Coastal Hazards Adaptation Plan

Project Status

At its Ordinary Meeting on 18 November 2021, Noosa Council unanimously adopted its Coastal Hazards Adaptation Plan (CHAP). The CHAP was sent to the Local Government Association of Queensland and Queensland Department of Environment and Science, in line with the requirements of the QCoast2100 program. A copy of the final version of the CHAP sent for State approval is provided in the document library below, along with a list of Fact Sheets, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and accompanying technical documents.

In 2022, Council began implementing a set of CHAP projects designed to build resilience to coastal hazards. These are listed below along with their associated objectives. Council has been successful in obtaining grant funding from the State and Federal Governments (see here, here and here) to advance the majority of these key projects, with others being funded through Council's ongoing climate adaptation budget.

1.       Integrated Coastal Management Solutions for Open Coasts

  • Coastal Monitoring Program
    • Developing and implementing an integrated coastal monitoring program to improve localised data collection (see the Coastal Monitoring page for more details)
  • Offshore Sand Supply Investigation
    • Investigating the viability of offshore sand supply for beach nourishment of the Eastern Beaches
  • COASTS Project with UniSC, UQ and EOMAP
  • Regional Coastal Process Model with Sunshine Coast Council
    • Improving understanding of coastal hazard impacts on our beaches and the effect of different management options that improve resilience to coastal hazards both now and into the future.
  • Burgess Creek Monitoring with UniSC
    • Investigating potential reasons behind the Creek's morphological and water quality changes (see further details at the bottom of the Burgess Creek Catchment page)
  • Nearshore Coral Reef Monitoring
    • Monitoring the health of our natural coral reef ecosystems and begin investigating potential coastal protection benefits they may provide

2.       ‘Living Foreshores Noosa’ Phase 1: Designing for Resilience

  • Noosaville Foreshore Concept Designs for Resilience
    • Developing best-practice design concepts for non-intrusive, innovative, and living foreshore protection that build the resilience of adjacent public and private assets in Noosaville to future frequent inundation, storm tide inundation and catchment flooding.
  • Living Foreshores Hilton Esplanade
    • Work with nature to provide a solution that builds foreshore resilience and provides multiple co-benefits for human health, liveability, water quality and biodiversity along the high-value Hilton Esplanade shoreline that is at high risk of impact from coastal hazards.
  • Designing Dynamic Dunescapes
    • Developing best-practice design standards for functional, equitable, sustainable and durable beach access areas in order to: improve dune resilience (and thereby, coastal protection); provide social benefits through community recreation, stewardship and wellbeing; ecological benefits to native biodiversity; and economic benefits through improved tourism.
  • Coastal Wetland Prioritisation Study with the University of Queensland
    • Ensuring ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change that maximises benefits to humans and natural systems from coastal wetland restoration. Specifically identifying coastal wetland restoration opportunities in catchments within Noosa based on a regionally-specific approach (Hagger et al. 2022) that considers stakeholder values and local knowledge, biophysical suitability of land, economic feasibility for carbon abatement using a cost-benefit analysis, the provision of benefits for biodiversity, fisheries, water quality, and coastal protection, and the potential for Traditional Custodian-led blue carbon projects. The aim is to identify sites that offer the greatest potential for feasibility and benefits.

In addition, a Foreshore Management Plan for the Eastern Beaches has been adopted by Council, addressing a number of adaptation actions outlined in the CHAP.

It is important to note that Council’s Coastal Monitoring Program, which improves its response to climate change impacts on our coastline, includes remote sensing data collection methods which come with important data management responsibilities. The Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) governs how local governments collect, use, disclose and store personal information. Any personal information collected incidentally during the use and operation of remote sensing technology for the purpose of coastal process monitoring will be treated confidentially and handled in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) and Council’s privacy policy. More information on privacy protection is provided on the Coastal Monitoring page.


Parts of Noosa Shire are affected by coastal hazards such as erosion and tidal inundation, and these risks are projected to increase as a result of sea level rise over time. An important part of our response to climate change is how we plan for this increased risk. 

In 2016, Council successfully applied for funding from the Queensland Government through the QCoast2100 program to develop a Coastal Hazards Adaptation Plan that addresses the increasing risks in the coastal zone as a result of sea level rise. The three coastal hazards explored in the CHAP include:

  • Coastal erosion (loss of land away from an area of the shore due to storms and/or long-term recession)
  • Storm tide inundation (inundation of land due to the combination of a high tide and storm surge)
  • Permanent inundation (expanding tidal areas due to sea level rise)

The CHAP first explains these hazards in greater detail, then identifies which community, Council and natural assets are at risk, both now and in the future, across three planning horizons: 2040, 2070, and 2100. The CHAP then assesses the feasibility of various adaptation responses and sets out adaptation pathways and short-term actions for each locality that is at risk. The plan takes an adaptive management approach, which recognises that coastal adaptation responses need to incorporate flexibility and adaptibility, and are an ongoing process of implementation, review and monitoring as we respond to changes in our coastal zone.

Community consultation and engagement played an integral role in the CHAP's development. This engagement included: multiple key stakeholder and community workshops in 2017 and 2018; the "My Coast" Community Consultation which included a community survey, pop-up stalls, community bulletins, information sessions and interactive story maps; and a targeted questionnaire at key coastal locations. In addition, Council received over 230 written submissions in its first round of community consultation, and over 50 written submissions in its second round. Council also held 6 Community Roundtable meetings with community groups from July to September 2021 to help clarify concerns with the CHAP and identify solutions and improvements, with feedback incorporated into the final version of the CHAP.

Noosa Council thanks all residents and community groups that have been involved and provided comment on the CHAP. The Council Reports found in the Your Say Noosa CHAP Page provide summaries of submissions made during the consultation process, including responses to issues raised and the process for further community engagement.

Coastal Hazard Maps

A series of coastal hazard map layers were produced as part of the development of the CHAP and show potential inundation and coastal erosion extents for 2040, 2070 and 2100.

These map layers can be viewed on Council's interactive mapping page here. Navigate to the Noosa Plan 2020, then click on the Coastal Hazards layer heading. Click the + button on the left side of the layer to explore the three coastal hazards separately, and click the link icon on the right to navigate to more information on each layer. Further instruction on how to access this mapping is also available via the document library.

Note that the map layers should not be relied upon for making detailed design decisions as part of the development of buildings, infrastructure or other structures at the individual lot scale. The mapping has been prepared in good faith to identify areas of interest that require further investigation for mitigating potential risks. While Noosa Council has exercised reasonable care in preparing this mapping, Council makes no representations or warranties (expressed or implied) about its accuracy, reliability, completeness, currency, function, capability or suitability for any particular purpose and disclaims all responsibility and all liability (including without limitation, liability in negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages (including indirect or consequential damage) and costs that may occur as a result of the product being inaccurate or incomplete in any way or for any reason.

CHAP Project Documents

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Through the QCoast2100 program, the Queensland Government has provided local coastal governments with funding, tools and technical support to enable them each to prepare a Coastal Hazard Adaptation Plan (CHAP) to address climate change-related coastal hazard risks over the long-term.

    The CHAP Noosa Council developed will provide Council and the community with high-quality information that enables timely and effective decision-making with regard to coastal hazards across key areas such as:

    • Land use planning and development assessment;
    • Infrastructure planning and management including roads, stormwater and foreshores;
    • Asset management and planning for physical infrastructure such as buildings and public facilities;
    • Planning for nature conservation, recreation, areas of cultural heritage value and other important public places;
    • Community planning and preparedness;
    • Emergency and disaster planning and management.
  • Coastal hazards are events originating from oceanic processes. These hazards are being exacerbated by sea level rise, which is driven by climate change. In the context of the CHAP, coastal hazards specifically refers to 'coastal erosion', 'permanent inundation due to sea level rise', and 'storm tide inundation'. More information on these hazards can be found here.

  • The CHAP has an important role in identifying and mapping future erosion and inundation hazards. It also identifies  area-specific options and recommendations for managing these risks (see Section 5 of the CHAP report). This includes what measures are already in place such as planning regulations and protective infrastructure such as foreshore revetment walls. For many areas, new actions are proposed to investigate improvements to infrastructure or other public assets (e.g. stormwater networks, roads, pathways, emergency service buildings).

    For some areas affected by coastal erosion along the open coast beaches between Peregian and Sunshine Beach and at Noosa Main Beach and Noosa North Shore, there are also recommendations to review and update the Noosa Plan 2020 (planning scheme) where appropriate to ensure that erosion risks to development are appropriately planned for and considered in the design and siting of new development. Changes to the Noosa Plan 2020 (i.e. to respond to coastal erosion) were also part of the Ministerial conditions accompanying approval of the Noosa Plan 2020, and will be subject to a separate community consultation process later in 2021. Changes to a planning scheme are called an 'amendment', and must be done in accordance with the Queensland Planning Act 2016.

  • The Insurance Council of Australia has set up the Understanding Insurance website that provides easy to access and understandable information for consumers about insurance in Australia.

    In addition, the ICA published a media release in 2018, explaining how the general insurance sector in Australia views coastal hazard mapping produced by councils.

  • The Queensland Government’s coastal hazard planning currently uses a projected sea level rise figure for our region for the year 2100 of 0.8m (or 800 mm).

    The future climate scenario modelling underpinning the sea level rise forecasts used for this project is based upon a high greenhouse gas emissions pathway, called ‘RCP 8.5’. This pathway is often referred to as 'business as usual' because up to now, human emissions at the global scale have tracked this pathway most closely. The adoption of this scenario is a requirement of QCoast2100 program.

  • Each of the coastal hazards have been modelled in compliance with the QCoast2100 Minimum Standards and Guidelines, and the Queensland Coastal Hazards Technical Guideline (2013) (both documents are available in the document library). Local governments have a duty of care to obtain information regarding climate hazards, to the best of their capability, and ensure this information is publicly available and is used to inform council policies and decisions where required.

  • Yes, there are over 30 other coastal councils in Queensland participating in the QCoast2100 program. Noosa Council was the 10th council in Queensland to release its draft plan for comment.

  • Council secured a $490,000 grant from the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (formerly Department of Environment and Heritage Protection) in November 2016. This funding was to support Council’s commitment to undertake and complete the eight phases of the QCoast2100 program. This grant wholly funded completion of this project. Further information on the program, including all eight phases, is covered by the ‘QCoast2100 Minimum Standards and Guideline’ in the document library.

  • The CHAP project builds upon the State Government erosion prone areas mapping (released in 2012). The State mapping is suitable for a ‘first pass’ assessment of erosion prone areas and uses a simpler methodology than the CHAP project. The State’s mapping does not provide sufficient information regarding likelihood and consequence required for more detailed risk assessments. Further, it provides mapping results for the year 2100 but not the intervening years (i.e. 2040 and 2070). These knowledge gaps have been addressed as part of the CHAP project.

  • As part of Council's wider Climate Change Response Plan (CCRP), Council is working to assess risks from other climate change-related hazards such as heatwaves, flooding, and drought. The CCRP was developed in response to Council's declaration of a global climate emergency in 2019. The work was guided by input from stakeholders across a range of climate-affected sectors (e.g. agriculture, health, business and tourism).

    Council is also participating in the Queensland Climate Resilient Councils (QCRC) initiative. The QCRC initiative is a multi-year program aimed at helping Queensland local governments to strengthen internal council decision-making processes to respond to climate change. It is being administered by the Local Government Association of Queensland in partnership with the Queensland Department of Environment and Science. With funding from the QCRC, in 2021, Noosa and Sunshine Coast Councils joined forces to develop a region-wide Climate Action Roadmap. Part of this project aims to improve community and Council capacity and preparedeness to better respond to increasing risks related to climate change.

  • Council is investigating climate change-related risks to the Noosa hinterland as part of the broader, whole-of-shire Climate Change Response Plan (CCRP).

  • Both emissions reduction (also known as climate change "mitigation") and adaptation fall under the broader, whole-of-shire Climate Change Response Plan (CCRP). Council’s position in relation to both of these is also set out in its Climate Change Response Policy 2017, as well as its Zero Emissions Organisation Strategy (2016-2026). Council has set the ambitious goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2026. To support this, in 2017, Council employed a dedicated Carbon Reduction Project Officer who is leading projects to reduce our emissions. As part of the CCRP, a Community Reference Group has also been established to recommend actions that both help the community reduce emissions as well as build resilience to climate hazards. Where there are feasible opportunities to achieve progress towards Council’s adaptation and mitigation goals simultaneously, climate actions and responses will seek to do so. 

  • According to multiple lines of evidence (including, amongst others, the Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Energy, CSIRO, NASA, BOM and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), our climate is rapidly changing. Observed changes over the past 150 years include increases in global average air and ocean temperature, rising global sea levels, long-term sustained widespread reduction of snow and ice cover, and changes in atmospheric and ocean circulation and regional weather patterns which influence seasonal rainfall conditions.

    The science behind climate change is supported by extensive scientific research performed independently and reported across the world. Past and present climate information is collected from observations and measurements of our environment, including trapped air in ice from thousands of years ago. Climate models are used to understand the causes of climate change and to project changes into the future.