Sunshine Coast Region: Our Essence

October 2014 SCBC Monthly Members Email

Welcome to our October 2014 Newsletter for valued Members of the Sunshine Coast Business Council.

In this edition:

Mature Debate Needed on Investment Opportunities

The Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Strategy celebrated its first birthday last month.  Colloquially referred to as REDS, the strategy sets a bold target of diversifying our economy, delivering 100,000 new jobs over 20 years, and delivering game changer projects in the region.

With the strategy prepared during a period of instability (with amalgamation and then de-amalgamation of local governments, and with effects of the global financial crisis still lingering), it was a significant achievement by the Sunshine Coast Council and business leaders to finalise the strategy and agree on the economic targets.

While we can all ‘pat ourselves on the back’ about finalising the strategy, the SCBC has always maintained that our success as a region can only be celebrated if the REDS targets are achieved.

Remarkably, since the adoption of REDS, the Sunshine Coast has been presented with some significant investment opportunities.  These opportunities include major projects with local, national and international proponents, and some projects led by Council and Government.  If delivered, these opportunities will go a long way to ensuring the REDS targets are achieved.

Why then, whenever the region is presented with an investment opportunity, are we are so quick to criticise? “Not in my backyard”. “You will turn us into the Gold Coast”. “We don’t want high-rise”. “Urban sprawl”.

The Sunshine Coast community’s ability to kill a project before the paperwork is submitted is legendary.  Amplified by our local media, the noisy negative voices against economic development have been heard in the boardrooms of major companies.  Councillors need to stand up and be counted in the interests of a strategy they signed off on.  And this at a time when the Prime Minister of Australia wants this country to be a ‘hub of world activity in infrastructure’, ‘an infrastructure leader taking a unique position in Asia’.   Surely Sunshine Coast wants to benefit from this positioning and to be part of the innovation of the future.  Or do we?  Some research suggests not.

Last year’s (February 2013) Sunshine Coast investment market survey, conducted by the Sunshine Coast Business Council, confirmed that:

  • The most important criterion that investors consider when making investment decisions is the strength of the local economy.  This was not viewed as a strength then, for the Sunshine Coast region.
  • Investment sectors then currently in favour with major investors that were most relevant to the Sunshine Coast included the Hotel, Retail and Residential sectors.  Other relevant sectors were Health, Industrial and Infrastructure with the Sunshine Coast Airport noted as being of significant interest.
  • Local Governments are very important in private investors’ regional investment decision making, particularly in terms of:
    • Planning approval support
    • Creating the investment environment
    • Supporting associated development and facilities
    • Market influence through planning regime, approval process and its own asset strategies.
  • The Sunshine Coast Council was identified in a third tier of councils in terms of its investment attraction success.  Council’s strongest aspect in relation to its investment attraction was considered to be the availability and openness of its Councillors.

If the Sunshine Coast is going to achieve the agreed targets in the REDS, a mature debate between proponents, stakeholder groups and authorities is needed.  We must resist being too quick to judge without a full consideration of all information, including appropriate community consultation.  This includes an understanding as to impacts on REDS when we stall or shelve opportunities, and our reputation when we continue to thwart private investors looking to invest in our region.

The Sunshine Coast Business Council supports the Sunshine Coast Council and State Government’s continued focus on the economic growth of the region.  It is critical for our future that when investment opportunities are presented, all stakeholders carefully consider the opportunity, its costs and benefits.

The SCBC will release the findings of the second Sunshine Coast Investment Market Survey in early 2015.

Sandy Zubrinich, SCBC Chairperson

 

Sunshine Coast Airport EIS Released

sc-airportThe expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport has moved a step closer to reality with the release last month of the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for public comment.

The Sunshine Coast Business Council (SCBC) has long supported the expansion of the airport as it is a critical piece of infrastructure necessary to support the region’s economic growth.

SCBC Chair Sandy Zubrinich welcomed the release of the EIS for public comment and called upon the business community to support Council by making a submission supporting the project during the public exhibition period.   It is absolutely essential to support this EIS and speak out for our future.

Remember, doing nothing may result in:

  1. The current level of operational exemptions being revoked at some future point, severely reducing the capacity of the airport from current levels.
  2. Making it much more difficult to achieving economic goals set out in the regional economic development strategy.

“The airport expansion project is expected to contribute $4.1 billion to Gross Regional Project between 2020 and 2040 and generate around 2,230 new full time jobs in the same period”, said Ms Zubrinich.

The Project encompasses a new longer, wider runway operating in a north-west/south-east direction, terminal upgrades and new airfield infrastructure.

Following a public comment period between Monday 29 September and Thursday 13 November, the EIS will be assessed by the Queensland and Australian Governments.

 

Business Partner Profile – Did You Know?

LendLeaseLend Lease is a leading international property, construction and infrastructure group. Listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and with circa 13,700 employees worldwide, Lend Lease’s capabilities span the property and infrastructure spectrum.

In Queensland, its Retirement Living business represents almost 1/3 of the company’s exposure to the retirement sector.  Lend Lease operates 70 retirement communities across Australia and New Zealand including 15 communities from Helensvale on the Gold Coast to Townsville, managing more than 4000 units and accommodating 5,500 residents. Around 2,500 of these units (7 villages) are located on the Sunshine Coast employing more than 130 people and injecting millions of dollars into the local economy.

In FY15 Lend Lease will expend several millions of dollars on capex projects in this region and a $12m through its annual village operational budgets.  A further $10m will be invested in refurbishment works to 200 homes which will additionally benefit our local economy.

Lend Lease villages are around 95% occupied and with the current market conditions improving, sales rates have been picking up for most of 2014. This FY we will sell or re-lease 300 units at a value of $80m.  The average age of residents is in the mid to late 70’s but range from late 50’s to 100+. The most common phrase used by residents in the months after making the move is “we should have done this years ago”.

Retirement living is a growth sector and Lend Lease are keen to continue investing in the industry and this region.

Lend Lease have been a member of SCBC for several years.

 

AGM & Christmas Drinks

ChristmasSCBC AGM is scheduled for Thursday 27 November 5.15 – 6.15pm at the TAFE East Coast Mooloolaba campus followed by Christmas drinks at Cartwright Restaurant (also on campus) at 6.15pm.  Please reserve this date to join us and celebrate the end of a successful year.

 

Membership

The Sunshine Coast Business Council would like to welcome new members Noosa Civic Shopping Centre (QIC), Peregian Shopping Centre and Sekisui House Australia.

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 still 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.

Sandy Zubrinich
SCBC Chairperson