I'M NOT one to make outlandish resolutions at this time of year, for me it's more a time for reflection on the past 12 months and planning for the challenges ahead.
I look back at 2012 with a sense of satisfaction, and look ahead with a burning desire to do more.
I was elected on April 28 on a platform of taking the region in a new direction and to get the balance right between the economy, the environment and the community.
I think my council team has been able to take significant steps towards that destination.
In just eight months council has helped to deliver several new businesses, helped others to expand and convinced others to stay here including:
- Nearly 10,500 seats and millions of dollars secured by Air New Zealand's decision to renew and expand its seasonal service to the Coast.
- 190 new jobs created by the Stellar contact centre.
- 68 new jobs created through a $5.3 million re-investment by Zehnder Gluten Free.
- 80 jobs kept on the Coast after Bizfurn was convinced the Sunshine Coast's new direction was the right direction.
We achieved this by providing more support for existing businesses, and making the region more attractive to new businesses.
This has included:
- Holding forums to help local businesses tender for Sunshine Coast University Hospital contracts.
- Awarding contracts to locals at a rate of 70 cents in every dollar council spends.
- Determining more than 90% of all material change of use applications within the statutory period.
- Launching Business Ezy, an online one-stop shop for businesses.
- Delivering a business-friendly budget including business support programs.
- Reducing fees for employment-generating development.
- Waiving all fees associated with pre-lodgement meetings.
Council finishes 2012 in a strong position. The challenge is to keep it that way.
The Queensland Treasury Corporation figures show de-amalgamation would turn one strong council into two weaker councils, costing the region $76 million in lost wealth through inefficiencies.
As I've said all along, I support the State Government process on de-amalgamation, and now that the people of Noosa and district get a vote it's important they are provided with all the information about the impact and costs.
I encourage everyone to focus on the future, not the past.
I'll talk with you in the new tear. Have a happy and safe celebration.