Climate change
  • Last updated:
  • 09 Jul 2021

Sunshine Coast Council recognises climate change as a global issue. Council also recognises we must respond to the impacts of climate change, and that this is a shared responsibility. We need to work together to focus our efforts and collectively change our behaviours to increase the resilience of our region. We need to prepare for the physical impacts that are likely to result from a changing climate whilst also minimising the greenhouse gas emissions we generate that are driving the change in our climate.
Governments have an important role to play to ensure we can achieve these outcomes by showing leadership and supporting community action.

Climate change action

Council has been on its sustainability journey for many years. We have responded to the challenges and opportunities presented by a changing climate. We also know that we need to do more.

We’re aiming to be a zero-net emissions organisation by 2041. We are also setting realistic targets based on the best available science. This will help us to respond and adapt to the impacts of climate change and support our community.

Council continues to plan ahead to ensure the decisions of today build the resilience our natural landscapes, biodiversity and built environment required to maintain our liveability over the long-term. Planning and strategic investment will also deliver climate resilient buildings and infrastructure.

A strategic approach to managing climate change

In 2010, council developed its Climate Change and Peak Oil Strategy. This Strategy was a foundation for a number of climate change and sustainability related initiatives. This included the construction of a utility scale (15MW) Sunshine Coast Solar Farm. Our council was the first local government in Australia to financially offset its entire electricity consumption across all facilities and operations from the sale of electricity from a renewable source.

Council is implementing its Environment and Liveability Strategy, which was adopted in 2017. This strategy integrates a number of natural, built and sustainability related themes. It also provides a vision and contemporary approach to delivering a healthy environment and liveable Sunshine Coast in 2041. This includes taking integrated action on climate change.

Council has also invested in climate change adaptation—adopting a Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy. The Strategy identifies innovative management options that respond to current and future coastal hazard risks. These actions will guide us as we seek to deliver a more resilient coastline and well adapted coastal communities as our climate changes.

What council is doing now

Other actions our council is taking to proactively respond and adapt to the impacts of climate change include:

  • The Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme responds to climate change. For example, development is to be resilient to current and future flooding and coastal hazards. Enhancement of relevant planning scheme provisions will be informed by findings of the Strategy.
  • We’re investing in expanding council’s conservation estate. Through land acquisitions we are increasing the protection, connectivity and resilience of priority habitat areas. These lands, and areas participating in our Land for Wildlife program, are important parts of our natural environment.
  • We’re providing a range of community programs aimed at sustainable living via our successful Living Smart program and environmental initiatives.
  • Council is investing significant resources into risk reduction and disaster prevention planning. This includes Queensland’s first Disaster Resilience Plan[7875KB].
  • Council is supporting a thriving Cleantech sector. This sector is well-known for developing innovative approaches to emissions reduction.
  • Development of Blue Heart Sunshine Coast—a 5,000 hectare area of the Maroochy River floodplain. This project supports landholders to transition to a more sustainable blue carbon future. This is a joint initiative involving Council, the Queensland Government and Unitywater.
  • which is a tripartite commitment between Council, the Queensland Government and Unitywater, supports a more sustainable blue carbon future for more than 5,000 hectares of the Maroochy River flood plain.
  • Council is leading a nomination for the local government area to become a UNESCO Biosphere. Becoming a biosphere would further enhance the Sunshine Coast’s national and international reputation of outstanding environmental value and scenic amenity. It will also help create niche markets for sustainable products, services, facilities and practices.
  • Council is a member of The Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership. This is an alliance of local governments working together to act on climate change and share information and knowledge. As of June 2021, 140 councils from across the country (representing over half of the Australian population) are members. In September 2020, Council won the Regional Award for Innovation for its Blue Heart Sunshine Coast project.
  • Council's Sunshine Coast Design book outlines 10 design principles to help plan and design for our local climate. Designing buildings that are resilient to change, are climate responsive and incorporate sustainability features are key to our region’s broader climate change response.