More than 75 invited guests attended the Sunshine Coast Business Council’s Combined Government & Business Forum to encourage collaboration across all levels of government and the business community on a shared regional vision and the economic and social infrastructure required to deliver the vision.
The annual forum, hosted at the UniSC Innovation Centre on Tuesday, saw a number of presentations from guest speakers, as well as a robust panel discussion with representatives from all levels of government to explore how they could better collaborate to effectively prioritise and deliver infrastructure for the region.
Urbis Managing Partner James Tuma shared insights from cities across the globe including Paris, Eindhoven, Barcelona, Singapore, Vienna and Oklahoma City reminding guests that cities are everyone’s responsibility and that a united, collaborative approach is the only way to achieve successful outcomes.
“We need to have a common purpose when it comes to our cities, by bringing together public, private and community interest to advance a shared vision,” Mr Tuma said.
“If we want to be competitive we need to collaborate. Successful cities need to offer something for everyone, and to achieve this we rely on everyone contributing to the greater collective endeavour to enable exponential urban success.
“While success includes many factors that can accelerate or hinder delivery, including purpose and vision, aligned governance, shared capital and risk, delivery for the planet, supply chain resilience, and catalyst moments; the most important factor when planning the cities of the future will be inclusivity and talent.
“There are many great case studies we can learn from an event such as the Combined Government & Business Forum is an important opportunity to explore aligned values and to facilitate these robust conversations and commit to a collaborative plan.”
Other speakers at the event included Economic Development Queensland General Manager Debbie McNamara who provided insight into the role EDQ plays in regional development and Urbis Director Paul Riga who delivered his annual update on the Sunshine Coast region’s pipeline of major projects over $50m.
The agenda also included a joint presentation on regional infrastructure aspirations by Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson and Noosa Mayor Clare Stewart, who then joined a panel including Andrew Wallace MP, Jarrod Bleijie MP and Sandy Bolton MP to explore and debate how the three tiers of government could more effectively collaborate to prioritise and deliver infrastructure in the region.
Sunshine Coast Business Council (SCBC) Chair Sandy Zubrinich said that throughout the year, the Business Council had dedicated considerable attention to housing, homelessness, transport and economic growth for the Sunshine Coast.
“This Combined Government & Business Forum places the focus on how to improve the delivery record of regionally significant and major projects and considers international examples of innovative financing, governance and delivery models being used to deliver big infrastructure projects that usually span multiple government election cycles and changes of government.
“2024 is a double election year with Queensland residents both electing their local government representatives as well as their State MPs,” Ms Zubrinich said.
“We have an exciting yet challenging period ahead of significant growth and investment over the next nine years in the lead up to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games however, in infrastructure and major project terms, nine years is not a long period of time to deliver infrastructure.
“In order to achieve best-practice outcomes that we can be proud of in the decades ahead, this forum highlighted the need for our elected representatives to put politics aside when seeking funding and investment for major infrastructure and promote the benefits, for the greater good of our region.”