Sunshine Coast Council today joined partner organisations to launch its new 20-year framework that will help shape the social fabric of the Sunshine Coast community in a way that is connected, healthy and vibrant.
The Sunshine Coast Community Strategy 2019-2041 will provide the platform for how council, the community and other tiers of government will work together to achieve the vision of ‘Together we thrive’.
The strategy is the culmination of 18 months of collaboration with community representatives and organisations.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said today’s launch of the strategy signalled a significant step towards creating a stronger community that is connected, engaged and inclusive.
Mayor Jamieson also thanked council’s partner organisations for their work in helping to shape the strategy and welcomed their continuing support as its actions are implemented.
“Many people have been an integral part of this journey – from many community organisation, mums and dads, young people, service providers, local business owners and our own staff, just to name a few,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“As our region continues to grow to over 500,000 people and the resourcing available to the human services sector becomes increasingly constrained and competitive, we recognised that more needs to be done in a holistic sense and with a focus on newly emerging challenges and opportunities.
“Our Sunshine Coast Community Strategy provides the blueprint and some of the policy levers to bring the key stakeholders together and ensure there is a common platform and community-oriented agenda that we are working from.
“The strategy’s foundations are built on strong social justice principles – equity of access; the efficacy of human dignity and a level playing field - so everyone can benefit as the region grows”.
A partnership between council and USC’s Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience – Thompson Institute was announced as part of the strategy launch.
In line with one of the five key outcome areas in the strategy, council and the Thompson Institute will focus efforts and resources to build healthy and active communities.
“Suicide and mental health issues are major health concerns Australia-wide and our region is not immune,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Our partnership with the Thompson Institute will mean our community has better access to mental health education, training and awareness, including suicide prevention initiatives.
“We are very fortunate to have USC’s world-class mental health research, teaching and clinical services hub in our region and this partnership will enable community members to directly benefit from the cutting-edge research and programs happening right here on the Sunshine Coast.”
Community Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay, who has been a great champion of the new strategy, welcomed the partnership.
“The Community Strategy provides a great basis for how our council will work with communities and community organisations right across our region, in their best interests and in a way that reflects a shared sense of values and purpose,” Cr McKay said.
“I am particularly delighted with the partnership that we have developed with the Thompson Institute which will enable us to work together, align our advocacy efforts and achieve better outcomes when approaching state and federal governments.”
Thompson Institute manager of strategic partnerships Mervat Quirke said the institute’s objectives centred on connecting with the community.
“Our institute is not an ‘ivory tower’ where researchers are locked away all day writing medical papers,” Mrs Quirke said.
“Instead, we find new ways of helping people overcome conditions by listening to their needs, researching new treatments and trialling them in a safe way.
“We are committed to find cures and the best interventions for these conditions and supporting our community with council to provide a wide range of training, education and awareness.”
Mayor Jamieson said the community strategy would initially be rolled out through the Community Strategy Action Plan 2019-2024 with key partners like USC’s Thompson Institute and others.
“I am delighted to announce that since the strategy was adopted earlier this month, council has already forged new partnerships across the five outcome areas of the strategy including:
- Partnering with USC so urban design students can work with council to engage communities to deliver plans for better connected neighbourhoods,
- Working with the Department of Housing and Public Works (DHPW) to focus advocacy on additional affordable housing opportunities, and
- Exploring opportunities with USC and Queensland Council of Social Services (QCOSS) to better engage with our communities.”
“By working together, we can ensure the focus remains on our community being the clear beneficiary as our region continues to grow and mature.”