‘Collaborate and prosper’ the message for QLD councils

THERE is no "I" in team as far as south-east Queensland's councils are concerned when it comes to fuelling the region's economic growth.

That was a key message delivered by Brisbane Mayor Graham Quirk and Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson at the Sunshine Coast Futures Conference yesterday.

Speaking at the University of the Sunshine Coast's Innovation Centre, the two projected an air of togetherness while espousing the benefits of a collaborative approach to economic development.

Mr Quirk said: "We have a wonderful region to offer and we need to work as a collective to make sure that we maximise the opportunities that we have for economic growth.

"And we do that by growing the cake rather than fighting over the cake that's there.''

The south-east's Council of Mayors was established in 2005 to lobby the state and federal governments for infrastructure.

Cr Quirk said the organisation had morphed into an economic development cooperative that focused on tourism growth, fast-tracking planning approvals and strengthening ties with Asia-Pacific countries through sister city relationships.

Cr Jamieson said that while the cooperative approach was vital, it was "absolutely" essential that the Sunshine Coast maintained its independence.

And with the population expected to increase by 150,000 to about half a million in 20 years, it was crucial economic development was balanced against maintaining the Coast's green credentials.

Cr Jamieson described keeping the same level of green space while growing the economy as the council's "great challenge".

"I believe it can be done and council's very committed to do that because that is our great asset," he said.

Other guest speakers yesterday included urban planning expert Professor Mario Polèse of Canada's University of Quebec and former Queensland Trade Commissioner Andrew Craig.

USC pro vice-chancellor for engagement Professor Mike Hefferan said delegates would come away with a better understanding of how the links, relationships and networks operate and how they can be developed.

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