Sunshine Coast Regional Council, an area of 3126 sq km, was formed in 2008 by the amalgamation of Caloundra City, Maroochy Shire, and the Noosa Shire. Its most southerly point is near Glass House Mountains, 65 km north of Brisbane. Its most northerly point, beyond Teewah in the Cooloola National Park, is 85 km north of Glass House Mountains. The Sunshine Coast railway passes through the Regional Council area via Glass House Mountains, Nambour and Cooran. Inland, the Regional Council area includes Kenilworth and Conondale.
In March 2013 more than 80% of voters in Noosa opted to leave the Sunshine Coast Regional Council in a de-amalgamation vote. From April 2013 transition committees and interim CEOs would be in place in the Noosa Shire leading to elections in late 2013 and a separate Noosa Shire council from 1 January 2014.
With the exception of Bribie Island, Sunshine Coast Regional Council had all the northern beaches between Brisbane and the Fraser Coast. It also has the cool 'hill station' Blackall Range (Maleny, etc) and, west of there, most of the Conondale Range. The entry on Sunshine Coast outlines the region's history.
In the debate about formation of the Regional Council, Caloundra City and Maroochy Shire expressed a preference for staying alone although, if amalgamation were to be forced on them, the new unit should include Noosa Shire. On the other hand, Noosa Shire opposed amalgamation. It cited its record for conserving public spaces and regulating urban and tourist-resort building. The record was plain to see from a walk down Hastings Street, Noosa Heads, compared with the high-rise vista from Maroochydore. Some residents of Coolum, Peregian Springs, Eumundi etc in Maroochy Shire also wanted to be put in a stand-alone Noosa Shire.
The populations of the three areas in 2006 were approximately:
This suggested a likelihood of Noosa Shire being overwhelmed in a Regional Council. The Council has 12 members and a mayor, originally to be elected by an unsubdivided municipality, but that aspect of the Local Government Commission's report was changed to allow for single-member divisions. The Noosa area elected one member, and its former mayor was elected to the Sunshine Coast mayoralty.
The census population (2006) of the Sunshine Coast Regional Council was 276,265 persons. Their median age was 41 years compared with 37 for Australia. The proportion of the workforce in fulltime work was 54.5%, compared with 60.7% for Australia; correspondingly more were in part-time work.
Sunshine Coast's urban area takes in the entire coast from Noosa Heads to Caloundra and bulges inland from Maroochydore to the Buderim plateau and Nambour. The populations (2006) of the major urban areas were:
|Noosa, Noosaville, Tewantin, Sunshine Beach||29,979|
|Marcus Beach to Twin Waters||25,996|
|Nambour, Bli Bli||26,070|
|Buderim, Sippy Downs||34,454|
|Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Alexandra Headland||32,645|
|Minyama to Wurtulla||19,735|
|Caloundra to Pelican Waters||41,668|
Sunshine Coast, Caloundra, Maroochy Shire and Noosa Shire entries