Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Hanging Tough Coast Lacking Diversity; Coast Businesses Need Council to Act Now

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Hanging Tough Coast Lacking Diversity; Coast Businesses Need Council to Act Now

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Bode

SUNSHINE Coast council has again been savaged over its "greenprint" for the region, as it emerged many businesses are still operating in a state of emaciated confidence.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland president David Goodwin says businesses will continue to do it tough for the foreseeable future and has called on the council to show it is pro-business.

His grim assessment of the Coast's economy comes as the council released the results of a Nielsen survey that it says highlights ongoing, widespread community concern about the need to carefully manage growth for the sake of the region's environment.

Mr Goodwin said the CCIQ's latest Pulse quarterly survey, which is likely to be released later this month, showed many Coast businesses were still lumbering under investment, employment and general confidence concerns.

He said there was very little improvement in business confidence from the June quarter survey, which revealed Coast operators are the most pessimistic in the state.

That survey showed an alarming drop in business confidence compared to the previous quarter, with the Coast's 12-month economic outlook index plummeting to a state-worst 42.8.

That was considered poor, and was more than 12 points down on the previous quarter's satisfactory economic outlook index of 54.1.

Apart from Far North Queensland, Mr Goodwin said no other region in Australia had been hit harder by the global financial crisis than the Coast and the council needed to do more to bolster business confidence in the area.

He said while there had been a return of some investment to the region in recent times, providing a "glimmer of hope" for the coming year, the Coast was still losing out on investment dollars to other regions because the council was not seen as pro-business.

"If you want a more broadly based economy instead of just relying on tourism and the like, you've got to drive further investment and have a broader industry base for the Sunshine Coast region," he said.

"To do that, council needs to approve industrial subdivision, work on having further housing and be open to business. …

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