About the New Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme Project
  • Last updated:
  • 15 Jun 2022

Council is preparing a new planning scheme that will replace the current Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme 2014. A new planning scheme will set the vision for the Sunshine Coast in 2041 and guide growth and development to help achieve that vision.

Click here for more information on what a planning scheme is and how it may affect you.

The Sunshine Coast is growing. To grow sustainably, we need careful planning. We need to protect the places we love, preserve our natural environment, maintain the lifestyle we enjoy, provide diverse places to work and create great spaces for residents and visitors. We also need to recognise the diversity and uniqueness of our communities that make our region so special.

The New Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme Project is a multi-year project, intended to be completed by 2024. There are many steps in preparing a new planning scheme and we are only in the early stages of the process.

Council undertook preliminary consultation on proposed planning directions for the Sunshine Coast region and local areas. These directions and the outcomes of the preliminary consultation will inform the drafting of the new planning scheme.

Council is committed to ensuring that the community plays a meaningful role in the preparation of the new planning scheme. Sign up below to receive project updates and be notified about New Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme Project community engagement activities.

This is an exciting time for our region as we commence the next stage of planning for our future and updating our most significant land use planning document. 


So council is preparing a new planning scheme…

Why is council preparing a new planning scheme? How will the new planning scheme affect me? What is the existing planning policy framework? Will the new planning scheme apply to the whole of the region? How does the new planning scheme relate to the Sunshine Coast Mass Transit Project?

Click on the links below to find out more.


Council is preparing a new planning scheme so that the Sunshine Coast can grow in a sustainable way that reflects community values. Planning schemes are reviewed periodically to ensure that the path to future growth and development better aligns with evolving community views, changes in technologies, updates to state, regional and local planning policy, and more.

A review of the current Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme 2014 was undertaken in 2020.  The Planning Scheme Review examined the operation of the current planning scheme, and whether it accords with current legislation, council’s adopted vision and strategies, and community expectations. The Review found that, while the current planning scheme is generally working well, a new planning scheme can:

  • look further into the future and set a vision for 2041 in line with state government planning and population projections (the current planning scheme has a planning horizon of 2031)
  • better align with new and updated State and regional planning policy requirements
  • better reflect the views of the community as expressed in council’s policy framework, which has been developed and refined over recent years and includes the Corporate Plan and regional strategies
  • update policy and mapping to better reflect physical and environmental constraints and other key elements such as new infrastructure provision
  • proactively represent the interests of Traditional Custodians in the planning process, primarily through recognising cultural heritage sites, and reflecting the Traditional Custodian’s values and aspirations for the Sunshine Coast
  • optimise the opportunities and meet the challenges for future development and growth on the Sunshine Coast
  • be easier to use by being in a fully digital format.

Based on the key findings from the Review, council resolved on 28 January 2021 to prepare a new planning scheme for the Sunshine Coast[140KB].

The new planning scheme will build on the strengths of the current planning scheme whilst also providing new and enhanced direction for future development in the region. In doing so, it will play a crucial role in achieving council’s vision - Australia’s most sustainable region. Healthy. Smart. Creative.


The new planning scheme will regulate new development (e.g. land use, subdivisions, building work, filling, excavation, vegetation clearing, advertising signs) but will not affect existing lawful development.

The new planning scheme will identify where future growth and development should occur (including new shopping centres, business and industry areas and residential areas) and areas where most forms of development should be avoided (including environmental areas or constrained land).

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.

A planning scheme also sets out the rules for development such as building heights, boundary setbacks and carparking requirements.

The new planning scheme will set the vision for the Sunshine Coast in 2041 and guide growth and development to help achieve that vision. A planning scheme can help protect the places we love, preserve the lifestyle we enjoy and create a built environment that supports our vision for the region’s future.  

This is why it is important for you to have your say as council embarks on the preparation of a new planning scheme for our region.

Click here for more information on what a planning scheme is.


There is already a strong state, regional and local planning policy framework in place that establishes sets out the plan making process and will guide the policy direction for our new planning scheme.

Planning policy framework

State Government Planning Policy Framework • Planning Act 2016 • Planning Regulation 2017 • State Planning Policy 2017 • South East Queensland Regional Plan 2017 Sunshine Coast Council Policy Framework • Corporate Plan • Regional Strategies ‑ Regional Economic Development Strategy ‑ Environment and Livability Strategy ‑ Integrated Transport Strategy ‑ Community Strategy ‑ Sunshine Coast Design Book ‑ Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy New Planning Scheme Project

State government planning policy framework

The state government sets the key rules and framework for making a new planning scheme in Queensland. The key planning legislation is the Planning Act 2016 and Planning Regulation 2017.

The legislation is also supported by state planning instruments, including the State Planning Policy 2017 and the South East Queensland Regional Plan 2017 (ShapingSEQ), which set out state and regional planning interests for land use planning and development, and growth management.

Council must ensure that the new planning scheme:

  • follows the process set out under state planning legislation
  • is consistent with state and regional policies

Further information on the state and regional planning framework is available on the state’s planning framework fact sheet.

Sunshine Coast Council planning policy framework

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

Council’s Corporate Plan and endorsed regional strategies provide a strong policy framework for the new planning scheme and reflect a triple bottom line approach to addressing environmental, economic and social challenges and needs.

The Corporate Plan is supported by the following endorsed council strategies:


Just like our current planning scheme, the new planning scheme will apply to the whole of the Sunshine Coast local government area, except for:

  • designated Priority Development Areas, such as Caloundra South (Aura) and Maroochydore City Centre, which are regulated by the State Government via their own separate development schemes
  • the undeveloped parts of Kawana Waters, which are subject to a development agreement and Development Control Plan 1 Kawana Waters

In addition, planning for the Beerwah East Major Development Area is in progress and the planning framework for this 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.

Those parts of the region the new planning scheme will not (or may not) apply to are shown in Areas subject to or potentially subject to other planning processes[572KB].


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.



For more information

Register for the New Planning Scheme Project updates

Contact the project team

If you have any questions about the New Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme Project, you can contact the Project Team by:

Follow project news

Visit council's web page for the latest project news.