Media Release: Community 6 dispute UDIA land supply claims



An alliance[1] of local and regional community groups dispute the UDIA’s recent claims of a “critical” land supply shortage in the Sunshine Coast region[2].

“The UDIA has chosen to ‘cherry-pick’ the land supply data by not acknowledging there is more than 15 years of supply identified in the SEQ Regional Plan and the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme,” said OSCAR President, Melva Hobson.


This is drawn from the State government data[3] which tracks the SEQ Regional plan benchmarks which shows there is sufficient land and dwelling supply already identified in the SEQ Regional Plan and the Planning Scheme. The approved land supply is in the hands of developers to bring to the market. Suggestions more land is needed under the guise of housing affordability is a constant cry from the development industry which continues to ignore the region’s carrying capacity and liveability. It has been used before to fast-track developments, such as Caloundra South.

Amidst these claims are calls for land to be released north of the Maroochy River by developer interests.

“The primary reason urban development is limited north of the Maroochy River, including Coolum West, is because this area within the Maroochy catchment is a critical, regional floodplain.”

This important area is deliberately and necessarily not included in the urban footprint for good reason:  it is extremely flood prone and helps protect other areas from inundation. This area rightly does not come into the equation when it comes to land supply.

Consolidated Properties’ Don O’Rorke has speculatively bought up large parcels of land on the floodplains at Coolum West. Mr O’Rorke has been seeking to bypass proper planning processes, inherent zoning conflicts and site constraints by lobbying the State Government to have this significant portion of the floodplain declared a Priority Development Area and thus facilitate an intense residential and commercial development.  That he is seeking to bypass usual planning processes shows he also wants to by-pass the community.

These flood plains include the regionally significant ‘Blue Heart’ project.  This national award-winning project[4]  and is strongly supported by the State Government, Sunshine Coast Regional Council and Unity Water.

“Not only is this important initiative an Australian first blue carbon storage project, but an essential part of protecting flood prone areas within the Maroochy River catchment and surrounds. It is integral to the region’s Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy response to increasing sea level rise, storm surge, tidal inundation and riverine flooding. It also provides long-term sustainable economic, environmental and recreational opportunities.” explained SCEC’s Narelle McCarthy.

“The Community 6 and the wider community are justifiably opposed to residential development on the flood plains at Coolum West, but would welcome further expansion of the Blue Heart project to achieve its 5000ha footprint and the multitude of co-benefits this would deliver for the community into the future.  The balance of the floodplains continue to offer flood storage, rural production, and valuable open, green space and amenity," said Development Watch President Lynette Saxton”

Contrary to comments by Mr O’Rorke, the Twin Waters West development was refused by Council largely due to it being on the floodplain and is now subject to a Court Appeal.

“Suitable land supply is just one factor when only ecologically sustainable development in line with appropriate and timely infrastructure delivery should prevail - not developer and landowner vested interests.” concluded Ms McCarthy.



Melva Hobson, President, OSCAR: 0433 214 320

Narelle McCarthy, Liaison Officer, SCEC: 0424 465 487
Lynette Saxton, President, Development Watch: 0428 716 868



[1] Organisation Sunshine Coast Association of Resident (OSCAR), Sunshine Coast Environment Council (SCEC), Development Watch, , Coolum Residents Association, Friends of Yaroomba, and Surfrider Foundation Sunshine Coast