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.
Rare Corner Block Site in Sunshine Coast Health Hub Hits the Market
A large, centrally-located corner block opposite a modern, new $1.8 billion public hospital is certain to attract keen interest from developers seeking to become part of the Sunshine Coast’s booming health and wellbeing hub.
The 3600sq m property – lot 907 on the corner of Eccles and Florey Boulevards – is one of the best positioned, yet-to-be-developed sites within the Sunshine Coast Health Precinct in the flourishing suburb of Birtinya.
The health hub, anchored by the Sunshine Coast University Hospital set to grow to a 738-bed facility and accommodate 10,000 patients a year by 2021, represents Australia’s single largest investment in health infrastructure.
It will deliver billions of dollars to the regional economy, generate 16,000 ongoing jobs, and offer enormous investment opportunities for specialist and ancillary health businesses.
The massive Stockland-developed health hub is a two-minute drive to the developer’s $87 million Birtinya shopping centre, and only a kilometre or two from its Bokarina Beach residential, retail and tourism project, nearing completion right on the coast.
The property is being offered for sale by CBRE Sunshine Coast and Savills, two of the region’s leading commercial agents.
CBRE Sunshine Coast managing director Rem Rafter said it was a time of unmatched growth in and around Birtinya, and throughout the wider Sunshine Coast region.
“Development sites in outstanding high-profile positions like this rarely become available,” he said. “As the health hub expands, hundreds of homes are being built to accommodate residents taking up the thousands of new jobs on offer.”
As well as the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, which has quickly assumed the mantle of the region’s primary public hospital, the health precinct accommodates Ramsay Health Care’s Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital, and the $60.8 million Sunshine Coast Health Institute.
The 17ha Sunshine Coast Health Precinct is a magnet for ideas, a place where entrepreneurs and knowledge-economy firms are operating in an idyllic coastal setting with access to the world’s most modern technology.
It’s where teaching and research is carried out in a culture of innovation and excellence.
The Sunshine Coast’s Health Institute – just along Eccles Boulevard from Lot 907 – caters for more than 1000 medical, nursing and allied health students from TAFE Queensland East Coast and the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Here, research is being undertaken into diseases, trends and risk factors as well as treatment outcomes, patterns of care, and best practice health care systems.
A new clinical trials unit has just opened at the Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital to give patients access to new therapies – further evidence of the precinct’s importance as a research district of world standing.
Health is big business on the Sunshine Coast, with the industry employing more than 20,000 people to be the region’s largest employer. By 2033, the health and wellness industry is predicted to double its share of the employment market.
Huge investment in health infrastructure has been one of the major drivers of the Sunshine Coast economy over the past five years.
A recent Urbis report predicts that heavy spending on the health sector will continue into the next decade, leading to thousands of new jobs in the health care and social assistance industries.
The health and wellbeing industry is driving growth in all economic categories, ensuring a positive future not only for the sector, but for the entire Sunshine Coast.
Lot 907, with roughly equal frontages to Eccles Boulevard and Florey Boulevard, is suitable for the establishment of an eight-level building which would attract businesses with a connection to health care.
This could include health funds, medical products, pharmaceutical companies, research and development, pharmacies, gift and florist shops, banking and government agencies, or hospitality facilities.
The property is close to the major regional centres of Caloundra and Maroochydore, and within a few kilometres of the rapidly-growing residential communities of Harmony and Stockland’s Aura, where nearly 70,000 people are expected to make their home.
The property is for sale by offers of purchase, closing at 12pm, Wednesday, 7 August, 2019.
Foundry Development Site in Brisbane’s South Hits the Market
An expansive landholding occupied by an old foundry on Brisbane’s south side could be redeveloped from an industrial site into a residential and commercial precinct, subject to approvals.
The 16.22 hectare brownfield site in Runcorn, located 14 kilometres south of Brisbane’s CBD, will hit the market this month.
Global engineering business Bradken has owned and operated a foundry on the site, at 54A & 32 Bonemill Road, for more than 60 years, having purchased it in 1955.
Bradken, established in 1922, plans to close shop of its Runcorn Foundry in September.
The proposed masterplan for the site, dubbed “The Foundry” in homage to its soon-to-be previous use, would create a new precinct comprising a mix of industry.
Knight Frank’s Mark Clifford and Christian Sandstrom, who will run the expressions of interest campaign, says the proposed scheme has the potential to include an entertainment hub which could incorporate a cinema, tavern, supermarket and neighbourhood centre.
Clifford said the Runcorn property has received significant interest from both local and offshore buyers.
“The bulk of interest has been from residential-based development groups, with these buyers interested in converting the site from its current industrial use into a residential and commercial development, pending the appropriate zoning and development approvals,” Clifford said.
Sandstrom said the opportunity to purchase the Runcorn site was “rare”.
“Being one of the few remaining large brownfield sites close to public transport in Brisbane,” Sandstrom said.
“Many developers have been waiting for this site to hit the market[…]they have been keeping a watchful eye on it, and we expect buyer enquiry to be strong when the campaign officially launches.
“While it could retain its current industrial use, the far more likely – and almost certain – outcome is that it will be converted into any number of uses, including retail, commercial, allied health, aged care and retirement, residential and entertainment uses, subject to Brisbane City Council approval,” Sandstrom said.
The Runcorn site, which sits in close proximity of major centres including Upper Mt Gravatt and Sunnybank, is located near major arterial road the M1 and Logan Motorway.
The expressions of interest campaign starts 15 July and ends 22 August.
Stockland Sells 50pc Interest in Sunshine Coast Estate to CPG
Private developer Capital Property Group has snapped up a 50 per cent interest in Stockland’s largest masterplanned community, a 20,000 lot estate located on the Sunshine Coast.
Stockland says the major project has an end value of $5 billion, with the deal struck with billionaire Terry Snow’s CPG, representing a 30 per cent premium to book value.
Stockland chief executive Mark Steinert said the move was in line with its strategy to bring capital partners to invest with Stockland in delivering large scale projects.
“This is a long term investment given the life of the project,” Steinert said.
The Sunshine Coast estate, comprising 20,000 lots, is forecast to become home to 50,000 people over the next 20-to-30 years.
“Aura is one of the largest masterplanned communities in Australia… [CPG] will invest alongside us to continue the creation of an outstanding new city on the Sunshine Coast, combining affordable homes, retail town centres and business parks,” Steinert said.
Terry Snow’s Capital Property Group developed and owns the Canberra Airport. It also has a mixed-use project, Constitution Place, underway in Canberra’s CBD.
Snow joined the billionaire club in 2017, largely thanks to his smart investments, chiefly the Canberra airport, which he purchased in 1998 with a 99-year lease from the Federal government for $65 million.
And with the Sunshine Coast’s international airport development under way, Snow describes the Sunshine coast region as “an exciting growth area” in Australia.
“It will drive growth in the many industries that are expanding on the coast,” he said.
“When you couple that with the climate and the scale of Stockland’s vision, this is a long-term project that we are very excited to support.”
Stockland will continue to manage the development and delivery of the Aura estate, including the delivery of infrastructure to be rolled out under existing agreements with local and state government.
Steinert said partnerships like this would strengthen its balance sheet, and free up capital to invest in other counter-cyclical deals.
“Including our workplace and logistics development pipeline and additional residential community acquisitions,” he said.
While profit related to this transaction will be recognised in financial year 2020, the ASX-listed company is scheduled to release its full year results in August.
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