The recent boost in local job numbers is very encouraging for the Sunshine Coast region, particularly as it goes against the trend we are seeing in the rest of Queensland. Our unemployment rate has fallen from 6.6% to 4.8% over the 12 months to August 2016 and it is now below national average.
Some of those additional 17000 jobs created over the last year could be attributed to our tourism boom.
Great weather and a host of fantastic events has helped us achieve a 14.9% increase in domestic and a 7.8%
increase in international tourists, spending a whopping $5.5 billion in the year to June 2016 – which has given our economy a fantastic boost.
There’s more good news with the start of the $400 million expansion of Sunshine Plaza which is expected
to generate more than 2900 jobs during construction and 2300 extra retail positions when it opens by Christmas 2018.
This comes on top of the $1.8 billion investment into the Sunshine Coast University Hospital which will provide 2,500 new jobs when it opens in April 2017 and the $1.13 billion upgrade of the Caloundra to Sunshine Motorway section of the Bruce Highway which is starting soon.
The future is bright for our region with lots more growth on the horizon, including the expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport which will more than double the airport’s capacity and give us access to new domestic and international destinations – which will provide a $4.1 billion boost for our local economy and an extra 2000 local
My Federal and State colleagues and I are working together with Sunshine Coast Council and business leaders to lobby for funding for the infrastructure we desperately need.
Our top three priorities are getting the final tick of approval for a concessional loan for the Sunshine Coast Airport expansion, bringing forward the six-laning of the Bruce Highway between Palmview and Caloundra and the duplication of the North Coast Rail line.
Unlocking the bottleneck on the Bruce Highway is critical to our continued growth, as is the rail duplication which is will take more vehicles off the road by providing a better service for Sunshine Coast commuters and facilitating more movement of freight by rail.