Phase two engagement is now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated and shared their feedback.

Council adopted the Environment and Liveability Strategy in September 2017 (ELS) to provide long-term strategic direction to guide growth and shape the Sunshine Coast for future generations to 2041.

Now in its 6th year of implementation, the ELS is being refreshed to ensure it remains future focused and continues to provide a contemporary approach.

We sought your input into the process via two phases of engagement:

  • Phase one (May 2023): To understand what you saw as the emerging issues for the region and the priority actions - Completed. A summary of feedback received during phase one is available here.
  • Phase two (21 July – 13 August 2023): To provide feedback on the proposed changes.

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Next Steps

Council will consider feedback received and a summary will be made available in September 2023.

A draft Strategy (Part A: Strategic Directions and Part B: Implementation Plan) will be presented to Council for consideration in late 2023.

Community Information Session - Phase Two

Proposed changes

Proposed changes

The below provides a summary of the proposed changes to Part A: Strategic Directions and Part B: Implementation Plan.

Part A - Strategic Directions

Part A of the Strategy sets clear and integrated strategic directions. It contains background information, a vision, guiding principles and three interdependent sections which include a suite of themes to shape and support growth over the next 20-25 years. The current structure and framework of the document will remain.

Click on each of the 11 tiles to learn about the proposed changes for Part A.

Part B - Implementation Plan: Transformational Actions and Tasks

Part B is the implementation plan that outlines how the strategy will be progressed and a focus on important contributions to the strategic directions over next five years.

The proposed updates for Part B are:

1. Alignment of Council’s services (also known as service outputs) to the relevant theme/s within the Strategy:

  • Delivery of a healthy environment and liveable Sunshine Coast will not be achieved through just the implementation of the Strategy’s Transformational Actions and associated tasks.
  • Alignment of Council’s services to the strategy’s themes seeks to recognise the significant investment and contributions made each year through these activities.

2. Refinement of 26 Transformational Actions to 18 Transformational Actions:

  • Based on feedback received it is acknowledged that there is significant work required to respond to both the challenges and opportunities associated with the drivers of change as we work together to deliver a healthy environment and liveable Sunshine Coast.
  • The proposed reduction in Transformational Action seeks to maintain a focus on the important areas for action but also assist with prioritisation in annual delivery programs.

3. The updated task list reflects the priority tasks considered necessary to deliver on each Transformation Action across the next five years.

  • The development of the draft task list considered each existing task within the current version of the Strategy as well as new tasks required based on phase one outcomes and feedback. The tasks are an amalgamation of existing and new tasks providing a clear and concise implementation reflect current and emerging priorities.

The proposed Transformational Actions and Tasks are outlined below.

Press the arrow to see the tasks which are under each Transformational Action.

Strategic Pathway 1. A resilient region shaped by clever planning and good design

Securing and protecting the Regional Inter-urban Break and Sub-regional Inter-urban Breaks in perpetuity to frame our neighbourhoods, secure the environmental, production and recreation values and strengthen the identity of our community of communities.


1.1 Continue to promote the values of the Regional Inter-urban Break and advocate for its retention at the current extent and boundaries

1.2 Advocate for the containment of urban development to the defined urban footprint.

1.3 Continue to advocate and plan for the protection of the green frame provided by the Sub-Regional Inter-urban Breaks

1.4 Implement the Inter-urban Break Outdoor Recreation Plan in partnership with stakeholders

Embedding sustainable, liveable and affordable design into our built environment that celebrates the subtropical lifestyle of the Sunshine Coast and supports our growing community.


2.1 Implement the Sunshine Coast Design Strategy that celebrates our unique identity (inclusive of public realm, landscape corridors and streetscapes in compact and self-contained neighbourhoods

2.2 Develop and implement relevant guidelines including climate resilient and subtropical sustainable design, tools and standards to complement the Sunshine Coast Design Strategy

2.3 Plan and deliver excellence in sustainable design outcomes for council owned and managed assets

2.4 Develop metrics to support building assessments at the design stage and identify the reuse potential of materials to reduce carbon emissions and environmental impact

2.5 Continue to investigate and plan for the infrastructure requirements (active/public transport, stormwater, open space, social infrastructure and conservation)

2.6 Facilitate the accelerated uptake of renewable energy assets to reduce emissions, support affordability and community resilience

2.7 Investigate the establishment of a pilot eco-Neighbourhood that incorporates sustainable design that advances liveabiliity neighbourhood sustainability and affordable living options

2.8 Explore potential partnerships and work with industry, community and research institutions to recognise and promote excellence in sustainable urban and building design

Facilitating sustainable and affordable living options through urban transformation and self-contained communities supported by essential infrastructure.


3.1 Continue to refine council’s 2041 Growth Management Strategy with an emphasis on integrating land use and active/public transport outcomes

3.2 In consultation with the community, develop and implement an urban transformation strategy to support higher density living for the coastal corridor from Maroochydore to Caloundra

3.3 Create a street-scale demonstration project to showcase sustainability, good urban design and the benefits of higher density living in partnership with government and industry

3.4 Progress discussions with industry, government and community on housing diversity, design, barriers, innovation and affordable living options

Proactively responding to reduce our climate risk to increase the adaptive capacity and build the resilience of the region.


4.1 Develop an organisational climate risk mitigation framework and embed into our systems and processes to support an integrated response to localised climate hazards and associated risks

4.2 Investigate and plan for the impacts of cascading climate risks on our critical public infrastructure and service delivery

4.3 Implement the Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy in partnership with the community

4.4 Develop and implement an integrated Coastal Hazard Adaptation infrastructure planning program, including a Blue Heart Transition Plan

4.5 Develop an urban cooling strategy that incorporates urban greening initiatives to respond to risks associated with increased heat

4.6 Implement the Disaster Resilience Plan

4.7 Implement the Stormwater Management Strategy

4.8 Increase community access to information on risks, resilience and priorities for adaptation investment

4.9 Build capacity to plan and respond to the impacts of climate hazard events and minimise the associated risks

Delivering cool and shady streets and places to connect and enhance our neighbourhoods and promote biodiversity, resilience and community wellbeing.


5.1 Implement the Street Tree Master Plan

5.2 Implement the Recreation Parks Plan

5.3 Investigate the role and function of urban greening and incorporate into planning and decision making

5.4 Investigate feasibility of identifying 'green infrastructure' as a new appreciating asset class derived from the multiple benefits it provides to our community

5.5 Develop canopy cover targets and increase urban greening to support community health and wellbeing

Strategic Pathway 2. Protection and enhancement of our natural assets and distinctive landscapes

Connecting and protecting our valued habitat areas to support our native flora and fauna and providing the community with opportunities to participate in conservation and to experience the natural environment.


6.1 Strategically acquire environmental land to protect and enhance biodiversity values and ecological processes

6.2 Develop and implement conservation/management plans for key threatened and iconic species

6.3 Plan and deliver priority projects that support improved fauna movement

6.4 Continue to plan and deliver opportunities to connect with nature through the council managed environment reserve network

6.5 Deliver community conservation partnerships, education and stewardship programs

6.6 Develop and implement a vegetation offsets management and delivery program

Delivering healthy catchments that continue to support our lifestyle and livelihoods through integrated management, including reducing the impacts of sediment, nutrients and pollutants.


7.1 Deliver catchment management planning for the five major Sunshine Coast catchments

7.2 Design and implement a waterway health monitoring program for the Mary River

7.3 Plan and implement riparian, in-stream and wetland rehabilitation activities

7.4 Develop and implement a comprehensive Urban and Rural Erosion and Sediment Control Program

7.5 Develop and implement collaborative water quality improvement and pollution reduction projects

Identifying, understanding and planning for the defining landscapes, character and history of the Sunshine Coast to enable growth and development to be respectful and complementary for the future.


8.1 Document our Sunshine Coast landscape and character to inform planning

8.2 Work collaboratively with our traditional owners to recognise connection to country, protect values and knowledge, build stronger relationships and enrich our collective response for a sustainable future

8.3 Investigate opportunities to recognise, protect and celebrate the Sunshine Coast dark sky

Strategic Pathway 3. Responsive, accessible and well managed assets and infrastructure

Strengthen the economic base around our natural assets and distinctive landscape features by enhancing a network of nature-based and cultural experiences supported by overnight accommodation and day visitor options.


9.1 Continue to build our understanding of our natural assets and the services they provide as we advocate for and grow the natural economy

9.2 Undertake eco-tourism planning, investigate cultural tourism opportunities and promote in partnership with community, industry and government

Providing a strategic and coordinated approach to the protection, sustainable use and enjoyment of our dunes, beaches, rocky shores and near-shore marine waters.


10.1 Develop and implement a healthy coast management plan

10.2 Implement the Shoreline Erosion Management Plan

10.3 Undertake coastal rehabilitation activities in partnership with the community

10.4 Promote and celebrate beach culture and coastal values through community engagement and education

10.5 Implement a Healthy Coast Monitoring and Reporting Framework

Securing and activating space for future generations to improve conservation, flood mitigation and sport and recreation opportunities.


11.1 Plan, protect and manage our five major green spaces:

  • Blue Heart
  • Coast
  • Mountain View
  • Lower Mooloolah River
  • Regional Inter-urban Break

11.2 Progress planning and delivery of major sport and recreation precincts within identified green spaces

11.3 Implement the Network Blueprints and Desired Standards of Service to secure and embellish additional environmental, recreation and sporting land

11.4 Progress planning and delivery of the Sunshine Coast Ecological Park

11.5 Plan for and expand the recreation trails network

In partnership with industry and community develop a network of contemporary and accessible places and spaces that provide and support opportunities for creative, community and active/passive experiences.


12.1 Plan and deliver priority social infrastructure

12.2 Implement Network Blueprints and Desired Standards of Service in partnership to enhance public access spaces and services to meet demonstrated community need

12.3 Facilitate delivery of infrastructure for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games to ensure a strong legacy for the Sunshine Coast community

Providing a collaborative, effective and efficient response to the management of invasive plants and animals to reduce their social, economic and environmental impacts.


13.1 Implement the Sunshine Coast Local Government Area Biosecurity Plan

Strategic Pathway 4. Transitioning to a sustainable and affordable way of living

Supporting, enabling and inspiring the community to value the environment and play their part as we live, learn, work and play sustainably in our Sunshine Coast Biosphere.


14.1 Implement the Sunshine Coast Biosphere in partnership with the community including sustainability performance reporting

14.2 Promote a healthy environment and liveable Sunshine Coast throughout our community

14.3 Develop an effective model to deliver a coordinated behaviour change program to enhance community understanding and uptake of sustainable living practices

14.4 Develop a low carbon community plan in consultation with community, government, industry and research bodies

14.5 Investigate options to increase community investment in renewable energy transition projects

14.6 Promote and support urban backyard and balcony biodiversity and local food production programs, systems and initiatives

14.7 Investigate and develop engagement opportunities that support diversity and inclusion

Delivering a zero-net emissions organisation and transitioning to a renewable energy future.


15.1 Implement and report on the organisational zero-net emissions plan including progress towards reduction targets

15.2 Continue to deliver organisational awareness and education programs relating to emissions reductions

15.3 Pilot and implement feasible emission reduction and renewable energy projects for council operations and infrastructure

15.4 Expand Councils integrated clean energy program to support emissions reduction, community uptake and increase council’s financial sustainability

15.5 Facilitate and support the roll-out of a strategic electric vehicle charger network

15.6 Develop an organisational emissions offsetting policy

Strengthening our region’s sustainability vision by attracting and nurturing research and sustainable industries and businesses.


16.1 Leverage partnerships with business and research organisations to develop sustainable business opportunities

Delivering leading global best practices to maximise resource recovery, reduce waste and deliver low emission and circular economy outcomes.


17.1 Review and implement the Waste Strategy

17.2 Develop sustainable and feasible waste management projects and initiatives which are aligned with a circular economy and support emerging and complementary industries

17.3 Plan and deliver Food Organics Garden Organics collection services and investigate treatment and diversion opportunities that reduce waste to landfill and greenhouse gas emissions

17.4 Explore and implement feasible innovative waste recovery and treatment options, including waste to energy opportunities and partnerships

17.5 Deliver intuitive and engaging waste education services that will compliment and support sustainable waste management services

Enabling evidence-based decisions for a healthy environment and liveable Sunshine Coast.


18.1 Report annually on organisational environmental sustainability performance to inform business improvement

18.2 Undertake targeted monitoring, modelling, research and other data collection

18.3 Develop and maintain a user-friendly interface to enable the provision of accessible, current and accurate data

18.4 Maintain and enhance partnerships with research institutions, government and non-government organisations to grow our collective knowledge

18.5 Develop and trial new and emerging tools and technologies to improve knowledge, data capture and business integration


The Strategy

The Environment and Liveability Strategy is one of Council’s three regional strategies sitting alongside the Community Strategy 2019-2041 and Economic Development Strategy 2013-2033. The three strategies establish a long-term strategic and integrated platform that enables the region to approach the next 20 years in a positive and confident manner.

The ELS specifically provides long-term strategic direction to guide growth and deliver the transformational change required to maintain a healthy environment and liveable Sunshine Coast.

It provides a clear vision and forward plan, responding to four key drivers of change.

The Strategy has an integrated framework across 12 themes and Transformational Actions to achieve multiple ecological, economic, and socio-cultural outcomes.

The ELS seeks to guide decision-making and actions that will continue to protect and respect the importance of the natural environment as the foundation for the Sunshine Coast way of life.

Strategy Structure

The strategy is based on three interdependent sections:

  1. The natural environment
  2. The environment we create – the built environment
  3. Living in the environment.
ELS Inter-dependant sections and 12 themes

Figure: ELS Inter-dependant sections and 12 themes

The ELS is structured in 3 parts:

1. Part A: Strategic Directions

2. Part B: 5-year implementation plan

3. Part C: Network Plan.

Part A and B are being refreshed as part of this project. Part C: Network Plan is intended to be reviewed in late 2024 to align with timelines of other key planning projects underway.

ELS Structure

Figure: ELS Structure

ELS Achievements

The strategy has delivered on a number of actions since adoption. The ELS Annual Reports found here will provide an overview of the achievement highlights including:

  • Becoming officially recognised internationally as a UNESCO Biosphere
  • Expanding our green spaces including new environment reserves and recreation parks
  • New community facilities to ensure we have great places and spaces
  • Proactive planning for the expected impacts of climate change
  • Delivering environment and sustainability activities programs many in partnership to ensure Sunshine Coast remains a great place to live.

2017 Feedback

Council undertook extensive consultation on the draft ELS in 2017. Feedback identified specific issues with managing continued population growth, retaining the positive aspects of the Sunshine Coast lifestyle and ensuring infrastructure keeps pace with growth and change. Comments also related to the challenge of implementing and achieving the desired aspirations articulated in the Strategy when confronted with the reality of balancing pressures of development while retaining the Sunshine Coast lifestyle.

The top five themes were:

  1. Retaining the distinct character
  2. Protecting natural assets
  3. Finding the balance
  4. Being sustainable
  5. Community involvement.

2023 Feedback

As part of the Refresh Project, Council undertook community engagement in May 2023 to understand what the community saw as:

  1. The emerging issues for the region;
  2. The priority actions to focus on to deliver on a healthy environment and liveable Sunshine Coast.

Council received close to 300 contributions during this phase – a summary of findings is here.