Sunshine Coast at 550,000 residents

Sunshine Coast planned to grow to over Half a Million Residents

The Sunshine Coast is set to become the home of tech-savvy millennial’s, astute businesses and young families in a major transformation

This transformation will re-set its leisurely seaside image according to Bernard Salt, Australia’s leading demographer

With an estimated 550,000 people living in the area by the year 2040, Sunshine Coast will continue its evolving transition attracting entrepreneurial business and career people and highly educated citizens coming into Sunshine Coast to fill new jobs in the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, the building of SunCentral in Maroochydore, the infrastructure development in the new planned city of Aura or the expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport connecting Sunshine Coast to the rest of Australia and fast growing Asia

Your opportunity to Invest is certainly now

KEY SITE: The Maroochydore CBD future vision.
Maroochydore CBD future vision – SunCentral

EXCLUSIVE: ONE of Australia’s leading demographers has tipped massive growth in the number of young couples shifting to the Sunshine Coast to live, work and raise families in the next 20 years.

Bernard Salt released his report, The Activated City: Imagining the Sunshine Coast in 2040, in Brisbane recently, unveiling expected growth in both young people and the elderly in the region attracted by its entrepreneurial spirit, “hipster” culture and connectivity.

He’s tipped the Coast’s population to grow from about 350,000 today to about 550,000 by 2040 and by the year 2036 Mr Salt forecast the number of Coast children aged between 0-14 to have grown by 27,000.

The number of people aged between 30 and 49 is also tipped to swell by 34,000 in the same time frame.

His report indicates there will be strong growth in families in the region, while the number of people in the age brackets 50-64 and 65-74 will grow more slowly than they have in the last 20 years, meaning a positive shift in demographics for The Sunshine Coast.

Mr Salt said the growth in “family formation” on the Coast would be driven by thousands of “knowledge worker” jobs in the new Maroochydore CBD and Kawana health precinct.


Bird's eye view, Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
Bird’s eye view, Sunshine Coast University Hospital

He believed growth in the technology, aviation and renewable energy sectors would also draw more workers to the region and help take the population breakdown closer to that of a typical Australian city.

“Instead of gravitating to the Sunshine Coast in retirement, as has been the case for a generation, in the future Aussies will be attracted to the Coast in household formation,” Mr Salt said.

“The old structure gives way to the new; the Coast loses its retirement tag and re-emerges as an active and energetic city more interested in active as opposed to passive sports.”

“By 2040 the Sunshine Coast has sufficient critical mass that its own ‘demographic’ converges upon the Australian average. The Coast’s culture shifts; it is a demographic outlier no longer.”

Mr Salt said direct flights from Maroochydore into Asia, expected from the expanded Sunshine Coast Airport from 2020, would see the region become as connected to Asian markets as it was to the rest of the country.

He said significant economic and social shifts triggered by the creation of the new CBD at Maroochydore, the expanded airport and the Sunshine Coast University Hospital will accelerate in the coming decades.

“The results will be a Sunshine Coast that is not just bigger, but also younger, more highly educated and entrepreneurial,” Mr Salt said.

“The Sunshine Coast is awakening from a long and cosy period of hibernation.

“The city is being ‘activated’ by investments in infrastructure such as its new hospital precinct and the building of an international airport runway.

“The development of an entirely new CBD in the heart of the Sunshine Coast at Maroochydore will provide a vital ecosystem in which business, as well as leisure and the arts, will thrive.”

Mr Salt said footloose businesses that can operate from any location would be attracted by the technology, lifestyle, cost and connectivity while university-educated millennial’s would team up with second generation CEOs – baby boomers who retired to the Sunshine Coast and kicked off new start-up businesses in the fertile grounds of the region.

“Parents in the future will happily invest their lives in the community knowing their children won’t be forced to move elsewhere to pursue their dreams because, finally, the Sunshine Coast will have arrived,” Mr Salt said.

Mr Salt predicts that by 2040 the Sunshine Coast and its new CBD will have benefited from a range of new social and economic developments, including:

• An influx of ‘footloose’ businesses able to relocate thanks to technological change and attracted by the Sunshine Coast’s enviable lifestyle and environment.

• A diversification of the economy into sectors including technology, aviation, renewable energy and professional services.

• New flight connections with major Asian-Pacific cities, which will boost exports, increase tourism and drive the growth of high-quality education and health services.

• Growth of the already strong entrepreneurial sector, driven by ‘Second Generation CEOs’ – baby-boomer retirees still keen to put their money and skills to work.

• An increase in “knowledge workers’” and tech-savvy young people, attracted by higher education expansion and the emergence of new start-ups.

• The subsequent rise of a thriving ‘hipster’ culture and the emergence of the Sunshine Coast as a significant artistic and cultural hub.

• A huge increase in population from around 350,000 today to 550,000 in 2040, with young families and children among the fastest-growing demographic groups.

To achieve this growth the Sunshine Coast will have to build the equivalent of a new suburb every 14 months and a new school every two years, as well as new infrastructure.

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said the region was up to the challenge.

“We have always taken the view that we will shape the future, not simply react to it,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Our Regional Economic Development Strategy sets out a bold but achievable plan to build a $33bn economy by 2033, with 100,000 new jobs in high-value industries, 20 per cent of our goods and services exported and household incomes above the Queensland average.

“The creation of an entirely new CBD at Maroochydore is one of the ways in which we are setting this new course for the Coast.

“Bernard Salt describes the new CBD as the ‘missing link’ that will transform the Coast and deliver jobs and growth for decades to come. He is absolutely right.”

SunCentral is driving the construction of the new CBD on a 53-hectare greenfield site in the heart of Maroochydore.

SunCentral CEO John Knaggs said the Activated City report justified the confidence business has already shown in the CBD project, which will ultimately create an estimated 30,000 new jobs.

“The vision of the future described by Bernard Salt is enthralling – but it is built on very realistic expectations of the success the Sunshine Coast has already enjoyed,” Mr Knaggs said.

“The first wave of private sector interest in the new CBD includes projects with a construction cost of more than $400m that would result in new job opportunities for local workers.

“Our beautiful region is evolving in ways that will enrich the lives of the whole community and the new CBD will be at the very heart of the Sunshine Coast’s exciting future.”

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