New year will be a pivot point with long-term local implications

COMMENT- By Sandy Zubrinich, Sunshine Coast Business Council Chair

With both local and state government elections in 2024, we will see leadership changes happening at both levels of government. This is major pivot point.
With the changing of the guard at a state level, we also know that both Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson and Noosa Mayor Clare Stewart will not be standing again, so the Sunshine Coast region is poised for change.
Both local government areas have different growth and development aspirations and constraints, and both are determined to protect the natural environment and lifestyle whilst consolidating an innovative economic future and strong cohesive communities.
What we need, as one of the fastest growing populations in Queensland and Australia, are leaders with vision and strategies and, most importantly, the ability to garner community support to implement those strategies.
High population growth has already placed great pressure on our economic and social infrastructure and the lack of vision and funding by state and federal governments to deliver the infrastructure essential to support this population growth, has been frequently played out in the media and advocated to all three tiers of government by industry groups such as SCBC.
Too much time has been lost by the three tiers of government not agreeing on regional infrastructure priorities and not committing, or upholding funding commitments to deliver priority infrastructure. The blame game needs to stop.
Aside from the investment in the Bruce Highway, this region has repeatedly experienced road and rail funding commitments being changed, deferred or cancelled. What hasn’t changed is the population growth projected for this region, and on that measure alone, it demands immediate funding for those transport projects previously committed to – whichever tier or colour of government.
Most of all, our new mayors must be able and prepared to stand above the politics and ensure council staff deliver those community services that are the remit of councils, efficiently and effectively.