The competition for Queensland regions to garner a slice of the resources boom cake is relentless.
Not only that but many Sunshine Coast residents are putting their hands up in a bid to gain employment in the industry.
The realities of the resources boom and what it means for a region like the Sunshine Coast was first on the menu for a gathering of representatives at this week’s Resources Sector Industry Forum held at Sunshine Coast Airport.
The forum was an important first step in discussing the challenges and opportunities in becoming a major regional player in the resources sector, with the Sunshine Coast Airport a critical component of what this region has to offer the sector.
Economic Development Portfolio Councillor Lew Brennan said there is a huge demand from the mining industry for skilled workers, and while many here on the Coast would like the opportunity to sign up, the reality is that we will have to prepare a workforce which will meet the industry’s demands, and that won’t happen overnight.
“Having part of the resources sector workforce living locally is however, only one element. There are many other ways that we – as a region – can benefit from business related investment that supplies the resources sector and supports resource industry employees,” Cr Brennan said.
“Sunshine Coast Council is well equipped to respond to these opportunities with its Delivering a Natural Advantage to Business package, which is targeted at supporting job creating investment in key sectors of the economy, such as aviation and allied industry sectors.”
Sunshine Coast Airport General Manager, Peter Pallot, said a number of good ideas were put forward at the forum, including the need to sit down with resources industry representatives to find out exactly what their needs are.
“We also need to establish clearly for ourselves what we can realistically offer the industry,” he said.
“Council is taking a leadership role in promoting the Coast to the resources sector, in partnership with a number of State and Federal Government departments, but it is important we establish partnerships with all elements of the employment pipeline, including vocational education and training, aviation support and our universities.”
The forum was an insightful first step in what will become a regular, progressive conversation between all stakeholders.
“We had about 30 representatives for this inaugural forum and I am hoping that each subsequent meeting will attract a greater and more diverse audience,” Mr Pallot said.
“We are working hard here at the airport to provide as much information as possible to attract the attention of airlines, but the way to achieving sustainable involvement in the resources sector is an across-the-Coast endeavour.”