International and national experts discussed ideas about how the region was positioned to maximize on its close proximity to Brisbane at the recent Sunshine Coast Futures Conference.
In his keynote address, Prof Mario Polèse said peri-metropolitan regions like the Sunshine Coast, located within a one-two hour drive of a large metropolitan area, were in a strong position to benefit from this proximity.
“Large urban centres and nearby peri-metropolitan regions are inextricably linked. It’s not a matter of size, but how close you are,” he told conference delegates, citing research which indicated that peri-metropolitan regions were growing at the same rate as the nearby city area.
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said the region’s attractiveness was enhanced by the array of experiences available in South-East Queensland (SEQ).
“Our place in SEQ gives us the strength and clout to be recognised. By exploiting SEQ’s uniqueness, we can provide balanced opportunities for investors. We must seize the opportunity to work with our neighbours on areas we can all benefit,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Each of our regions provides a rich and talented source of skills and labour, and our workforces are extremely mobile, both physically and digitally. Our capacity for innovation and digital excellence is not confined to one area.”
Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk agreed, saying there was greater advantage by working in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration across the regions.
“While we talk about SEQ, we must concentrate on those areas that deliver the best outcomes and benefits while keeping our comparative advantage and maintaining our uniqueness.”
The Sunshine Coast Futures series is an annual event which features independent academic research and a renowned speaker with an international reputation providing global insights.
Based on the theme ‘The Sunshine Coast and its place in South-East Queensland’, the conference was hosted by the University of the Sunshine Coast and Sunshine Coast Council at the Innovation Centre on 8 November.
Speakers included University of Quebec academic Professor Mario Polèse and author of The Wealth and Poverty of Regions, Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, former Brisbane Lord Mayor Sallyanne Atkinson, Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson, former Queensland Trade Commissioner Andrew Craig, Michael Kerry who wrote the Regional and Infrastructure Plan and Program for South-East Queensland, and University of the Sunshine Coast Pro Vice-Chancellor for Engagement Professor Mike Hefferan.