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Powell Media Release – Coast leaders invited to share their views on The Queensland Plan ahead of Brisbane Summit (20 September 2013)

In what will be the last Queensland Plan information session ahead of the Brisbane Summit in October, Member for Glass House, Andrew Powell MP, has today encouraged business and industry leaders from across the Sunshine Coast to share their views and opinions on the future of our region.

Mr Powell, who co-hosted the event with new Member for Fisher, Mr Mal Brough, saw the need to ensure he had given community and business leaders from across the Sunshine Coast every opportunity to express their unique perspective on the growth of our region and the key factors they see contributing to the future prosperity of the Sunshine Coast.

“The official survey response period ended on 30 August and much of the final data from across Queensland is still being collated to be presented at the summit in Brisbane on 9 and 10 October.

“Some of the initial ideas that were shared by residents of the Sunshine Coast up until the end of July, include increased investment in education, better protection of the natural environment and greater involvement in community activities.

“The purpose of today’s event is to share with attendees some of the key trends that have emerged from the survey results so far and to gauge whether the group think this is consistent with their views on the region.

“Many of the surveys have been completed by individuals so this exercise was important to harness the opinions of people who represent entire community groups or businesses in order to capture a more widespread cross section of views to present to the final Summit,” Mr Powell concluded.

Relevant data for Sunshine Coast region

Key points (23 July 2013): •           More males than females have responded (53%). •           The majority of responses have come from Baby Boomers (1946-1966) at 46%.

Statistics from responses to 23/07/2013

• In the context of living in the community, how do we move our focus from me to we? Community involvement – Drive community projects/helping others/Volunteering (19%); Community involvement – Block parties/community get togethers/More activities for the community (17%).

• How do we create and foster an education culture that teaches skills and values to meet global challenges and optimise regional strengths? Revise studies – make relevant to future needs/Greater personalisation of learning/interest driven/less standardised factory teaching (43%); Education at all levels – home/school/community – build pride (40%); practical rather than theoretical study – link to real world (31%). • How do we empower and educate individuals, communities and institutions to embrace responsibility for an active and healthy lifestyle? Education/teachings in schools – engrain early/instil discipline/stop cocooning kids (32%); Encourage involvement – wider community activities (31%); Financial Assistance eg Lower gym fees, assistance with kids sport activities (25%); Maintain and develop more facilities in regions; More infrastructure to encourage exercise e.g. paths/bike tracks (24%). • How do we structure our economy to ensure our children inherit a resilient future? Build and maintain a sound economic environment (25%); Greener focus – better protection of natural environment (25%); Better education – generational change/practical learnings (24%); Support and promote small business (21%); Focus on sustainability – not profit driven and greedy/greater good (21%); Strengthen the jobs market (20%). • How do we strengthen our economic future and achieve sustainable landscapes? Government planning and legislation – long term financial plans/relaxed red tape (28%); Conservation – e.g. water/produce/land (26%); Protect wildlife, green corridors and the natural environment (25%); sustainable solutions – eg solar power stations/recycling and pollution schemes (22%). • How do we attract and retain the brightest minds and ideas where they are most needed and capitalise on global opportunities? Invest in them – reward the brightest minds (31%); Appreciate those we have here – hold them high and others will follow (27%); Cut red tape to research (23%); invest in education and schools (22%); Establish Queensland as futuristic/open to innovation (20%).

Quotes

• Community is important, but I think as individuals we need to make more of an effort to contribute in society. I’m not sure a focus from “me to we” is a priority. Each person is individual and will decide to do what they decide to do. Their personality and character will establish what they want to do. I don’t think the government should make people move their focus. • I guess this starts at home and at school. Education for people to look at the bigger picture and see the greater good is essential for a community to move forward, therefore benefiting everyone in that community, including YOU. • “I think we is something that benefits me” is a social campaign • Educational focus is very old world mimicking Britain. We need to follow Finland, Sweden, Germany and other clever countries to help the best rise rather than just maintaining privilege. • We have the greatest ability to achieve this out of any of the states of Australia. Our beautiful and diverse environment across the state and our more reliable (mostly) weather is a natural conduit to an outdoors lifestyle. We definitely need to bring Sport back as a key part of the national and federal education curriculum with the same focus as that of literacy and numeracy. We should be finding more funding for sports programs at a district, regional and state level. We should be finding more funding to encourage kids to participate in sport at a great level. • Listen to people about their needs and perceived future needs. Tailor education and infrastructure to support these findings.

Ideas

• Bring back the technical schools…more support/encouragement for young people to be able to have a trade you can have a university degree and still not get a job…our tradies are a dying race. • Sporting club membership/fees/equipment should all be tax deductable to help encourage families to get their kids involved with sport. That encouraging of involvement is the parents responsibility not the governments. • Education. Rewards for those who do healthy activities and food lifestyles • We need to encourage the growth of regional areas. Why not encourage skilled labour and specialists to move to small areas through better tax breaks, housing and better working conditions. Some areas have this I know, but it’s not enough. Eg. If a doctor graduates from Uni and has a HECS debt of $60k, why not wipe that debt at the rate of say $15k per year if they move to a remote area (eg Longreach), plus give them housing and tax breaks.  Gives the new doctor a good start in their career and the town gets themselves a new doctor.  Who knows the doctor might like the joint and stay longer.  Same with Gov employees eg Police, teachers, nurses etc. These benefits should be on a sliding scale based on remoteness & need. • Look to hi-tech and agricultural industries where labour costs are not a key cost. • Balance, sustainable farming, tourism. • Instil in young people the idea of working for the country/community as a whole for great results. Not just for personal gain, which would follow anyway. • Offer incentives for innovative, sustainable business ventures. I believe there should also be incentives to encourage private landholders to invest in sustainable energy sources. • Create a Think Tank based in Brisbane with representation from all the universities in Queensland. Selection criteria should be based on accomplishment and expertise in chosen field.

[ENDS] 20 September 2013

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