15 Jun 2016

15 June 2016
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Maroochydore and the wider Sunshine Coast are poised for a growth spurt, according to a property economist.

Malcolm Aikman, of Urbis, speaking at a business lunch at Maroochydore today, said the Sunshine Coast had experienced strong employment growth over the last few years.

Mr Aikman said the Sunshine Coast University Hospital had been a key economic driver, creating employment in the construction industry.

The number of Coast residents in jobs had increased by 5475 each year for the last four years, or 3.5%, which compared favourably to Brisbane’s employment growth of 1.8%.

Mr Aikman said the Sunshine Coast University Hospital had been a key economic driver, creating employment in the construction industry.

But that growth would be followed by growth in health jobs and office-related positions in related fields, from engineering through to life insurance, he said.

Mr Aikman predicted the future Sunshine Coast Airport expansion would be the next big “game changer” but it needed an expansion in accommodation and an upgrade of the Bruce Highway to have full effect.

He said the SunCentral Maroochydore CBD development, Oceanside Kawana, Aura at Caloundra, the Sunshine Plaza redevelopment, a Bli Bli mixed use centre, the Kawana Shoppingworld expansion, a new Mooloolaba apartment building were also big investments that would create jobs and opportunities on the Coast.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Coast’s economy had grown from $13 billion to $16b in his time on the council, making a goal of $33b look within reach.

“As a region, we’re in pretty good shape but it’s not that long ago that it wasn’t,” he said.

Mr Jamieson said light rail was “a piece of kit that could make an enormous difference” and a broadband undersea cable would open the gate for business growth.

The sell-out lunch meeting, organised by the Maroochydore Chamber of Commerce and attended by 200 people, also heard an update on the SunCentral CBD project.

SunCentral’s John Knaggs said bulk excavation work had begun at the northern end of the 60ha site and would shortly be followed by civil works.

Mr Knaggs, describing the site, said it included built-in smart technology, such as an underground rubbish “vacuum” extraction system, and provision for a premium hotel with no height limit.