2019 came with some massive milestones not only for the Sunshine Coast but also for one of its leading economic and industry advocacy groups.
Sunshine Coast Business Council (SCBC) celebrated 15 years, playing an important role in helping businesses protect their future through cultivating positive change in economic growth, infrastructure, employment and investment.
SCBC Chair Sandy Zubrinich said the year started with a Federal Election looming and the business council was proactive in organising a platform for genuine discussion with the community and their potential leaders.
“We held the ‘Meet the Candidates’ function in May where candidates from Wide Bay, Fairfax and Fisher engaged in a panel discussion and Q&A session,” Ms Zubrinich said.
“This was a great opportunity to discuss improving workplace relations, reducing red tape for small businesses to employ staff, simplification of the awards system, education and vocational training, negative gearing and energy prices – to name a few topics.
“This type of forum is vital for the business community to scrutinise and make informed choices about their leaders and we will continue that next year in time for the local government election which is coming up fast on 31 March 2020.
“It will be an important forum with several councillors retiring in the Noosa Shire Council and Sunshine Coast Council.”
SCBC held six events in 2019 – four of the events were free to attend – where the members and the community explored employment issues, the Sunshine Coast International Broadband Cable and the digitalisation of businesses into the future.
“We have taken away some incredible insight into how the Sunshine Coast is expected to grow into the future and we believe these type of events are crucial for preparing businesses with the right tools to succeed,” Ms Zubrinich said.
“SCBC continued to build on the co-funded research undertaken by University of the Sunshine Coast’s Dr Steven Boyd. He presented research at several events including the RDA National Forum in Canberra in November and we expect a lot of positivity to come out of those events.”
Research is a major component of the SCBC and in 2019 it delivered two studies into the Sunshine Coast including ‘Sunshine Coast Infrastructure Overview Between 2014-2023’ and ‘Funding Arrangements for Sunshine Coast Transport Projects’.
‘The first study uncovered some thought-provoking insight that if taken on board could really shape the way the Sunshine Coast grows into the future,” Mr Zubrinich said.
“We need to be proactive with issues that could become a serious problem in the future like the exodus of youth living on the Sunshine Coast compared to the older generation.
“I think it’s time to really understand what is driving that change and how we can make this an appealing place for young people and young families to live.
“There is a pipeline of $24.7 billion including $17 billion in projects under construction with $12 billion of this spread over 15-20 years, approximately $850 million committed investment and $6.2 under investigation investment but unless projects under investigation actually occur, projects under construction will see declining investment levels from 2019 to 2023.”
The first study complemented the second report, which outlined the need to increase the link between major highways and local roads.
“There are a number of headline transport projects identified that will underpin investment in the region and can be seen as catalytic infrastructure, however, until these are delivered the transport system won’t keep pace with growth,” Ms Zubrinich said.
“These reports will be crucial in helping us refine our agenda and build on our advocacy work within the business and political landscape.”
SCBC has undergone some big changes to its list of board members during the 2019 Annual General Meeting.
Re-elected Chair Sandy Zubrinich acknowledged the retiring board members – Hayden Rudd, Tony Vickers, Adrian Allen and Peter Pallot – who have contributed a great deal of corporate and industry experience, hard work and dedication into stimulating the Sunshine Coast economy.
One of the new board members is Andrew Brodie who stepped into the role of CEO at the Sunshine Coast Airport in February this year.
“His experience in senior executive positions at Brisbane Airport Corporation ensured he was the right fit for the job and we’re excited to hear his insight into how to make the Sunshine Coast a more prosperous economy,” Ms Zubrinich said.
The other new Board members are equally well credentialed in their industries are: Professor Tim Wess, Mr Will Wilson and Mr Matthew Byrnes.
The following people are now on the SCBC board:
- Sandy Zubrinich, Zubek — Chair;
- Tony Sowden, Tony Sowden Legal — Board member and secretary;
- Bridget Murphy, formerly Fujitsu Australia – Board member and treasurer;
- Will Wilson, Master Builders Regional Manager Sunshine Coast – Board member;
- Andrew Brodie, Sunshine Coast Airport CEO – Board member;
- Tim Wess, USC Deputy Vice Chancellor – Board member;
- Matthew Byrne, Stockland Senior Economic Development Manager – Board member
- Ana Roger, TAFE Queensland East Coast – Board member
- Brad Williams, RPS Australia Asia Pacific Regional Manager – Board Member
The Sunshine Coast Business Council was formed in 2004 and has now grown to represent approximately 4,000 businesses in tourism, property, construction, retail, banking and financial services, telecommunications and professional services.
SCBC is a leading regional business advocacy group, which works cooperatively with industry and government with the aim of turning the Sunshine Coast into Top 5 performing region in Australia and a Top 3 performing region in Queensland by 2020.
To find out more, please visit www.scbusinesscouncil.com.au.