Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
  • Last updated:
  • 19 Apr 2022
Mooloolaba Spit

What is a planning scheme?

A planning scheme is a document that the community, businesses and governments all look to in order to understand the local government’s plan for managing growth and change, including what sort of new development they can expect to see in a local area.

A planning scheme sets out the vision for the local government area in a strategic plan or strategic framework. This is the ‘big picture’ part of a planning scheme that maps out the land use intentions for the area looking ahead in 20 to 30 years’ time. It contains a series of strategies to manage future growth and development to achieve the vision.

To help achieve the vision and strategic framework, a planning scheme regulates:

  • what development should occur where - by including each parcel of land in a zone
  • how development should occur - by outlining the rules (codes) against which development is assessed
  • what assessment process is required - by stating whether a development application is required, and if so, the process to be followed.
Have your say website logo

When can I have a say on the new planning scheme?

There will be two key opportunities for the community to have a say on the new planning scheme project over the next two to three years:

  • Preliminary consultation (completed - 10 February to 31 March 2022). Council sought community feedback on proposed regional and local planning directions for the new planning scheme.
  • Formal community consultation (expected 2023). Sign up below to receive project updates and be notified about New Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme Project community engagement activities

Ongoing activities and opportunities for community engagement will also occur throughout the process, including the project website (with knowledge sharing), project updates and the ability to contact the Project Team directly through a dedicated project email address.

Coolum Beach

Why is council preparing a new planning scheme?

Planning schemes are reviewed periodically by local councils to ensure future growth and development aligns with the evolving views of the community, changes in technologies, updates to planning policy requirements, and more.

Council is preparing a new planning scheme so that the Sunshine Coast can grow in a sustainable way which reflects community values.

A new planning scheme will set the vision for the Sunshine Coast in 2041 and will guide the way we grow and develop as a region. By planning well, we can protect the places we love, preserve our natural environment, maintain the lifestyle we enjoy and shape the built environment to support our vision for the region’s future.

hour glass

What is the timing of the new planning scheme project?

Preparing a planning scheme is a lengthy process involving multiple steps and follows a process set out by state legislation. The New Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme Project will run over several years, with opportunities for the community to provide input and feedback along the way, and is intended to be completed by 2024.

Maroochydore Cotton Tree

Will the new planning scheme start from scratch?

The new planning scheme will build on the strengths of the current planning scheme, while also providing new and enhanced direction for future development.

Existing plans, such as the South East Queensland Regional Plan 2017 (Shaping SEQ) and Council’s Corporate Plan, also provide a strong policy framework for the new planning scheme.

The new planning scheme will seek to align with and continue to build on other council strategies and projects (for example, the Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy) to ensure a consistent approach is delivered for the planning of our region.

Kawana Waters

How does the new planning scheme relate to the Sunshine Coast Mass Transit Project

The new planning scheme will manage future growth and development across the Sunshine Coast to 2041. A proportion of this growth is anticipated to occur in the coastal corridor from Maroochydore to Caloundra.

Being able to move around the Sunshine Coast easily and conveniently as we grow is an important part of maintaining our way of life and promoting a sustainable future for the generations to come. The Sunshine Coast Mass Transit Project is evaluating the options for providing an efficient and easy-to-access public transport system as an attractive alternative to travel by car.

The new planning scheme will seek to integrate planning for mass transit, as well as the broader Sunshine Coast Integrated Transport Strategy and other council and state government policies and strategies, with land use planning in the coastal corridor and beyond. In particular, the new planning scheme will help shape future land use and development, including through appropriate zoning, careful control of built form and protection of important environmental areas.

In addition to recognising the role of mass transit and other public transport improvements in supporting the growth of the region, the new planning scheme will also be based on other important planning principles such as containing urban sprawl, enhancing access to economic and community infrastructure and increasing the diversity of housing available in the region.

The New Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme Project recognises that there is currently no funding commitment to the delivery of the Mass Transit Project or the extension of the passenger rail network to Maroochydore City Centre and that further changes in land use may be required as part of future planning schemes or planning scheme amendments to optimise the opportunities associated with these potential region building infrastructure projects.

State Planning Regulation 2017

How does state, regional and local planning all fit together?

The Queensland planning framework is governed by the Planning Act 2016. Local councils prepare local planning schemes but must follow the State’s rules and guidelines and incorporate State interests. Council must consider State interests and associated mapping when preparing a new planning scheme (including the State Planning Policy and South East Queensland Regional Plan 2017 (ShapingSEQ)).

The 2032 Brisbane Olympics and the South East Queensland City Deal will also have implications for the Sunshine Coast and the new planning scheme.

Beerwah East

Will the new planning scheme apply to the whole of the Sunshine Coast?

Just like our current planning scheme, the new planning scheme will apply to the whole of the Sunshine Coast council area except for the Maroochydore City Centre Priority Development Area, Caloundra South Priority Development Area and the Kawana Waters master planned area.

Development in Priority Development Areas is regulated by the State Government via separate development schemes. The undeveloped parts of Kawana Waters are subject to a historic development agreement.

The planning framework for the Beerwah East Major Development Area is yet to be determined. The new planning scheme is also not intended to apply to the Sunshine Coast Airport site, with Council recently deciding to support its designation as a Priority Development Area. This proposal will be subject to state government approval and community consultation.

Point Cartwright Aerial

How will the new planning scheme plan for our growing population?

The Sunshine Coast is a popular place to live and visit – it always has been. The historic growth of the Sunshine Coast is continuing, with more people coming here for work and business, as well as to enjoy the climate, beaches, waterways, hinterland and rainforests we love.

As people continue to be attracted to the Sunshine Coast as a highly desirable place to live and invest, our population will continue to grow. Our population is forecast to grow from approximately 350,000 residents in 2021 to over 520,000 residents in 2041.

The State Government, through the South East Queensland Regional Plan 2017 (ShapingSEQ), sets the region-wide policy framework for managing our forecast population growth. Council has a clear vision for growing sustainably, reflected in our Corporate Plan, regional strategies and current planning scheme.

The new planning scheme will build on this strong policy framework, set the vision for the Sunshine Coast in 2041 and guide growth and development to help achieve that vision.

Sunshine Coast Dwelling

How will the new planning scheme affect me?

A planning scheme regulates new development (e.g. land use, subdivisions, building work, filling, excavation, vegetation clearing, advertising signs). It does not affect existing lawful uses and development.

The new planning scheme could affect what you can and can’t build and develop on your property, what your neighbours can do on their property and what can and can’t be developed in your local neighbourhood or places where you live, work and visit.

It identifies where future growth and development should occur (e.g. by zoning for different purposes such as residential, business and industry) and areas where most forms of development should be avoided (e.g. environmental areas or constrained land). The new planning scheme also sets out the rules for development such as building heights, boundary setbacks and carparking requirements.

Mooloolaba Breese Development

Will the new planning scheme affect existing building and property developments?

The new planning scheme will not affect existing lawful uses and development.

Sunshine Coast coastal landscape

Will the new planning scheme impact the local environment?

The Sunshine Coast is a special place to live. We all love and enjoy the climate, relaxed outdoor lifestyle, vibrant and unique communities, and distinctive natural landscapes.

Through proactive planning, led by planning documents such as the new planning scheme, we can protect and enhance the things we value about our region, and we can ensure that both the built and natural environment supports our vision for the region’s future.

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How can I receive project updates and news?

The New Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme Project team will provide the community with regular updates. If you wish to receive these updates, please sign up below to follow the New Planning Scheme Project. Also follow council’s web page for the latest project news.

Kings Beach

How can I contact the project team?

The New Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme Project team can be contacted via the following details:

E: newplanningscheme@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au
P: (07) 5420 8953 (during business hours only)



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