Balancing Economic And Environmental Priorities
When I was first elected as Mayor in 2012, the Sunshine Coast was on its knees.
The region had the lowest levels of business confidence, high levels of unemployment, no commitments to the infrastructure that the region desperately needed and no relationship with the other tiers of government to get the Sunshine Coast on their radar.
The Sunshine Coast had been let down badly by the Abbot council when its residents needed its Council to show leadership – and Chris Thompson was a member of the Abbot Council. Put simply, it had no plan to turn things around.
Under my leadership we have done that. We are strengthening our economy, we are getting the infrastructure needs addressed and we are on the radar with other levels of government like never before.
Today, business confidence remains at some of the highest levels for any region in the state and that creates jobs.
Employment growth is 5.6% – that’s more than 23,000 new jobs – compared to the State average of 1.8%. And our unemployment rate at the end of 2019 is back below the State average.
At the same time, under my leadership we have also ensured that our commitment to sustainability and our natural environment is not compromised – and in fact, we continue to lead the way with our national award-winning environmental initiatives.
And if I am re-elected on March 28, I will be continuing these efforts by –
- advocating strongly that there be no further expansion of the Urban Footprint in the life of the next SEQ Regional Plan
- seeking the support of Council for further expansion of the Conservation estate
- working with landowners in the Blue Heart to access funding from the Queensland Government’s Land Restoration Fund
- Be pushing for the creation of a new program to install and improve fauna movement infrastructure in major hotspots on the local road network
- Be driving the completion of our Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy to help manage the impacts of coastal hazards on our communities and enhance our resilience to the impacts of a changing climate and
- Encouraging my Council colleagues to increase our investment in catchment management activities to further improve the health of our waterways.
- Pushing to ensure our UNESCO Biosphere nomination is successful.
Our economy is back on the rails and heading in the right direction. Our environment is – and remains – one of our region’s greatest assets. Under my leadership, this will always remain the case.
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