In September Federal Senator Fiona Nash, Minister for Regional Development visited the Sunshine Coast which allowed the Region’s leaders to showcase the excellent initiatives that are helping drive our economy. These included the extension of the airport, the proposed digital hub at Peregian Beach, Maroochydore Bright City, Bright Spark Lab and many others.
The visit hosted by Federal members Andrew Wallace, Ted O’Brien and Llew O’Brien provided insights into the importance of the upgrade of the airport as well as transport priorities. At the RDA briefing, I had the opportunity to inform the Senator on our advocacy for investment in transport infrastructure and our support for low-capital solutions to our transport issues. These include education and behavioural change of commuters to adopt new technologies like ride sharing and car-pooling apps as well as public transport to relieve congestion. RDA also highlighted the need to consider alternate funding options in an era of constrained capital and many competing priorities.
RDA Sunshine Coast is also advocating for a consistent approach to “regional qualification” so that Sunshine Coast can receive justifiable funding through Building Better Regions Fund and University Funding Models. Education is a strong contributor the Sunshine Coast economy estimated at circa $700m with a great opportunity to increase through retaining students on the Sunshine Coast.
RDA with industry has identified an opportunity to assist the linkage between industry and education in the ICT sector with the development of an Introductory Coding Course. We have been working with TAFE, USC, Spark Bureau, and SCRC to develop a short course to introduce participants to coding and programming and provide a pathway to employment or future study.
Employers have already expressed interest in employing the cohort and providing on the job experience. The pilot is likely to be launched in November.
– Darrell Edwards, CEO, RDA Sunshine Coast