The Sunshine Coast is attracting higher paying jobs and industries, a new report card has revealed.
The latest report card for the Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS) shows how Sunshine Coast Council helped existing and emerging businesses navigate the economic effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
A range of programs and initiatives ensured the region had the right support and investment to grow a modern, dynamic and resilient economy.
The successful outcomes across the strategy’s seven “high-value industries’’ were highlighted in the 2021-22 Regional Economic Development Strategy Annual Report presented to council on September 21.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the strategy underpinned the significant growth and diversification that had seen the region develop a $18.5 billion economy.
Health and wellbeing, aviation and aerospace and tech companies, which connected globally, were among those that saw the biggest change.
“Positive economic indicators during the 2021–22 financial year revealed a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic across the REDS high value industries,” Mayor Jamieson said.
Increasing industry collaboration enabled council to support, fund and drive the successful growth of key industry groups and associated initiatives – Cleantech Industries Sunshine Coast, Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN), Manufacturing Excellence Forum Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast Tech Industry Alliance, Sunshine Coast Screen Collective, Sunshine Coast Events Industry and Visit Sunshine Coast.
Mayor Jamieson said increasing household incomes was an area he was particularly proud of, and the results were extraordinary.
“In 2013, household income levels were 22.3% below the State average,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“That gap has decreased significantly to 4.7% below the State average today, thanks to our economic development strategy attracting higher paying industries.
“Youi, Huddle and Budget Direct are three examples of high paying companies that had successfully expanded or established on the Sunshine Coast.
“The aviation and aerospace industry had the highest average annual income across our seven high value industries and council’s support for Bonza Airlines’ head office placement at Sunshine Coast Airport and our investment in the new runway means the airport’s international capability has untold potential.
“The launch of Sunshine Coast Tech Industry Alliance and NEXTDC SC1 Data Centre was another solid steppingstone towards more higher income jobs and a wider range of enduring, high-value employment opportunities, particularly in IT.
“Leveraging off NEXTDC’s expertise will give the Sunshine Coast the ability to attract new businesses which would not ordinarily be found in a regional city.”
High value industries driving the increased incomes are those with the ability to connect globally.
They include tech, software development and screen industries, and there is a huge number of people who service global clients, working as consultants from the Sunshine Coast.
Others are the technical and professional services, providing cyber security and information management systems which are being sold globally – our next exporters.
To support this, six “Future Industries” videos were developed to showcase the Sunshine Coast region’s growing tech capability, infrastructure, ecosystem and talent through council and Sunshine Coast Tech Industry Alliance’s digital channels.
The videos target local, national and international audiences.
Attracting capital investment is essential to leveraging the Sunshine Coast International Broadband Network, securing hotel investment in the lead up to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games and fostering investment in the health sector.
The partnership between UniSC, leading international orthopaedic company Medacta and Barwon Investment Partners will develop the $100 million hospital as a centre of excellence in clinical care, innovation, education and research.
The REDS is one of three regional strategies which collectively provide a compelling blueprint for a balanced approach to maintaining the liveability of our region, the productivity of our economy and retaining and strengthening our natural assets.
Moving into the final phase of the current REDS Implementation Plan, the future focus for Sunshine Coast Council is to drive sustainable growth across all of the high value industries, support the development of future industries, and continue to build business confidence in the Sunshine Coast region.
The Regional Economic Development Strategy supports seven high value industries:
Photo credit: Sunshine Coast Council – Youi Training Centre