The region’s economy is expected to grow by $12 billion over the next decade and is on track to generate thousands of jobs through the Sunshine Coast’s updated economic development strategy.
Councillors endorsed the Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Strategy 2013-2033 (2023 refresh) at the October 26 Ordinary Meeting.
The strategy, known as REDS, will continue to drive an innovative, adaptive, resilient and climate-ready economy.
The plan reveals Sunshine Coast Council will collaborate with industries to create new jobs, higher incomes for locals, plus an expansion of areas such as digital tech, production and the circular economy.
Since 2013, the strategy has provided a 20-year vision and blueprint for sustainable economic growth to help to ensure the region actively participates in the global economy and delivers the lifestyle and opportunities for local residents and businesses.
Mayor Mark Jamieson says there are four goals in the strategy.
These include growing the economy, generating more high-value employment, increasing exports and improving household incomes.
“Our region is growing at a faster rate compared to many other similar regions across Australia and we are well on track to achieving our target of $33 billion in 2033, with our economy currently valued at $21 billion,” the Mayor says.
“Median household income levels are progressing well towards being above the state average by 2033. At the time of the most recent Census being conducted in 2021, median household income levels were just 4.8 per cent below the state – much closer than the 9.1 per cent difference in 2018.
“This means less people are leaving the Sunshine Coast for higher-paying jobs, and we can attract and retain talented individuals who want to work, play and stay here.
“Our high-value jobs are growing at a fast pace with 17,000 new positions created since 2018, bringing the current total to 92,000 high-value jobs and nearing our goal of 100,000 jobs by 2033.
“Meanwhile, our regional exports have grown solidly recently and are now exceeding the growth required to reach our goal of 20 per cent.
“As our region and economy continue to evolve, so, too, does our strategy. Our focus on a diversified economy through our seven high-value industries remains strong. However, our ability to adapt and support new emerging industries will be critical to our long-term success.”
The Mayor says the strategy includes six new and emerging broad economies within the areas of knowledge, digital, production, green, visitor and place-based.
Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN) CEO Nicole McNaughton says the evolution of the region’s food and agribusiness industry is testament to the REDS.
“FAN was borne out of the initial REDS, with the industry then valued at $725 million,” Mrs McNaughton says.
“Today we’re proud to be recognised as a leading Australian food industry cluster and the proof is in the pudding with the industry now valued at over $1 billion.”