieve the agreed targets in the REDS, a mature debate between proponents, stakeholder groups and authorities is needed.

SCBC have recently held two major initiatives to continue the investment debate.


  1. INVESTMENT CONFERENCE – The Challenge for Regional Australia In A Tight Investment Market

This conference attracted a wide audience of 150 people from the Coast and surrounding areas, including Brisbane.  The focus of the conference was on regional Australia and not just on the Sunshine Coast with four international and national speakers headlining the conference with the experience to talk to the conference topic:

  • Mr Ivan Calhoun, Chief Economist Markets from NAB who spoke about Economic Influences Impacting Regional Australia
  • Mr Stephen Forth, Managing Director SapientNitro who talked about the power of branding and getting the messages and story right
  • Ms Nicole Dawson from AMP who talked primarily on airport infrastructure; and
  • Mr Mark Steinert, CEO and Managing Director of Stockland who talked on the need for investors to achieve a win win for the region and for stakeholders.

The Mayor closed the conference by talking about his impressions of the global investment market and interest in the Sunshine Coast from his recent international investment tour.  He also talked to the recently released Sunshine Coast Investment Prospectus.

Feedback from this conference was unusual in that no one had any suggestions on how to improve it.  The feedback was largely about:

  • Enjoying the balance that the speakers bought to the subject
  • The quality and experience of the speakers and the stories shared which were on topic
  • Hearing about the SC airport as an investment from a prospective investor
  • The observation made by Stephen Forth regarding the story of the Sunshine Coast which he doesn’t believe we have got sharp enough yet . . .

“There are some great tourist stories up here, there’s some great investment … I see good opportunities, it’s about bringing it all together under the one marketing campaign, that would be my suggestion,” he said.


SCBC Board have passed on the observations informally to the Mayor and will continue to find ways to raise the need for an outstanding regional story, one that is not just tourism focused (although we obviously need tourism promotions) nor just investment or projects focused (we have an Investment Prospectus that can cover this off), but a story about what makes the Sunshine Coast unique as a community, a people, a lifestyle, bringing out through the supporting societal, cultural, creative, commercial, environmental and economic structures and opportunities we have that contribute to this healthy and exhilarating region.


  1. THINK TANK – Protecting the diversity and richness of the Sunshine Coast Region beyond its economic value.

The overarching objective of this initiative was to get together in one room which apparently hasn’t happened before – Interest Groups such as SCEC, OSCAR and Development Watch, Industry Groups such as Property Council, UDIA, Master Builders, SCDL, members of Noosa Council and Sunshine Coast Council and academics from USC – to discuss the future (not the now) in terms balancing growth, development and the environment . . . specifically consider how to improve all three.

So far we have held three, four hour sessions and have drawn on existing research and initiatives to consider our topic, specifically:

  • Sustainability and sustainable development – what it means at the UN level and implications for the Coast
  • Sustainability Indicator research undertaken in 2012 and relevance as a future measure of the health of the Coast
  • Village of Villages research undertaken in 2011 and its practical application on the Coast to improve growth, development and the environment
  • Development Rating Tools around for 15 – 20 years that are targeted at improving the sustainability of buildings and more recently community developments

The intent is to run three sessions on a topic with the last session focused on pulling together practical recommendations and we are in the process of finalizing recommendations from the first 3 think tank sessions.


SCBC set out to get diverse and often opposing groups together to talk about issues that create static in the community and sometimes is considered to derail growth or negatively impact environmental assets.  It is working.  The conversation has been balanced, respectful and challenging but we are not to the pointy end of trying to pull together doable recommendations.

We will be in a position to report on that in the next newsletter.

Please let us know if you are interested in participating in the future think tank sessions.


SCBC continues to contribute to the broader community

This is the second year SCBC members and friends have participated in the St Vincent de Paul’s Community Sleepout.   On the 26 June, twelve SCBC members and friends slept on the Maroochydore beach in balmy 10 degree temperatures and together raise $17,000 for St Vinnies fight against homelessness.  This was the highest contribution from any group and support the potential and power the business community has when it comes to fundraising.

We thank the following for joining the fun and sleeping rough for a very good cause:

  • Bruce Bennett, Brad Davies and Tony Vickers, Midson Constructions
  • Bill Darby (late withdrawal but contributed to fundraising and sponsorship for the event)
  • Mark Paddenburg, USC Innovation Centre
  • Peter Pallot, Sunshine Coast Airport
  • Joe Riba, Maroochy Chamber of Commerce
  • Ben Simpson and Bronwyn Zorgdrager, Stockland
  • Phil Smith, Deicke Richards
  • Pete Sparkes, Adams & Sparks (who was the highest fund raiser for the event)
  • Sandy Zubrinich, Chair SCBC

We are hoping this event may one day become the St Vinnies’ Community and CEO Sleepout.   SCBC board member Tony Vickers is joining the St Vinnies’ Community Sleepout management committee to drive business participation in the event in future and we will do a better job in advertising the event to our members next year.

Please let us know if you may a starter for next year and we will follow up closer to the event.

You can review the photos of the event via the following link


Our Region as a Tech Leader

THE Sunshine Coast has been rated among Australia’s top three regions for small and medium enterprise emerging technology companies.

The Australian Technologies Competition recently named the region as a finalist in the Innovative Regions Award, alongside Greater Adelaide (SA) and the Hunter Region (NSW).  The three finalists were judged to be providing the most supportive environment.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Smart City Framework, Innovation Centre and Business Gateway initiatives were among the schemes helping emerging technology companies thrive here.

“To be top three in Australia for this award is wonderful recognition that our region is building on its enviable lifestyle to also create an environment where the industries of the future can thrive,” he said.  “It also highlights that we’re on the right path with the Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Strategy that has identified seven high-value industries – including education and research, knowledge industries and clean technologies – as keys to future employment and economic strength.

Link to full article:


More Good News on the Tourism Front

The Sunshine Coast has again recorded strong growth in both international and national tourism numbers positioning the Sunshine Coast as one of Queensland’s fastest growing tourism regions.

Figures from the International Visitor Survey (IVS) announced in June 2015 showed the Sunshine Coast recorded the highest inbound growth in Queensland in 2014 with the region attracting an increase of 15.7% in international visitors.  Expenditure by international tourists visiting the Sunshine Coast grew 17% to a record of $219.5m.

The National Visitor Survey (NVS) figures, released on 1 July 2015 saw a 9.2% increase in overnight visitor numbers for the year ending March 2015 (compared to 2014).   Expenditure increased by 12.2% delivering $1.9 billion in revenue to the regional economy.

This is a big pat on the back to the SCDL team and partners at a time when their funding has been significantly cut following the deamalgamation of Noosa.  Their work has benefited operators across the region encompassing Caloundra, Mooloolaba, Noosa, Gympie, Rainbow Beach, Sunshine Coast Hinterland and the Mary Valley.  More regional funding is required to continue to grow tourism which is so vitally important to the growth of this region.
Membership renewals

Membership renewals are currently being issued for the 2016 Financial Year.  It has been a big year for the Sunshine Coast Business Council and your support is paramount for us to continue advocating for the economic betterment of our region and most importantly, for our members.

Our commitment is to provide a transparent, inclusive and formal environment to enable your organisation to play an effective role in the decision making and advocacy processes that drive the development and profitable growth of sustainable business on the Sunshine Coast.

We always look forward to your contribution and input and hope that you will recommend other organisations to join with us a contribute to the work of the SCBC.

For additional details on ways to get involved within the Business Council or to discuss increased sponsorship, please click through on the following link:


Welcome new Master Builders RM

With Mr Hopkins taking up a new post as deputy executive director of Master Builders ACT, Local builder and developer Mr Will Wilson of Macmays Services, has replace Michael as the Regional Manager for Master Builders Association Sunshine Coast.

We look forward to working with Will and continuing our strong relationship with the Master Builders.