Sandy Zubrinich and Andrew Wallace.
Sandy Zubrinich and Andrew Wallace.

Regional ‘cabinet’ forms to try and soften pandemic blow

A REGIONAL “cabinet” has been established in a bid to soften the blow on the Coast’s economy when federal and state government support begins to be wound back.

Sunshine Coast Business Council chairwoman Sandy Zubrinich said local business leaders had acknowledged the extent of the economic crisis and its impacts on some industries was only just becoming clear.

Three tiers of government and industry leaders have joined forces to form the cabinet, to try and help the region navigate the challenges once the likes of JobKeeper ends.

Federal MPs Ted O’Brien and Andrew Wallace were joined by state counterparts Jarrod Bleijie, Andrew Powell, Fiona Simpson and Sandy Bolton.

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Noosa Mayor Clare Stewart and Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie, as well as Sunshine Coast Council acting CEO Warren Bunker, Craig Matheson and Regional Development Australia Sunshine Coast chair Carol Cashman were all part of the team.

A range of industry representatives were also involved.

Briefings had been held over the past month via Zoom.

The Sunshine Coast Business Council rallied politicians and experts in a variety of industries to come together to explore and map out the Sunshine Coasts future. The forum is called the Combined Government & Business Forum. Pictured, Ross Elliot from APP, Sunshine Coast Business Council Chair Sandy Zubrinich, Member for Maroochydore Fiona Simpson and Member for Glass House Andrew Powell.
The Sunshine Coast Business Council rallied politicians and experts in a variety of industries to come together to explore and map out the Sunshine Coasts future. The forum is called the Combined Government & Business Forum. Pictured, Ross Elliot from APP, Sunshine Coast Business Council Chair Sandy Zubrinich, Member for Maroochydore Fiona Simpson and Member for Glass House Andrew Powell.

“In line with the Federal Government direction, our primary focus is to retain and create jobs and the policies and industry changes required to do so,” Ms Zubrinich said.

“To this end, our priorities include continuing the call for our borders to re-open to stimulate tourism and hospitality and support the many small businesses in this supply chain; keeping major infrastructure projects moving; building investor and business confidence to create the jobs needed to get the region back to work; and building consumer confidence in the region, thereby stimulating spend to support the reopening of businesses.”

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Glasshouse MP Andrew Powell identified tourism and hospitality sectors as key, while Master Builders Sunshine Coast regional manager Will Wilson said his priority was to maintain employment in the construction industry, which was the largest employer on the Coast.

He said tenders for private sector work had “dried up” and it was important to ensure the supply of shovel-ready land was not cut off.

“Currently most of the work to create new developments has stopped,” Mr Wilson said.

“This could see a new issue emerge in the coming years and stifle our recovery in the longer term if we do not find ways to address this problem.”

Ms Zubrinich said she was excited to share the outcomes of the group in the weeks ahead.



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