Ensuring good times ahead on the Sunny Coast for You and I
The new Sunshine Coast CBD and the rapidly-expanding reputation of the region as the place to do business is likely to attract bigger players in coming years.
The Sunshine Coast economy is one of the largest regional economies in Australia, with a current Gross Regional product of more than A$16 billion (2014-2015, AEC Group).
The economy is predicted to grow in a strong and sustainable pattern over the next 20 years to reach A$33 billion in 2033, accompanied by an increase in high-value employment, export and household income.
The Sunshine Coast’s industry base has broadened over the past decade, with growth in new industries such as education, healthcare and professional services.
The region’s top five industry sectors by total employment are health care and social assistance, retail, construction, accommodation and food services and education and training.
The current population of 298,000 is projected to grow to 470,000 by 2036, providing an ever-expanding local workforce to meet the needs of new business and industry as new investment takes place.
The presence of insurance giant Youi, with its head office and operational centre on the Sunshine Coast, has been a huge boon to the area.
The company, which is the Sunshine Coast's largest private sector employer, announced plans last year for a global HQ. Youi decided to relocate from its existing offices on the banks of Lake Kawana at Birtinya to the new 15,000sqm four-level facility near the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said he was delighted Youi had stayed in the region, with the $68 million first stage development expected to be completed by November.
"Youi has a very clear picture on the advantages of running an international business from the Sunshine Coast and that should prove an inspiration to many others about the locational advantages that our region offers,” Cr Jamieson said.
"Youi and Council have a strong relationship that goes back nearly 10 years, during which time their business has grown from an innovative start-up to become one of our region's major employers.
"Over that time, the Sunshine Coast has become one of the strongest performing regional economies in Queensland and enjoying some of the strongest levels of business confidence seen in the region's recent history.
"Youi's great success story shows that the Sunshine Coast offers strong opportunities to establish, grow and operate a global undertaking from our region.
"Most particularly - and on behalf of our community - our Council welcomes the new employment that Youi is generating both from the construction of their new headquarters and the expansion of their business.
"This not only stimulates confidence in our economy and for local businesses who are playing a role in this development, but also generates confidence in our community that greater employment opportunities are available locally."
The building will include a public outdoor plaza with a table tennis table, public recreational facilities, a park and café. It will eventually accommodate up to 3000 staff, with the first stage accommodating up to 1700.
At the time of announcement, the then Youi Group CEO, Howard Aron (pictured, right) said the commencement of the firm's new global headquarters was a boost for the whole business including its current 900 staff complement on the Sunshine Coast.
"We anticipate that around 1200 construction jobs alone will be created as a result of this stage one development which is a massive boost for the local economy.
"Employing so many local firms reinforces our commitment to the Sunshine Coast and it's great that we can spend this money locally."
Mr Aron said the second stage of construction would see a 10,000sqm wing added to the new headquarters, which will eventually accommodate up to 3000 staff members.
The Mayor said the Sunshine Coast offered major companies Australia’s first fully-integrated Smart City framework to deliver government services more effectively.