The Sunshine Coast is one of Australia’s top 10 eTowns and the State’s most web-savvy region, Google announced today.
It is the second year the Google eTowns have been awarded in Australia, recognising those communities which are outpacing the rest of the country in having its small businesses use the web to connect with customers and grow.
RDA Sunshine Coast Chair Prof Standage said digital innovation was identified as a key regional priority in the recently released 2013-16 Sunshine Coast Regional Roadmap.
“Those local businesses that capture the unique opportunity of broadband and information technology development will further the economic and social wellbeing of communities across the Sunshine Coast region,” he said.
Prof Standage said several local initiatives which supported the transition to a digital economy had contributed to the region’s title of eTown:
- The Digital Futures project is an RDA Sunshine Coast initiative that aims to drive access to, and adoption of, key technologies that support the transition to a digital economy
- RDA Sunshine Coast is also leading the Digital Work Hubs collaborative project across South East Queensland aimed at researching and demonstrating the viability of flexible telework centres to increase productivity and reduce travel-related congestion and stress
- The Broadband Today Alliance is a collaborative alliance of local government, RDA and Regional Organisations of Councils based on sharing information and advocating for the resources to assist the localised transition to a digital economy.
Prof Standage said the Sunshine Coast could become a leader in new technology deployment and innovation by creating opportunities that came with advanced technologies, whether in a commercial, educational, healthcare, security or other context.
“These advances in technology have already changed the way business is conducted and will continue to improve efficiency in almost all sectors of the Sunshine Coast economy.”
A report by Deloitte Access Economics published in April this year found that Australian small businesses with high digital engagement are twice as likely to be growing revenue, and earn twice as much revenue per employee. They are also four times more likely to be hiring additional staff.
The Google eTown Awards celebrate the towns and cities whose businesses are growing online and contributing to the future economic growth of Australia. The awards are presented to towns that rank the highest in Google AdWords and Getting Aussie Business Online penetration.