USC produces economic snapshot of Coast

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USC produces economic snapshot of Coast

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Published on 28 August 2014

The University of the Sunshine Coast has released an independent economic summary of the greater Sunshine Coast region.

USC’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) and Professor of Property and Development Mike Hefferan, who prepared the report with Research Fellow Dr Pam Wardner, said USC aimed to provide informed commentary to benefit the region it served.

“A sound evidence base is critical for rational decisions for businesses, investment and economic planning,” Professor Hefferan said.

“This is an independent summary based on available statistics. It is designed to assist government, business and the wider community in their decision-making and provide a better appreciation of the key characteristics of our region.”

The snapshot, as of June 2014, includes the Sunshine Coast and Noosa Shire. It analysed a range of sources including the database used by Sunshine Coast Council to develop the region’s Economic Development Strategy 2013-2033. It confirms the value of that evidence-based and long-term approach.

Six major areas were targeted: gross regional product and household income; population and demography; sector performance; education and skills development; development, construction and infrastructure; tourism and hospitality.

Recommendations included:

  • focusing on increasing the average disposable household income to help increase employment rates and productivity;
  • positioning the local economy, community services and housing types to maximise opportunities for the increasing population of people over 60;
  • widening the economic base to include more innovative sectors, specifically health and education;
  • the critical importance of attracting fixed investment capital;
  • fostering businesses in the “trading sector”, meaning those that earn income from sources external to the region;
  • increasing the supply of affordable land to encourage construction sector recovery as public infrastructure spending grows (Sunshine Coast University Hospital, USC, Airport, Maroochydore);
  • duplicating rail lines to Brisbane and upgrading Bruce Highway.

Julie Schomberg

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