The Sunshine Coast continues to deliver the right ingredients for a healthy, smart, creative region according to Mayor Mark Jamieson, who delivered his annual State of our Region address today.
Speaking to an audience of community representatives at the Sunshine Coast Health Institute, Mayor Jamieson said if there was a theme for the Sunshine Coast in 2018 it was “connecting our community”.
“Here on the Sunshine Coast we are positioning ourselves as a unique region, distinct from the rest of South-East Queensland, but connected with the world,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“We have a balanced commitment to supporting and connecting our community, preserving our natural assets, maintaining our lifestyle and developing a stronger economy.
“And reinforcing the links and opportunities between them all.
“Latest economic data shows that our region’s annual employment growth of 5.3% is well ahead of the State’s jobs growth at 3.6%.
“Household incomes have also improved significantly since 2011 from being 22% below the State average to approximately 9% below the State average.
“We won’t rest there – I want to see us at least level pegged with the State average within the next 10 years.
“Improving the average household income level is the real social dividend for our community.
“It means more money in the pockets of our residents which is good news for them and for local businesses.”
Mayor Jamieson said other highlights of the year included the success of the Sunshine Coast Solar Farm, launching a 20-year arts plan, record tourism figures and investing a record $7 million to add a further 405 hectares of environmental land to our conservation estate.
“Since it was commissioned in July 2017, the Sunshine Coast Solar Farm has generated around 38,000 megawatt hours of electricity,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“This has resulted in a saving for council of $2.5 million on its electricity costs.
“Our Sunshine Coast Arts Plan will enrich our region’s cultural identity, providing endless possibilities and experiences for locals and visitors.
“With the additional properties council has acquired through our Environment Levy, our region’s conservation estate is now nearly 6200 hectares.
“Our international tourism figures continue to grow and our domestic tourism expenditure eclipsed what the Sunshine Coast achieved in the previous 12 months.”
Mayor Jamieson said the region’s game-changing projects continued to take shape during 2018, paving the way for international connections that would strengthen the region’s economic resilience and social fabric.
“The new runway at the Sunshine Coast Airport is well underway, plans for an International Broadband Submarine Cable have become a reality and the new Maroochydore CBD is really starting to take shape.
“There are many more highlights from the year and I look forward to continuing the success of 2018 through 2019.”