Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Getting the Balance Right; Think Tank on Growth, Environment

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Getting the Balance Right; Think Tank on Growth, Environment

Article excerpt

Byline: Sandy Zubrinich Council Chair

IN MID-2015 the Sunshine Coast Business Council (SCBC) announced it was going to hold a number of think tank sessions to address the ongoing struggle the region faces in balancing development and growth with the protection of our environmental assets.

While the decision to host these sessions was met initially with some scepticism, SCBC was able to bring together some of the Sunshine Coast's most influential stakeholders to contribute to the discussion, including academics, special interest groups, representatives from the development industry and Noosa and Sunshine Coast councils. The brief was clear: no topic was off limit and our focus was on looking to the future and determining how we could collectively improve the quality of development, build a thriving and forward-thinking economy and protect our treasured environment.

After much insightful discussion, I'm pleased to advise we came away with four sound outcomes and a commitment from all parties to meet the challenges set.

Firstly, there was agreement between the special-interest groups and the development industry representatives in attendance to continue regular dialogue to better understand each other's point of view.

Secondly, it was agreed to continue the current research and reporting practices surrounding the set of 20 sustainability indicators chosen to provide a broad-based view of the region's health across a number of areas such as biodiversity, renewable energy, health, transport, food, waste and economic diversity. The sustainability indicator report was originally commissioned by the Sunshine Coast Council in response to the 2012 Community Plan and was undertaken by the Sustainability Research Centre of the University of the Sunshine Coast.

We are grateful that both Sunshine Coast and Noosa councils have indicated their willingness to continue to sponsor the report, with the next update planned for release by the end of March 2016.

We understand there was strong community support for this research in 2012 and we are confident the community will continue to recognise its value moving forward. …

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