Updates, News, Events, Register for this year’s Vinnie’s Sleepout and more…
2017 so far…
As we approach the end of the first quarter of 2017, a lot has happened:
- New President in the US.
- New Premier in WA taking the Labor held states/territories to six of the eight in Australia.
- The Prime Minister still under pressure on several fronts – particularly penalty rates and energy policy – with little electoral support to tackle the big issues and unaided by the Trump rhetoric creeping into our political thinking and discourse.
- Queensland moving from sixth to fifth position in terms of state performance (CommSec State of the States Report Jan 2017).
- Redistribution of the State’s electoral boundaries with 4 new boundaries recommended by the Queensland Redistribution Commission, which has potential for significant change for the Sunshine Coast region.
- Bernard Salt recently issues a report commissioned by SunCentral (a company fully owned by Sunshine Coast Council) – confirming that Sunshine Coast is well positioned for the future and outlining what that future may look like.
- Excitement around the imminent opening of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
- Economic boost from an extremely healthy regional tourism market.
SCBC – annual strategy and member discussion
SCBC held its annual half-day Member Discussion on Thursday 9 March.
The discussion commenced with presentations from local representatives of the 3 tiers of government, who set the scene at the national, state and regional economic environments. We then heard from a dozen of our members who talked about what is happening in their various industries and businesses and their plans for 2017. Some of the key points made on the day were:
- Growth in GRP slowed between 2014/16 to 2.2% from 3.3% between 2011/14
- Sunshine Coast unemployment rate currently sitting 6th against other regions in QLD
- Participation rate at 16th (4th worst) in QLD
- Loss of approximately 4,700 employed persons from Nov 2015 to Nov 2016
- Lost jobs in somewhat surprising industries i.e. Health Care, Tourism and Construction (Department of Employment Labour Market Information Portal)
- Very solid performance by the tourism sector as evidenced in both domestic and international numbers
- Education sector also doing well
- Solid performance by construction sector in dwelling approvals
- Property industry has raised the standard of community engagement but getting little recognition in return
- Still have a minority suggesting they speak for the majority which is not supported by the evidence
- Interest groups not being held to the same level of accountability in the integrity of information distributed
- Slowness in the SCC DA process is impeding economic performance.
There was strong interest by the media in this event, a reflection of the importance of our member companies’ contribution to the performance of the regional economy.
SCBC will finalise its advocacy agenda by the end of March and a copy will be available on the website shortly after. Copies of the agenda and presentations by those who used slides are available on the SCBC website – see direct link below:
SCBC extends its thanks to Ted O’Brien – LNP Federal Member for Fairfax, Fiona Simpson – LNP State Member for Maroochydore, Mayor Tony Wellington, Mr Greg Laverty – Economic Development SCC and Mr Darrell Edwards – CEO RDA Sunshine Coast, for their time and contribution in setting the political and regional context, and to our Members for their contribution and continued strong support for this annual discussion.
A state election sometime in the next 12 months
SCBC will be monitoring the lead up to the state election and the promises the major parties make to the business sector, particularly for Sunshine Coast businesses.
To kick this off we look at what could be considered one of the failures of the Palaszczuk Labor Government, i.e. its initiative to drive private infrastructure projects through its Market Led Proposals (MLP) policy (previously called unsolicited proposals). The MLP policy is basically a framework for the private sector to approach government with their innovative ideas on delivering a new infrastructure project or a way of delivering government services. Since it was launched a year and a half ago (including on the Sunshine Coast at a breakfast which the SCBC attended) more than 100 proposals have been presented to the government but we understand only one has progressed to final approval. This cannot be call a success, based on this conversion rate.
Last month the LNP announced a policy to completely overhaul MLPs presumably to get more projects approved and off the ground. Their plan includes putting a timeframe on assessment approvals, identifying the types of projects the LNP are looking to partner with the private sector in, and relaxing the assessment criteria with a focus on the ability to deliver a project and provide value for money.
Businesses on the Sunshine Coast have great ideas on what projects need to be delivered to build the region. We are led to believe the LNP Sunshine Coast team wants to work with the business sector to harness the good ideas to build a better Queensland and establish a culture in government that looks to approve and deliver projects instead of stalling them.
The LNP has already announced the policies below and we are told more are to come:
- Employment bonus – a bonus to encourage businesses which train and retain a young Queenslander for at least 12 months.
- A boost to Queensland Apprenticeships – $5,000 incentive for Queensland businesses who take on a new apprentice from beginning to end.
- Tools for Tradies – $500 vouchers when tradies complete their apprenticeships to get the tools they need to work.
- Job Start incentive – $4,000 grants over a year to assist small businesses with startup costs to hire young Queenslanders.
These are all good initiatives and we look forward to more. For more information visit the link provided.
SCBC makes submission to the draft SEQ Regional Plan
SCBC combined its previous two submissions regarding the ShapingSEQ Draft South East Queensland Regional Plan (SEQRP) in one strong submission in support of a strong economic future for the Sunshine Coast from two traditionally high value industries: tourism and construction with a focus on investment and growth. Points covered in the SCBC response addressed:
- tourism not being adequately reflected throughout the draft SEQRP;
- the need to better reflect tourism in higher order provisions and policy statements;
- employment targets;
- infrastructure funding;
- land supply;
- housing affordability;
- long term growth areas; and
- inter-urban break.
These are all areas the SCBC has commented on previously.
SCBC’s position on recent changes to penalty rates
SCBC supports The Fair Work Commission’s recent decision on cutting penalty rates on public holidays and Sundays in the hospitality, retail and fast-food industries for the following reasons:
- This is the decision of an independent commission with both major party leaders committing to respect;
- It is not about abolishing penalty rates rather bringing some Sunday penalty rates in line with Saturday rates;
- In negotiating enterprise agreements unions have in the past negotiated away penalty rates;
- Sunshine Coast experienced a loss of over 4,000 jobs in the last 12 months so job creation is extremely important
- Sunshine Coast also has a below state average participation rate which may be contributing to our more recent lower employment rate;
- About 98% of our regional businesses are small businesses, which is slightly higher than the national average which sits closer to 96%;
- Our wages are generally lower than that of Brisbane’s wages and so wage growth is important;
- We are a region in the process of diversifying our economy but at present still very much dependent on tourism and retail;
- We need more small businesses to open on public holidays and on Sundays and to open longer. We are, after all, a tourism destination and our tourists expect businesses to be open on the days they are most likely to visiting our region.
- This is not to say that we don’t all feel empathy for the estimated 200 – 300,000 people, largely women and students – who are impacted by this decision. However, it is a decision we believe it is in the best interest of the overall economy. What the region needs is stronger economic growth leading to more jobs and to stronger wage growth. This benefits everyone, directly and indirectly.
Integrity by all parties is essential
In 2016 SCBC invested considerable time, money and resources into hosting a series of think tanks for – special interest and community groups, academics, media, development industry and council representatives – with the aim of improving the quality of community engagement in the region. Attending parties expressed their commitment to improving the process so it is disappointing to see that despite these efforts, some are still thwarting the effectiveness of the community engagement process.
Community and interest groups play a very important role in our democracy in representing the views of sub-sections of the public, and are vital to positive community engagement outcomes. These groups bring a range of important issues to the table and in doing so it is crucial that their information is factual. As with all stakeholders – including those in government and the development industry – the role of special interest groups comes with great responsibility.
Everyone involved in the community engagement process must be held accountable for the integrity of the information they distribute and share. Misinformation not only creates confusion in the community and delays progress, but it reflects badly on the region’s image and reputation in terms of its ability to attract and retain investment, with an obvious impact on job growth.
As a regional community, we expect honesty and transparency from our political and business leaders and we should expect it from community and interest groups as well. SCBC will continue to encourage and promote effective community engagement and seek a commitment from all stakeholders to do the right thing. Only then can we be confident in achieving the best outcomes for our region.
Next think tank session
The third think tank series is scheduled to commence on Monday 29 May 2017. There are four sessions planned for this series, with the last to be held on Monday 28 August. Again, we will be calling on up to 20 industry, business and community leaders to participate in considering the hot topic of the Sunshine Coast Growth Challenges.
The agenda and participation list for the first two sessions will be finalized over the next few weeks.
Generation Innovation Challenge 2017
The 2017 GI Challenge is kicking off again in April. This is a youth entrepreneurship program, initiated in 2015 by Ted O’Brien, LNP Federal Member for Fairfax. In a region aspiring to become one of the entrepreneurial capital of Australia, this program plays an important role in linking and exposing young people to entrepreneurs and ideas and in challenges and encourage them to ‘have a go’.
SCBC is again proud to sponsor the GI Challenge and can’t wait to see the innovation and passion from young people on the Sunshine Coast. However, in the meantime we can all make a small contribution to the program through supporting your favorite ‘young innovators’ through the crowd funding program established as a funding vehicle for the participants to help fund their initiatives through the process. Simply go to the link and follow the prompts.
Vinnies Community Sleepout
On Thursday 29 June, 2017, St Vincent de Paul are holding its annual Sunshine Coast Corporate and Community Sleepout. This event mirrors what is known in the larger cities across Australia as the SVDP CEO Sleepout.
This is the third year SCBC have supported the St Vinnies sleepout and each year, through our members and friends, we have doubled the number of business people participating year on year and managed to contribute over 1/3 of funds raised on the night. This year we are aiming to have 24 business folk sleepout.
This is an important social issue and demands little on participant’s time other than on the night. We would greatly appreciate if you are able to join the SCBC and ‘sleep rough’ at this year’s Sleepout. Tony Vickers is the SCBC Director leading this initiative for the business council this year. Should you be available to participate, Tony can be contacted on 0413 837 321 and he will keep you abreast of the details as we get closer to the event.
Even if you are not in a position to join us on the night you can still register as a fund raiser. Please go to the link below and follow the prompts to register and start raising funds for this worthy event. Please indicate you are part of the SCBC group so we can demonstrate the strong support of the business community.
CCIQ Noosa Breakfast
“Noosa Council – one year on” – Join us for breakfast with Mayor Tony Wellington and the Noosa Councillors to recap on the first year in office and learn more about our council’s role in ensuring a sustainable economic future for Noosa.
We will be asking for questions to be submitted from attendees so come along and get the answers to your questions.
Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 07:00 for 07:30 – 09:30
Peppers Noosa Resort & Villas, Viewland Drive, Noosa Heads
$30 general admission
The final details will be available through our website: https://noosa.cciq.com.au/