Sunshine Coast government and business leaders are determined to ‘connect the dots’ and work together in an effort to manage rapid regional growth and the housing crisis.
Federal and state members, regional councillors and representatives from influential businesses and large employers converged for the Combined Government & Business Forum at Maroochy RSL.
They explored topics such as housing availability, affordability and liveability and attracting funding and investment in major infrastructure such as transport, sports, entertainment, tourism and hotels, in the lead up to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The invitation-only event was hosted by the Sunshine Coast Business Council.
SCBC Chair Sandy Zubrinich said the forum was of particular importance this year, with statistics revealing 1 in 20 people from Sydney and Melbourne are ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ looking to move interstate in the next five years, with almost two thirds of those keen to make Queensland their new home.
“Research commissioned by the Property Council of Australia has revealed 220,000 people – a population the size of Townsville and Gladstone combined – are seeking to leave the southern states and head north to Queensland in coming years,” she said.
“Of these, 37 per cent said they will be looking to move to Sunshine Coast which, according to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland, already has a vacancy rate of less than one per cent.
“With housing and rental markets already under significant pressure, the forum will provide an opportunity to debate some of these issues, particularly as we head towards the 2032 Games which we know will place even more demands on our region.”
The Property Council of Australia Qld Deputy Executive Director, Jess Caire, presented findings from the PCA’s ‘A Home for Every Queenslander’ report, which was intended to be the start of the conversation – an open invitation for government, industry and the community to work together to ensure appropriate and affordable housing options are available.
“The Sunshine Coast’s rapid population growth and the pressure this is creating is no secret, but this growth also presents a unique opportunity for the region,” she said.
“To capitalise on this opportunity, it is critical that the planning framework allows for this population growth to ensure the region is enabled to grow sustainably.
“While industry stands ready to create the homes South-East Queensland needs, it can’t do it alone – it is a collaborative effort between, government, industry and the community.”
This year’s theme for the forum was ‘Connecting the Dots’, to remind local business and political leaders of the need to work together, to attract the funding and investment required to get the regional infrastructure in place to manage growth going forward.
“To ensure our citizens, visitors and athletes all have a great time on the Sunshine Coast in the lead up to and during the Olympics we need to maximise the time we have to get the infrastructure and facilities in place and ready to go,” Ms Zubrinich said.
“The SCBC will present the key discussion points from the forum, for further discussion and agreement by its members at the annual strategy directions workshop to be held in late January. This will then form the Business Council’s advocacy agenda for 2023.”
Article source: www.sunshinecoastnews.com.au