SMALL businesses on the Sunshine Coast are more optimistic about their economic growth prospects, according to new research.
The exclusive Westpac Group-CCIQ Pulse Survey of Business Conditions for the September quarter showed many encouraging signs for the region.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland senior policy advisor of advocacy Kate Whittle said business performance for the Sunshine Coast economy had been strong in the past three months and was at a higher level than any other region in Queensland.
She said the fall in the Australian dollar had boosted tourism and broader economic activity, while a fairly buoyant construction and property market had brought people to the region.
“Confidence in the Sunshine Coast rose by an impressive 10 percentage points to 48.5,” Ms Whittle said.
“This is partly accounted for by the weaker Australian dollar creating a ‘double shot’ for businesses attracting both overseas and domestic tourists.”
More than 750 small businesses across the state were polled.
“Sunshine Coast businesses have responded positively to the change of federal leadership, with Malcolm Turnbull taking over from Tony Abbott in early September,” Ms Whittle said.
CCIQ also noted that businesses had responded encouragingly to closer ties between Canberra and Queensland, with a host of major projects, including Bruce Hwy upgrades and rail, back on the table.
“Confidence in the Queensland economy has moderated, but remains at a fragile level,” Ms Whittle said, of the September quarter results.
“It has consolidated despite the continued resource downturn and drought weighing on business minds.
“State government debt levels, rising business costs and stalled spending on infrastructure continue to feature as a concern for business.
“Businesses have reported lower profitability, in part because of persistently high labour costs, greater competition and slower revenue growth.”
Business performance overall was mixed with conditions rising marginally over the September quarter.
“Interestingly, businesses continue to appear more willing to seek new sources of revenue and reposition their businesses in response to changing trading conditions,” Ms Whittle said.
“There is optimism for the December quarter with forecast improvements across all key performance indicators, including stronger profit growth and continued moderation of labour costs.
“Confidence for the December quarter is encouraging with momentum building with the lead-up to the peak retail and tourism seasons.”
Westpac Group’s Jamie Ritchie, state general manager for small business banking, was pleased with the Pulse results.
“It is encouraging to see small business confidence in Queensland consolidate over the last quarter, which should continue into the holiday period,” Mr Ritchie said.
“When speaking with small business customers they are seeing encouraging signs for the outlook of the state economy, including improvements in housing data, a lower Australian dollar, and a positive employment trend boding well as businesses gear up for the upcoming peak retail and tourism seasons.”
Ms Whittle said the weaker Australian dollar had helped boost sales and revenue especially in the tourism and export-orientated sectors but headwinds persist.
Palmview’s largest masterplanned community releases land and park ahead of schedule
A SUNSHINE COAST developer has fast-tracked the latest land release to meet demand from locals and interstate sea-changers.
AVID Property Group general manager Queensland Bruce Harper said their development Harmony was the largest masterplanned community in Palmview, which is about 85km north of Brisbane.
He said they released the latest neighbourhood Unity, which brought 34 more blocks of land, ranging in size from 250sq m to 505sq m, to meet the demand.
“Residential property demand is surging in the region and as prices continue to rise, buyers are increasingly looking for affordable land options in desirable locations,” Mr Harper said.
“Over the past year, demand in the region has grown exponentially as more people look to build their own homes in well-known property ‘hot spots’.”
Along with the early land release, AVID Property Group opened the community space Grand Linear Park three months ahead of schedule.
Mr Harper said the park was five times the size of other standard parks on the Sunshine Coast.
“The Grand Linear Park will serve as a catalyst for wellbeing and connectivity for residents and tourists alike,” he said.
The first $3.1 million phase consists of 2ha of community space and features three separate play areas for locals to explore.
A set of six swings, two table tennis tables and a 30.2m multi-play structure with a slide, spider’s web, swinging ropes and stepping stones was available for children of all ages and abilities.
According to Queensland Government’s Queensland Regional Profiles — Sunshine Coast Local Government Area, April 2017, Sunshine Coast’s population is projected to grow from about 311,550 to 453,000 by 2036.
Once complete, Mr Harper said Harmony would account for more than 4800 homes for about 12,000 of those future residents.
“Our new neighbourhood will encourage residents to stay active right on their doorstep with extensive walking and bike trails, a 5ha recreation park and a 1ha local park,” he said.
Sunshine Coast local Alyssa Jackson and her partner James Newcombe who recently moved up from Canberra, have just purchased a block of land in Harmony and hope to move into their new home in early 2019.
“It’s pretty competitive to purchase a block of land at Harmony; there were other buyers lining up for almost two hours before the Sales Centre even opened,” Ms Jackson said.
“Harmony’s location was what really encouraged us to purchase in the area — the proximity to the highway, University of the Sunshine Coast, hospital and the shops in the Maroochydore CBD make it a very convenient location to live.”
Ms Jackson said they wanted to enter the property market as soon as possible and decided to build a brand-new home so they could take advantage of the First Home Owners’ Grant.
“We wanted to get into the property market so that we could pay off a mortgage rather than continue to pay money renting,” she said.
Sunshine Coast Golf Course with Approval for 260 Lots Hits the Block
The 160-hectare Pelican Waters Golf Course site, which was acquired in 2004 by a Melbourne family that wishes to remain anonymous, has hit the market after receiving development approval for a new residential precinct in the area.
Approved by the Sunshine Coast Council in 2017, the “Lakes Edge” residential precinct is earmarked for 211 residential lots and three medium-density sites subdivided to create up to 259 lots over 20-hectares.
Designed to be delivered over four stages, with stage one approvals in place for 60 lots the development was subject to some controversy by local residents opposing the development.
The residential development was put forward by the owners of the site as a solution to lacklustre turnover at the golf course.
CBRE’s Brendan Robins and Rem Rafter are marketing the asset.
Robins said the property represented an outstanding opportunity to capitalise on the strong demand for quality land and housing in a sought-after area of the Sunshine Coast.
“Lakes Edge offers a diverse range of staged development options, including a large-scale retirement community, which take advantage of the area’s tranquil, picturesque and secure setting.”
Despite being named the top course on the Sunshine Coast by Golf Digest Magazine, documents submitted to council outlined concerns with the club’s profitability.
“Independent forecasts conclude that Pelican Waters Golf Club will not generate an acceptable level of commercial return for at least seven to 10 years,” the proposal said.
Located five minutes to Caloundra and 90 kilometres from Brisbane, population growth in the Pelican Waters area grew 24.5 per cent over the five years to 2016.
The property is being offered for sale via expressions of interest closing 8 August 2018.
Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Program Kicks Off
The first sod has today been turned on the construction of the new runway as part of the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project, the Sunshine Coast Council informs.
Sunshine Coast Mayor, Mark Jamieson, was joined by Federal Member for Fairfax, Ted O’Brien MP, State Member for Maroochydore, Fiona Simpson MP, and representatives of the John Holland Group and Sunshine Coast Airport Pty Ltd to mark the commencement of the construction program.
With work started, the new runway will be completed by Christmas 2020, the council said.
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson (left), Federal Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien (center) and John Holland Project Manager Berry Freshney
Mayor Jamieson said that the $303 million airport expansion was the Sunshine Coast Council’s single largest construction project and would deliver a wealth of benefits to the region.
“Having this greater capability will unlock more tourism opportunities, new international trade prospects and will provide the springboard our export businesses need to get their products and services to markets faster and more efficiently,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“The new longer, wider runway will enable direct access to new markets in Asia, the Pacific and other locations in Australia which cannot currently be serviced with direct flights to and from the Sunshine Coast.
“The Airport Expansion Project is also forecast to contribute $4.1 billion to the Sunshine Coast economy through to 2040 and revolutionize access to and from one of Australia’s fastest growing regions.”
From mid-year, a vessel from contractors Dredging International will dredge one million cubic meters of sand from the Spitfire Realignment Channel in Moreton Bay.
After making its way north, the sand will then be pumped from the vessel moored off Marcoola, onto the project site via a pipeline that will run underneath David Low Way.
Ahead of the start of dredging, the project team’s focus has been on protecting the land and sea environment, and ensuring community safety during the dredging works.
According to the council’s announcement, the project team will be speaking directly with local residents and stakeholders in the coming weeks to keep them informed of the timeline.
The Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project is being supported by loans from the Australian Government and the Queensland Treasury Corporation, which will be repaid from the proceeds that Council receives from its commercial partner, Palisade Investment Partners, in 2022.
Image source: sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au
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