Development figures contradict Premier’s criticisms
SUNSHINE Coast Council figures show development is on the increase despite an attack from Premier Campbell Newman on the council for not doing enough to encourage development.
The council released figures yesterday showing that 528 development lots were approved in the first quarter of the year, three fewer than were approved in 2013.
Development applications for the first quarter of the year are up 9% on the same quarter last year at 2262 and the number of building applications approved is up 10%.
Nearly 1150 building applications have been approved with an estimated construction value of $230 million - 30% more than 2013.
Mr Newman reportedly made comments with council representatives that the council was lagging behind the rest of the state in terms of construction and tourism.
He cited plans by Sekisui House to build apartments and a hotel at Yaroomba, outside of the current planning scheme, as a development being held up.
Deputy mayor Chris Thompson said a new planning scheme, a regional economic development strategy, and incentives had made it easier for business and development.
"That's seen business confidence increase, the fastest jobs growth in Queensland, and increased building approvals," he said.
Marian Kroon, president of Development Watch on the Sunshine Coast, said development was moving ahead on the Sunshine Coast and there was no need to vary the planning scheme.
"Contrary to Mr Newman's statements, the council statistics suggest development is moving ahead at quite a pace."
Mrs Kroon said Mr Newman was mistaken if he thought the Sekisui House would be good for the area or was what locals wanted.
Premier Newman and his MPs stood by his comments yesterday and said the Sunshine Coast was missing out on a building boom in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast..
"The feedback from within the industry is that the Sunshine Coast Council needs to do more to boost construction and jobs for the Coast," he said.
Sunshine Coast Business Council Sandy Zubrinich said the business community wanted to hear more progress from the council on "game changer" developments such as the Maroochydore principal activity centre.
Property Council of Australia state executive director Kathy MacDermott said the Sunshine Coast had been in a "negative manner" for years in head office boardrooms of national property investors.
She said that while the council figures for development approvals looked positive, the majority of applications were for carports, swimming pools and housing alterations.
"These are not the types of activities that generate large number of jobs and economic growth."
However, calculations show the 1147 building applications were worth an average of $200,000 each.
An average double carport kit costs $6000.