24 September 2013
24 Sept 2013
Mayor Mark Jamieson, Mr Mal Brough – our new Member for Fisher, Councillors Thompson, Cox and Robinson, ladies and gentlemen
I am pleased to be able to make a short response to the Mayor’s launch of this new economic strategy for our region. In both content and development this strategy reflects a maturity that could not have been previously contemplated.
The goals are ambitious, but this is an aspirational region and given both the potential of the region and the attitude of its citizens, stretch targets should now be accepted as a challenge to be met.
The strategy respects and supports our existing service-based sectors.
At the same time it identifies and supports the fundamental building blocks for the future – education, health and those jobs across new and existing sectors that promote innovation and our capacity to earn through trading outside our region and into global market places.
There’s a lot of change in this strategy. The university has already commenced this journey and it’s interesting to note some very obvious intersections between our current game plan and this new economic development strategy for the region.
For example, it’s hard to believe right now, but until 2007 USC didn’t offer a single professional degree for the health sector – 2007 was the year nursing was launched – followed by paramedic science, nutrition and dietetics, occupational therapy, psychology, social work, exercise physiology, counselling – they’re our biggest degrees now.
Our developments were driven by the region’s demography and more recently the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
Forward planning with Qld Health, through Kevin Hegarty, is a work in progress for the university. Health is already the biggest employer on the Coast – it’s a big part of our future and we need to interact with it in a strategic way.
I’m pleased to see education and training specifically recognized in the new strategy as opportunities and game changers for the region. The education and training sector is the 5th largest employer on the Coast – and across 2013 the universities, TAFE, private providers, public and independent schools have been working together to better coordinate and develop the Sunshine Coast’s education sector.
I notice that Greg Peach our Regional Director for Education Qld is here today – Greg has been coordinating the interface between schools and post-secondary education and training with the employment opportunities offered by the health sector.
The education sector is well prepared to play its part in the new environment being created by the taskforce and regional stakeholders.
I think the key to pushing hard for jobs in a knowledge based economy is to communicate the message that for every one of these higher level jobs that can be secured, between 4 and 5 jobs are created elsewhere in the region’s service sectors.
At the university we talk a lot about multiplier effects and they have to be a major driver of the future economy of the Coast – or Silicon Beach as I heard it referred to yesterday by one of our region’s leading entrepreneurs and innovators.
This was at a Boardroom Briefing on Healthcare Innovation hosted by the Innovation Centre. When you hear people like Karen Woolley and Kirsten Baulch speak with passion about the region’s potential you know that the ambitious future detailed in the Mayor’s vision is a realistic one.
So let’s get on with it.