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Bold plan for Coast’s $33 billion economy unveiled

The Sunshine Coast is striding forward with a clear plan for a new economy that sees the region on track to generate thousands of jobs, increasingly higher incomes for locals, plus an expansion of high-value industries honing in on areas such as digital tech, production and the circular economy.

Alexandra Headland, Sunshine Coast.
Alexandra Headland, Sunshine Coast.

The Sunshine Coast is striding forward with a clear plan for a new economy that sees the region on track to generate thousands of jobs over the next decade, increasingly higher incomes for locals, plus an expansion of high-value industries honing in on areas such as digital tech, production and the circular economy.

Sunshine Coast Council Councillors unanimously voted in favour of the Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Strategy 2013-2033 (2023 refresh) at this month’s Ordinary Meeting (October 26), which will continue to drive an innovative, adaptive, resilient and climate-ready economy.

Since 2013, the Strategy has provided a 20-year vision and blueprint for sustainable economic growth to help to ensure the region actively participates in the global economy and delivers the lifestyle and opportunities for local residents and businesses.

Watch the REDS highlights

Mayor Mark Jamieson said he was proud to see the Strategy’s commitments and bold thinking were paying off.

“I am extremely proud that the Sunshine Coast is now one of Australia’s strongest regional economies,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“The four goals in the Strategy – growing our economy, generating more high-value employment, increasing exports and improving household incomes – remain at the heart of our next five-year implementation plan.

“Our region is growing at a faster rate compared to many other similar regions across Australia and we are well on track to achieving our target of $33 billion in 2033, with our economy currently valued at $21 billion.

“Median household income levels are progressing well towards being above the State average by 2033. At the time of the most recent Census being conducted in 2021, median household income levels were just 4.8 per cent below the State, much closer than the 9.1 percent difference in 2018.

“This means less people are leaving the Sunshine Coast for higher-paying jobs, and we can attract and retain talented individuals who want to work, play and stay here.

“Our high-value jobs are growing at a fast pace with 17,000 new positions created since 2018, bringing the current total to 92,000 high-value jobs and nearing our goal of 100,000 jobs by 2033.

“Meanwhile our regional exports have grown solidly recently and are now exceeding the growth required to reach our goal of 20 per cent.”

Regional Economic Development Strategy snapshot.

“As our region and economy continue to evolve, so too does our strategy – our focus on a diversified economy through our seven high-value industries remains strong, however our ability to adapt and support new emerging industries will be critical to our long-term success. 

“That’s why a more holistic approach to the Strategy is required which expands upon our seven high-value industries to include six new and emerging broad economies within the areas of knowledge, digital, production, green, visitor and place-based.”

Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN) CEO Nicole McNaughton said the evolution of the region’s food and agribusiness industry was a testament to the REDS.

“FAN was borne out of the initial REDS with the industry then valued at $725 million,” Mrs McNaughton said.

“Today we’re proud to be recognised as a leading Australian food industry cluster and the proof is in the pudding with the industry now valued at over $1 billion.”

Economic Development Portfolio Councillor Terry Landsberg acknowledged the efforts and contributions of business and industry and the other tiers of government in achieving the results so far and encouraged collaboration to continue.

“Together with industry and business, our Council will continue to collaborate, providing leadership, guidance, commitment and appropriate policy measures to realise the REDS objectives,” Cr Landsberg said.

“This five-year implementation plan ensures our economy will be driven through technology and innovation, knowledge and talent plus an underlying principle of equity and prosperity for our entire community – further cementing our vision to be Australia’s most sustainable region: Healthy. Smart. Creative.”

Under the five-year implementation plan, Council will collaborate with business and industry partners to deliver and support a suite of actions from 2023 to 2028 to drive greater opportunities and prosperity for the Sunshine Coast and its residents.

Regional Economic Development Strategy Annual Report

In alignment with the REDS Implementation Plan, Sunshine Coast Council also endorsed its 2022/23 Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Strategy Annual Report at this month’s Ordinary Meeting (October 26).

Economic Development Portfolio Councillor Jason O’Pray encouraged the community to read the report to gain deeper insights into the collective work Council, the business community and industry partners are doing to create a thriving economy.

‘This report is a record of an extraordinary year and highlights the important work being done to drive a strong and resilient economy,” Cr O’Pray said.

“A key highlight of the report is through our investment attraction and major events opportunities where we achieved an estimated economic impact of $388.96 million and the creation of 1,897 jobs, both directly and indirectly*.

“We are also now home to the national Critical Infrastructure Information and Sharing Analysis Centre and a growing list of national and international corporate businesses such as Youi, Genpact, McCormick & Co and Kilcoy Global Foods.

“Meanwhile, the Maroochydore City Centre is developing well, and we are making significant strides in our role as a key delivery partner for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

* Source National Economics (NIEIR) modelled by economy.ID.

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