Council maintains quest to be Australia’s most sustainable region

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Sunshine Coast Council’s most recent quarterly review shows the organisation is forging ahead and achieving results in its quest to be Australia’s most sustainable region.

Finance Portfolio Councillor Chris Thompson said the April-June 2014 quarterly report, adopted at this month’s Ordinary Meeting, highlighted significant council milestones which built on the organisation’s momentum.

“There has been an outstanding commitment from the organisation and the council in relation to the efficiencies and savings from the organisational review,” Cr Thompson said.

“In the past quarter, we delivered the new Corporate Plan, setting the strategic direction for the next five years.

“We also delivered the first ever Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme, which gives the property industry, investors and residents one clear set of rules for development across the Coast.

“Staff have committed endless hours over a number of years to achieve this outcome and as we move forward, we will see investment in the region, based on this plan.”

Cr Thompson said six key Australian business leaders had joined the mayor to form the region’s new Future Economic Futures Board, which would provide expert advice to guide the council’s 20 year economic development strategy.

“The board has strong expertise in foreign and domestic commercial markets, finance and investment strategy, as well as in industry innovation, overseas market development, education and commercial communication – and all members have a connection with the Sunshine Coast,” he said.

“We also received State Government approval of the Maroochydore City Centre Priority Development Area which allows work to start on this project.

“I’m looking forward to our residents realising the enormity of this project, in that it is the only greenfield CBDdevelopment in Australia.

“We have a blank canvas – 53 hectares of land to transform into a future business centre, setting the Sunshine Coast apart from other locations across Australia.

“By themselves, each of these is a significant achievement, but all being delivered together over a three month period shows this council is focused on moving ahead.”

Cr Thompson said one of the finest achievements that made a difference to “right here, right now” was Council’s spend of $43 million with local businesses during the quarter.

“In this past financial year, council spent $169 million with local businesses, which represents 69.5% of council’s total purchasing spend,” Cr Thompson said.

“The 2014/15 budget was also handed down, council achieving a significant turnaround from the Queensland Treasury Corporation estimate of an $8.5 million deficit to an ongoing $13.1 million surplus thanks to an organisational review and strong financial management.

“As at June 30, 2015 cash balances will be $155 million, placing this council is a strong financial position.

“I can’t understate that outcome. That has been achieved through a lot of hard work and diligence to the task.

“I’m looking forward to the next quarter which will show this region remains on the move, maintaining our commitment to being Australia’s most sustainable region – vibrant, green and diverse.

Other significant achievements throughout the June 2014 quarter include:

  • The new design and location of the Sippy Creek Animal Pound was endorsed by council, with detailed design now to start.
  • Local Law reviews were undertaken for cat registrations and dogs in outdoor dining areas
  • Council’s largest annual contract was established with the roll out of the new waste collection contract – worth almost $80 million over seven years.
  • The Shoreline Erosion Management Plan and the Coastal Management Policy were adopted, providing a higher degree of clarity for council in planning and implementing coastal management programs to enhance and protect our valuable coastal assets.
  • Development numbers have continued to trend favourably throughout the quarter. As a result, development activity for the financial year has been the most encouraging since 2010/11.
  • The Sunshine Coast Stadium at the Kawana Sports Precinct was rebranded.
  • Air New Zealand flights between Sunshine Coast Airport and Auckland started, with an extended season and increased frequency of flights.
  • An offset planting at the Doonan Creek Environmental Reserve for koala conservation was implemented.