Ask about what our Hinterland towns are known for and you’ll often get an answer that laments a past glory. We used to be known for dairy. We used to be known for agriculture. We used to be a timber town. We used to be known on the transport route. There are any number of signs and artworks that remind us. With the exception of perhaps tourism, what are we known for now and what will be known for in the future?
This is the question Charles Hodgson, Candidate for Division 5 in the upcoming Sunshine Coast Council elections is challenging people to consider.
Mr Hodgson would like to lift the trivialised notion of Council being just about roads, rates and rubbish to one that acknowledges Council’s ability to actively support the economic development of our Hinterland towns, to help them find their new niche in the modern economy.
While many may see this as the domain of State and Federal governments, over 96% of businesses on the Sunshine Coast are small businesses who, in these challenging times, don’t have the luxury of waiting for grand plans at the State or Federal level to slowly filter down.
Mr Hodgson said, “We need to create a future for ourselves, one that is sustainable both economically and environmentally and one that aims to create high value jobs locally.”
“Have a look at the numbers of commuters that travel, sometimes for long periods, from our Hinterland towns to their place of work. Why, because there isn’t the quantity and range of high value jobs locally.”
“As important as the creation of infrastructure for our growing region is the creation of jobs. Not just any jobs, good jobs. Council can have a positive role in creating the environment where new businesses can flourish beyond the traditional tourism, construction and retail sectors.”
“There is great untapped potential in the Hinterland for businesses in the knowledge, education, IT, health services, food, arts & creative industries. Council must work with businesses, communities and entrepreneurs to support their initiative and creativity.”
“I want my kids to have the option of local opportunity rather than having to seek the better job prospects in the big cities,” Mr Hodgson said.