The Sunshine Coast suburb turning heads as Coast’s economy comes into view
With multi-million-dollar companies moving in a Sunshine Coast suburb is quickly becoming the epicentre of the region’s business
landscape, but where does the Coast’s economy stand?
A decade on from the implementation of the Sunshine Coast Council’s Natural Advantage: Regional Economic Development
Strategy, the Sunshine Coast’s economy has grown by $7.7 billion with Caloundra emerging as a main contributor.
But annual report data show some high-value industries, identified in the strategy are lagging.
Three of the seven high-value industries including aviation and aerospace, tourism, Sport & Leisure and Knowledge & Professional
Services have suffered a decrease in their gross value while the remaining four have grown.
Agribusiness is among the industries that have experienced growth increasing from $467.9 million of gross value added in 2014 to
$536 million in 2022.
Sunshine Coast business Country Chef who has noticed an influx of agribusiness on the Sunshine Coast is moving their
manufacturing to Caloundra with the completion of their new $30 million base.
The 25,790 square metre facility is the equivalent size of 99 tennis courts or 21 Olympic size swimming pools and is expected to
bring employment opportunities and a possible future economic benefit of $102.5 million to the Caloundra and Sunshine Coast
Country Chef Chief People Officer Lucie Tunwell said Caloundra offered the best landscape for their business’s growth and
provided a possible solution to workforce challenges sparked by a lack of affordable housing.
“We have been experiencing the staff shortages for a couple of years now and have probably been hiring people we wouldn’t
usually, but Aura is around the corner from our new site so it might bring another form of candidates,” she said.
Ms Tunwell said Caloundra also offered the best footprint and access to major road infrastructure.
Country Chef isn’t the only business making the move to Caloundra.
Kilcoy Global Foods last year unveiled a $50m plan to build a food manufacturing factory in Caloundra’s Corbould Park, creating
300 new jobs.
The company is also hoping to curb workforce shortages at the Caloundra site by revealing plans to develop homes, a clubhouse, a
gym and options for eating out on the land surrounding its abattoir.
With five out of six new Sunshine Coast residents moving to the Caloundra region its population is expected to grow from 99,669
in 2021 to 187,065 in 2041.
Aura is a huge contributor to the suburb’s growth with a growth rate of 5.6% and 29,844 residents by 2041
The potential workforce in Aura stands out across the region with a quickly growing population and a younger demographic
observed in an average age of 32.7 years.
Caloundra is quickly establishing itself as a popular home to business owners with 9,254 businesses as of 2022 while Nambour and Maroochydore are home to 4,862 and 8,308 businesses.
Implemented in 2013, the REDS Strategy provided a 20-year vision and blueprint for sustainable economic growth on the Sunshine
According to REDS Strategy Annual Report data, the knowledge & Professional Service industry’s job opportunities decreased from
21,044 employees in 2014 to 16,890 jobs last year.
The industry’s value to the economy also reduced from $2,892.20 million in 2014 to $2,327 million in 2022.
The number of jobs and value in the aviation and tourism sectors also decreased.
Chamber President Michael Shadforth said he believed the Covid-19 pandemic was to blame for the industries’ decrease.
“Since the end of the Covid-19 pandemic we have noticed a sharp bounce back in the Aviation, Tourism and Professional Services
space,” he said.
“For example, the Sunshine Coast Airport is in a period of impressive growth with the launch of Bonza.”
The strategy’s goal is to reach an economy worth $33 billion which is $11.5 billion more than the current by 2033.
It comes as the Sunshine Coast Council readies for a new REDS Strategy after a 10-year review.
Mr Shadforth said there was only one question when looking at the new strategy “what can we do to unlock Caloundra’s and the
Sunshine Coast’s economy?”
He said the answer was effective planning and transport solutions as well a thriving night-time economy to ensure our region can
attract and retain talent.
“We know that 33% of the Sunshine Coast’s residents who moved here in the past 12 months are retired and do not participate in
the workforce so we need to attract a workforce who can help grow our high-value industries,” he said.
Mr Shadforth said a key factor in attracting the workforce to our region was creating available and affordable housing.
“We need to sustainably develop a mixed supply of appropriate dwellings so we can provide housing for our current and future
population,” he said.
“Caloundra is home to undeveloped land, but we need to ensure that sustainable development occurs in identified areas such as
the economic corridor, Halls Creek and Beerwah East.”