Image: Suzane Jones
Sunshine Coast Council and the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) have been working together to advance the region’s environmental, community and economic interests through a Regional Partnership Agreement.
The agreement is a commitment from both parties to work collaboratively on key research and engagement projects that will achieve measurable and sustainable outcomes for the Sunshine Coast, with a particular focus on mutual interests.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said council has a long-standing collaborative arrangement with the USC for partnering on projects that would provide benefits for our community and achieve our vision of Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart, creative.
“Council has been working closely with USC under this Regional Partnership Agreement since August 2017 and there are currently eight research projects underway,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“One such project focuses on ‘Valuing our Natural Environment’ and seeks to develop a comprehensive understanding of the function and services provided by our natural assets and ecosystems.
“Our natural environment is a defining feature of the Sunshine Coast and council’s Environment and Liveability Strategy seeks to maintain our natural environment and liveability, while supporting diverse social opportunities and sustainable economic growth.
“This project will identify how our natural assets contribute to our economy, health and well-being, local and regional amenity and liveability.
“Understanding our natural environment and the way it adds value to the Sunshine Coast will help inform complex decision-making, future policy development and support our continued need to invest in the region’s natural assets.
“This project will provide valuable insights and is an important part of our journey towards delivering a healthy environment and liveable Sunshine Coast by 2041.”
USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Bartlett said the Sunshine Coast looked set to become an economic powerhouse for both Queensland and Australia during the post-COVID recovery and into the future.
Professor Bartlett said the collaboration between USC and the council as part of the Regional Partnership Agreement would give the region a distinct advantage as it prepares for a larger population, a greater demand for services, and the establishment of more businesses and industries.
“The ‘Valuing our Natural Environment’ project in particular will provide a holistic picture of the diverse connections between businesses, residents, visitors, and the natural environment here on the Sunshine Coast,” she said.
“This research will lead to a much better understanding of how our region’s natural assets contribute to our economy, and reinforce the need to protect, maintain and enhance them for future generations.”
A coordinating committee including three council and three USC senior staff oversees the delivery of these projects.
Council and USC are currently collaborating on eight projects under the Regional Partnership Agreement.
The ‘Valuing our Natural Environment’ research project will be completed by June 30, 2022.
The current phase of the Regional Partnership Agreement is active for four years.