Members of the Sunshine Coast Business Council (SCBC) met at the advocacy group’s Annual Strategic Workshop to confirm the priorities for 2024 and to gain insight into the region’s current and projected performance in regards to the economy, housing, population growth and job creation.

The members-only workshop attracted around 30 attendees who benefitted from national and state economic updates from Stockland’s Head Group Research Alan Yang and Mal Aikman, property economist and Director of Innoviciti Pty Ltd.

SCBC Chair Sandy Zubrinich said the annual event was held to garner feedback from members on the priorities for advocacy in the year ahead.

“We know this year will bring its challenges, particularly given it is a double election year with voters going to the polls to elect both local and state representatives,” Ms Zubrinich said.

“We know there will be new faces across both Noosa and Sunshine Coast Councils, with two new Mayors at the helm as a minimum, and our role as an advocacy group will be to represent our members’ views and concerns across the key priority areas discussed at the workshop.

“These include the importance of the region having a united voice, particularly when lobbying to State and Federal Government; the importance of a modern planning scheme that will enable the local infrastructure development required to accommodate population growth and address the current housing crisis; the critical need for faster heavy rail between Brisbane and the Maroochydore City Centre, and a greater focus on investment attraction by providing investment certainty for those interested in contributing to the success of our region.

“The current skills shortage was also a hot topic, the role our tertiary education partners play as well as the need to incentivise training opportunities in order to ‘grow our own’ local talent. What was of particular interest was the decline in trade apprentices starting and completing their training over the last five year period. 

“Data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) Apprentices and Trainees 2023 June Quarter report indicated the commencement of only 4,540 trades apprentices (down 43.7% from June quarter 2022), with a completion rate of only 2,215 (down 8.4% from June quarter 2022) across all registered trade providers in Queensland. This equates to only 48.7 per cent of trade apprentices completing their course.

“Given the skills shortage in areas such as construction, this is an immediate area that requires our focus. 

“The outcomes from this workshop will now be considered by the Board to ensure we have a clear understanding of our priorities for 2024. We represent approximately 4,000 businesses through our membership, which includes key national and regional industry groups and their members as well as national and regional businesses.

“We don’t underestimate the responsibility we have in providing a strong voice on behalf of this membership base to drive sustainable economic growth in our region.

“This is another important moment for our region with the change of Local Government leadership and we urge residents to closely scrutinise the financial and business experience of our mayoral candidates when selecting who the next Mayor of both Sunshine Coast and Noosa councils will be. Local councils are large and complex businesses with large staff numbers and big budgets and the leadership role of Mayors in steering the growth of a region and representing the region at all levels of government and to investors, should not be underestimated.”

The workshop agenda also included member presentations from Brady Sullivan who shared outcomes from the Caloundra Chamber of Commerce Local Business Survey; Jess Caire and Allen McNeill who shared details of the Property Council of Australia’s key advocacy areas; and from Mark Reilly from TAFE Queensland’s East Coast region and Professor Ross Young from the University of the Sunshine Coast who shared insights into the tertiary education landscape on the Sunshine Coast.

For more information on the Sunshine Coast Business Council and membership enquiries, visit