Sunshine Coast, about 100km north of Brisbane, is a diverse subtropical region with beautiful beaches, lush hinterland and scenic mountains. It has a strong and growing economy, competitive business conditions, accessibility to major national and international markets and a quality lifestyle.

Economy and infrastructure

Sunshine Coast has a highly skilled and educated workforce, a focus on innovation, an increasingly diverse economy, accessibility to major national and international markets and well-planned areas for business growth.

The Sunshine Coast’s growing economy is historically dominated by four main sectors – tourism, leisure, construction and retail. However, it continues to diversify, with a number of developing industry sectors including education, agribusiness, aviation and clean technologies.

Priority economic development sectors for the region include health and wellbeing, education and research, tourism and events, professional and knowledge services, agriculture and food, aviation innovation, health and wellness and clean technology.

The health, research and education sectors feature prominently in the economy, with the Sunshine Coast University Hospital precinct featuring research centre and clinical trials facility. Education and research capabilities on the Sunshine Coast are also linked with the University of the Sunshine Coast, TAFE Queensland, Queensland Health and Griffith University partnering to provide tertiary education and training for doctors and medical students.

The region nurtures high potential industry sectors towards global competitiveness by optimising major projects. For instance, Sunshine Coast Airport has now expanded to service both domestic and international passengers.

Industry growth areas

As one of Australia’s top 10 significant urban areas, the Sunshine Coast is a leading city region of the 21st century.

Sunshine Coast is one of the most exciting business destinations in Australia, delivering a natural advantage to business. It is also being recognised as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. These factors combine to allow business on the Sunshine Coast an outstanding opportunity to succeed.

The range of business opportunities in the region include:

  • aviation
  • clean technology
  • creative industries
  • digital industries
  • education services
  • food and beverages
  • health and wellbeing
  • light industries
  • professional services
  • sport and leisure
  • tourism and events.

Tourism

A broad range of tourism experiences are available throughout the region, from outdoor adventures and paddock-to-plate dining in the Hinterland and Glasshouse Mountains, through to the surf and sand of coastal areas from Caloundra to Noosa. Tourism is strong and growing, with more 300,000 international visits in 2017.

Health and innovation

The health, research and education sectors feature prominently in the regional economy, with the Sunshine Coast University Hospital precinct including a research centre, clinical trial facility and the Sunshine Coast Health Institute, providing a range of educational tools and training to develop the skills of doctors, nurses, allied health workers, health professionals and vocational students.

As well, the Sunshine Coast has a large following in its innovation and start up cluster groups supporting businesses that boost the local economy and providing several learning laboratories across digital, cleantech, creative and health-related industries for students, businesses and entrepreneurs.

The region’s Innovation Centre is a hub for entrepreneurs, innovative enterprises and mature start-ups that holds $36 million in capital.1

International education and training

The University of the Sunshine Coast’s new Moreton Bay campus may support an extra 10,000 students in the region.2 Combined with the relaxed lifestyle, the region is already attracting over 4,000 international students annually.3

International education and training interests in the region are serviced by the Study Sunshine Coast regional study cluster supported by TIQ.

Food and agribusiness

The Sunshine Coast’s agribusiness industry is characterised by a diverse range of sectors including horticulture, dairy and specialty dairy production, seafood, nurseries and value-add producers.4

The region has year-round favourable climatic conditions that are ideal for food production, with rich soils, a clean water supply, water security and relatively high and reliable rainfall. As well, Mooloolaba has a world-famous fresh seafood industry including high quality prawns, scallops, spanner crabs and more.

Trade and investment services

The region is serviced by TIQ’s Sunshine Coast Office.

References

1Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast, 2020, ‘An ecosystem of support for entrepreneurs’, https://innovationcentre.com.au/, accessed July 2020.

2University of Sunshine Coast (USC), ‘Discover Australia’s newest uni campus’ https://www.usc.edu.au/study/life-at-usc/study-locations/usc-moreton-bay/the-usc-moreton-bay-campus, accessed July 2020.

3Deloitte Access Economics (2020), ‘International education and training snapshot, Sunshine Coast 2019’, report commissioned by Study Queensland.

4Sunshine Coast Council, Jun 2020, ‘Food and agribusiness’, https://invest.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/en/High-Value-Industries/Food-and-agribusiness, accessed July 2020.