Providing a pathway for economic and community recovery and building confidence that encourages local businesses to invest, expand and deliver jobs is an important focus of Sunshine Coast Council’s $816 million 2021/22 Budget.
In delivering the Budget earlier today (June 24), Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said while it had been both reassuring and uplifting to see signs of local recovery, the reality is that for many local business operators, the toll of the pandemic on so many fronts, had been unquantifiable.
“I regularly say that confidence is the greatest gift any government can provide to its community,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Never before, has it been more incumbent on us to bring confidence back into the lives of our residents, our local businesses, our industries and those people who are looking for work.
“We also know there has never been a more important time for all of us to shop, trade and visit locally.
“In our 2021/22 Budget, our council will continue to play its part in this regard by supporting local business through our procurement arrangements and in the delivery of our capital works program.
“Council has maintained a stronger preference for local businesses wherever possible through our procurement arrangements, after having spent $241 million with local suppliers in the current financial year to June 1.
“In addition, our $268 million capital works program will deliver better infrastructure and facilities for our residents, right across our Sunshine Coast, providing an important pipeline for local trades and other supply chain businesses, which helps keep local people employed.
Council’s 2021/2022 capital works program investment will deliver well over 100 job generating projects across the region, including –
- $45 million towards the completion and fitout of the Sunshine Coast City Hall in Maroochydore – which is being delivered on time and within budget and has helped to generate an estimated 300 jobs at a time when this employment stimulus was needed most in our region
- $24.6 million for the Mooloolaba Transport Corridor Upgrade: Stage 2 – Brisbane Road to Kyamba Court including the new Mayes Canal Bridge (inclusive of the $12 million Australian Government funding through the $4 billion Urban Congestion Fund) and Stage 3 – The intersection of Brisbane Road/Walan Street/Hancock Street
- $23.3 million to reseal and rehabilitate council’s sealed road network, including Old Gympie Road, Glass House Mountains
- $12.5 million to develop new or upgrade existing community sport and recreation facilities across the region, ranging from the commencement of the first stage of the Honeyfarm Road Sport and Recreation Precinct at Meridan Plains; to a new district recreation park at Forest Park West Sippy Downs; to upgraded facilities at the Nambour Showgrounds
- $5.7 million to continue the sealing of council’s gravel roads network, including on Zgrajewski Road, Yandina Creek; Oyster Bank Road, Bli Bli; and Citrus Road, Palmwoods
“In fact our modelling forecasts that the $268 million capital program will generate an economic multiplier benefit of over $400 million for our regional economy and support more than 1300 jobs,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“By investing in infrastructure, as well as maintaining our community assets, we protect local jobs while supporting our community’s needs and those of local businesses.
“In this Budget, our council has made it a priority to support our local businesses and industry as they get back on their feet and build back better than before the pandemic.
“This is consistent with the approach we have followed since we first adopted our Regional Economic Development Strategy in September 2013 and it is the underpinning objective in our Economic Resurgence Plan, released in response to the pandemic in June 2020.”
Economy Portfolio Councillor Terry Landsberg said last year, council provided three support packages to help local businesses manage the impacts of COVID-19.
“In addition to the $268 million capital works program, this year’s Budget will continue our support for a wide range of economic activation initiatives and local business support programs,” Cr Landsberg said.
“This will include the ASPIRE online business to business tool; retail activation and place activation programs and initiatives; support for the Sunshine Coast Business Awards program and continuation of the Export Capability Development program to better equip local exporters for new national and global trade opportunities.
“Our council will also deliver an Economic and Business Resilience Expo and a Jobs Expo to connect job seekers to local employers and training opportunities.
“Recognising our business community has to be able to compete in an increasingly digital environment, our council will support business planning and growth workshops for local businesses, as well as provide free online digital and ICT skills training in collaboration with Amazon Web Services through the Next Level digital upskilling program.
“Our support for youth innovation and entrepreneurship will also continue through initiatives like the Sunshine Coast Telstra Innovation Awards and the “Big Day In” digital careers conference.
Fellow Economy Portfolio Councillor Jason O’Pray said council recognised the tourism and major events industries were some of the most impacted sectors of the region’s economy during the course of the pandemic and council would continue its efforts to support their resurgence and continuing contribution to jobs and economic activity.
“Council’s commitment to bringing major sporting and entertainment events to the Sunshine Coast continues to be supported through our sponsorship arrangements,” Cr O’Pray said.
“Our tourism industry contributes $3 billion each year to our local economy, with events of all types making a major contribution to attracting visitors and increasing lengths of stay.
“In 2021/22 we will host the Australian Cycling Academy Cycle Sunshine Coast Tour which will include national television coverage. This event will attract more than 1400 visitors and deliver around $1.15 million in economic benefits.
“Other major events for 2021/22 include the annual Queensland Garden Expo which attracts around 24,000 visitors and provides around $7.5 million for the local economy, while the Buskers by the Lake in October is expected to attract 7500 visitors and provide $2.3 million in economic benefit locally.
“Importantly, our sporting and major events showcase our region to competitors, families and friends who return for holidays.
“In addition, council’s six holiday parks generate around $24 million in economic benefit for the region each year which is why council will continue to invest in these facilities to provide attractive and accessible visitor accommodation and experiences.
“To this end, council will invest $800,000 to upgrade facilities at the Mudjimba Beach Holiday Park and $900,000 to replace an amenities block at the Coolum Holiday Park, which helps to ensure these facilities continue to meet the needs of visitors, enhance their visitor experience and encourage repeat bookings.