Plans to rebuild the region are being tossed up. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.
Plans to rebuild the region are being tossed up. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.

Action plan to kickstart Coast's virus recovery revealed

AS INDUSTRIES across the region set their focus on rebuilding, a blueprint for action has emerged.

After canvassing the views of industry leaders around the Coast, a series of measures have been identified to try and help get our region back on its feet.

There's no doubt action will have to be taken.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data revealed there had been a 10.2 per cent reduction in payroll jobs registered on the Coast from March 14 to April 18 this year.

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Data collated by Australian Development Strategies mapping the changes to the labour force inflicted by the pandemic showed how badly hit the region had been.

In Noosa Heads, the data showed 178 jobs had been lost as a result of the virus - almost 10 per cent of total people employed as at the 2016 Census, and 9.81 per cent of wages had been lost.

In Noosaville, 308 jobs (8.84 per cent) had been lost, along with 9.17 per cent of wages.

Nambour had suffered 512 job losses (6.17 per cent loss) and 7.5 per cent of the $10.2 million total wages in 2016 were tipped to have been lost due to the virus.

In Maroochydore-Kuluin, 665 jobs had been lost (7.69 per cent down) and 8.4 per cent of wages in the region lost.

Palmwoods (305 jobs and 7.81 per cent of wages lost), Caloundra West (602 jobs and 7.85 per cent of wages lost) and Caloundra-Kings Beach (200 jobs and 8.5 per cent of wages lost) indicated the pain had been widespread across the region.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: Attila Csaszar
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: Attila Csaszar

Sunshine Coast Business Council chairwoman Sandy Zubrinich last week called on the State Government to reconsider its state border closures until September.

She said it was "clear that the immediate health crisis has abated" but it was disappointing that the State Government was set to contradict the advice from the Federal Chief Medical Officer.

"We understand the need to protect Queenslanders from the pandemic. However, the impact of the virus on our economy is already apparent and over a further extended period may be the nail in the coffin for many in the private sector," Ms Zubrinich said.

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"The reality is that we are not going to eradicate COVID-19 and it will remain active within the community until a vaccine is found. It is therefore a risk we need to learn how to manage collectively.

"Our hospitals have had time to prepare to respond to outbreaks, which are probable, so our priority now has to be reigniting our economy, with particular focus on sectors like tourism that have been devastated over recent months."

She said tourism operators, part-time and casual workers could be supported by a reopening of the state border, having accepted that international tourism remained "out of bounds for the foreseeable future".

She said the private sector had felt the brunt of the restrictions and their impact on businesses.

"There comes a point where all three levels of government need to firmly focus on the economic crisis that COVID-19 has created, much in the same way as we all united to respond to the health crisis," Ms Zubrinich said.

"That time is now."

15-POINT PLAN TO KICKSTART COAST'S RECOVERY:

1. Ease restrictions on licensed venues, cafes, businesses

2. Consider overhaul of retail trading hours

3. Review stamp duty, payroll, registration and other taxes across major industries

4. Fast-track infrastructure

5. Develop clear plan for the lifting of restrictions

6. Review planning and approval processes

7. Assess viability of $40,000 new homes grant

8. Identify new opportunities in manufacturing, innovation and Defence

9. Explore ways to support hard-hit universities

10. Extend intrastate travel beyond 250km for June-July school holidays

11. Identify and invest in local tourism projects

12. Consider forming a bipartisan recovery committee

13. Fast-track decisions on Queensland mining projects

14. Remove fringe benefits tax on restaurant, pub, club meals for business and sole traders

15. Develop commercial strategy for iconic beaches


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