THE Sunshine Coast Business Council has called for a regional strategy to attract investment from the burgeoning Asian market.
The call comes in the wake of the recent release of the Federal Government's 'Asian Century' White Paper, which outlined the need for a greater focus on Asia to secure Australia's future.
The policy document sets out 25 objectives for Australia to take advantage of the Asian boom by 2025 which are divided into five key areas: the economy, education and skills, commerce, regional security and culture.
SCBC chair, Sandy Zubrinich, said the White Paper confirmed the business council's view that the Sunshine Coast should be gearing its business attraction strategies towards Asia due to its rapidly expanding middle class.
"The Business Council has been calling on the Regional Council for some time to prepare an economic development strategy, supported by State Government, industry and business groups, that will allow us to maximise these opportunities," Ms Zubrinich said.
"We are in a strong position to take advantage of investment from Asia, particularly in the health, education, and tourism sectors, but we need to be proactive and strategic about pursuing it."
Ms Zubrinich said both immediate action and a long-term commitment were required from all levels of government and other institutions for Australia to succeed in the areas identified in White Paper.
She said while the document covered objectives beyond economic imperatives, the Business Council's primary focus was on the implications for the Sunshine Coast and how closer ties with Asia could help the region grow and prosper.
Ms Zubrinich pointed to the Coast's new $2 billion tertiary hospital which includes a world class Skills and Academic Research Centre on the site, the new CBD and the planned airport expansion as examples of projects that could potentially attract significant interest from Asian investors.
"We believe that fast tracking the airport expansion and introducing a planning scheme that encourages investment in key employment centres such as the airport precinct, the Maroochydore CBD and the Kawana health hub should be our immediate priorities," she said.
"We must move now to formulate an economic development strategy and action plan aimed at attracting investment from Asia to the Sunshine Coast."
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