Australian Cultural and Creative Activity: A Population and Hotspot Analysis: Sunshine Coast

Stuart Cunningham, Marion McCutcheon, Greg Hearn, Mark David Ryan, Christy Collis

Research output: Book/ReportReports


The Sunshine Coast (unless otherwise specified, Sunshine Coast refers to the region which includes both Sunshine Coast and Noosa council areas) is a classic regional hotspot. In many respects, the Sunshine Coast has assets that make it the “Goldilocks” of Queensland hotspots: “the agility of the region and our collaborative nature is facilitated by the fact that we're not too big, not too small - 330,000 people” (Paddenburg, 2019); “We are in that perfect little bubble of just right of about everything” (Erbacher 2019). The Sunshine Coast has one of the fastest-growing economies in Australia. Its population is booming and its local governments are working together to establish world-class communications, transport and health infrastructure, while maintaining the integrity of the region’s much-lauded environment and lifestyle. As a result, the Sunshine Coast Council is regarded as a pioneer on smart city initiatives, while Noosa Shire Council has built a reputation for prioritising sustainable development. The region’s creative economy is growing at a faster rate that of the rest of the economy—in terms of job growth, earnings, incomes and business registrations. These gains, however, are not spread uniformly. Creative Services (that is, the advertising and marketing, architecture and design, and software and digital content sectors) are flourishing, while Cultural Production (music and performing arts, publishing and visual arts) is variable, with visual and performing arts growing while film, television and radio and publishing have low or no growth. The spirit of entrepreneurialism amongst many creatives in the Sunshine Coast was similar to what we witnessed in other hotspots: a spirit of not necessarily relying on institutions, seeking out alternative income sources, and leveraging networks. How public agencies can better harness that energy and entrepreneurialism could be a focus for ongoing strategy. There does seem to be a lower level of arts and culture funding going into the Sunshine Coast from governments than its population base and cultural and creative energy might suggest. Federal and state arts funding programs are under-delivering to the Sunshine Coast.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBrisbane
PublisherQueensland University of Technology
Number of pages35
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


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