The Importance Of Our Hinterland
The Hinterland is a special place and a jewel in the natural landscape and appeal of our region. It provides a standard of liveability that is the envy of south east Queensland.
Our Hinterland towns along the rail corridor will continue to grow in harmony with their characteristics and heritage as the rail corridor is upgraded and the accessibility of these areas are improved.
But at the same time, it is just as important to ensure the natural landscape, agricultural areas and village lifestyle are preserved in our Hinterland.
The Hinterland divisions – predominantly Divisions 1, 5 and 10 – generate approximately 24% of Council’s total rates revenue.
On a ten-year average from 2013-2014 onwards, Council allocates nearly 29% per annum of its total capital spend to the Hinterland.
Under my leadership, our Council has continued to ensure that a more than fair share of funding is devoted to the needs of our Hinterland communities.
There is a plethora of projects that our Council has committed to in the Hinterland under the current term of our Council, from the Mary Cairncross Visitor Information Centre in Maleny to the upgrade of the Beerwah Aquatic Centre to our support for the Nambour Heritage Tramway project – a project that Chris Thompson opposed not once, but twice.
In addition, our region-shaping projects like the expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport, the development of the Maroochydore City Centre and the international submarine cable will provide more job opportunities for people living in our Hinterland. In the case of the Airport and the submarine cable, these assets will provide new opportunities for our agribusiness sector to expand and export to new markets.
While ever I am Mayor, I will be working to ensure the needs of the Hinterland are fully appreciated by Council. My commitments this election will place the needs of the Hinterland very firmly at the heart of major decision-making if I am elected as Mayor on March 28. They include:
- advocating strongly that there be no further expansion of the Urban Footprint in the Sunshine Coast area in the life of the next regional plan – so that our Hinterland and other vulnerable areas are not exposed to potential urban sprawl.
- continually pursuing opportunities to preserve, promote and celebrate our region’s heritage, including working with our First Nations peoples to expand the broader community’s awareness and appreciation of the contribution of the Kabi Kabi and Jinibara peoples to the rich tapestry that is our Sunshine Coast.
- advocating to State and Federal governments that they commit the resources and services required to ensure our region is properly equipped to address issues such as domestic violence, homelessness and access to necessary human services, such as child safety and social housing.
- within the first six months of the new term, I will bring together business and community organisations, the education and training sector and youth representatives to determine practical initiatives that can be deployed quickly to get more young people into employment locally.
- I will be seeking a full review of all mechanisms available to minimise the impacts of party houses and short-term accommodation in existing residential areas, particularly in our Hinterland communities.
- I will be encouraging the next Council to develop and commit from 1 July 2022, to a dedicated annual increase to the current funding to progressively seal many of the 590 kilometres of unsealed local roads on the Sunshine Coast.
- I will seek the support of Council to increase by a further 10%, the total conservation lands acquired using the Environment Levy, with a priority on connecting existing conservation areas and ensuring important fauna movement corridors are preserved.
- I will work with my Councillor colleagues and staff to grow the number of participants in our nation-leading Land for Wildlife program to 1300 landowners.
- I will be proposing that Council consider the introduction of a new program in the next budget that is specifically designed to improve and install more fauna movement infrastructure in major hotspots identified in and around the local road network.
- I will be pushing the Queensland Government for statutory recognition and protection of the existing inter-urban break, so that it cannot easily be eroded by future governments or councils.
- I will work with my Councillor colleagues and our community to secure the Biosphere designation from UNESCO and support a community-focussed governance model to ensure our Sunshine Coast Biosphere reserve becomes an exemplar of people and nature in harmony.
- I will be encouraging my Council colleagues to increase our investment in our catchment management activities to further improve the health ratings of our waterways.
- I will continue to support the next five-year implementation plan for our Regional Economic Development Strategy which includes supporting the growth of local businesses and continuing my support for the Reimagine Nambour project.
- I will also continue to push hard to have the Sunshine Coast recognised and supported as a leading Digital Trade Hub to help expand the export of our agricultural products to national and global markets.
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