Understanding community views regarding the natural environment for Sunshine Coast Regional Council


Case Studies

The Client

Sunshine Coast Regional Council

The Challenge

To understand how much value the community placed on the natural environment, their local area experiences and where improvements needed to be made to advance quality of life.

Our Solution

.id deployed our new Living in Place offer in March 2021, surveying a total of n=1628 residents from across the LGA.

What Was Learned

The natural environment is a critically important and unique feature of the Sunshine Coast.

Need help putting it together? We can help. Contact us here.

When you think of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast what comes to mind? While the name kind of gives it away, it’s fair to say that most people would associate the Sunshine Coast with the great outdoors – beaches, warm weather, rainforests, mountains – pretty much all things “natural environment”.

Through its Environment and Liveability Strategy, the Sunshine Coast Regional Council recognises that the natural environment is part of the Region’s DNA; the contribution it makes to the Sunshine Coast community’s way of life, and how Council will work in partnership with the natural environment to ensure a prosperous longer term.

While this strategy guides planning, action and advocacy, Council also needed a robust way to understand the community’s views regarding the natural environment to help ensure that decisions are made in the residents’ best interests. Specifically, Council wanted to understand the value the community places on the natural environment, how important this item is to them in concert with a diverse set of other liveability attributes, how residents experienced the natural environment within their local areas, and the contribution it makes to the LGA’s overall liveability.

The .id Solution

To help meet these needs, the Sunshine Coast Regional Council engaged .id to deliver our new Living in Place offer. We surveyed n=1628 residents across the LGA in March 2021, with the responses analysed and reported on our leading online platform, views.id. Key findings were also described in a narrative based views report and an insights workshop with council officers brought the results to life in the local policy context. In the time since, .id has delivered additional workshops and support to help local government professionals, councillors and other parties understand how they can use views.id as an evidence base to better understand and integrate residents’ perspectives into a diverse range of planning, placemaking and advocacy activities.

What Was Learned

Council learned that ‘access to the natural environment’ is both a critically important and unique feature of the Sunshine Coast.

Residents of the Sunshine Coast nominated ‘access to the natural environment’ as the liveability attribute that contributes most towards making somewhere a good place (68% of residents selected it among their 5 most important liveability attributes from the complete list of 16) and the aspect that was most positively experienced across the community’s local areas (residents rated their local area and average of 8.2/10). While this combination of high importance and exceptional local area experiences demands that future planning and advocacy related to or impacting on the community’s ability to ‘access the natural environment’ must be done with a full and considered consciousness as to how it will affect the community’s lived-experience, it also creates a platform through which Council can communicate one of the Region’s positive points of difference. In relative terms, while the average Australian also places a lot of stock in their ability to have ‘access to the natural environment’ when they are thinking about what makes somewhere a good place to live, their local area lived experiences are not as positive as those who make their home on the Sunshine Coast.

Beyond the natural environment, Council also learned a lot more about what their residents value, the local area experiences, which specific liveability attributes need to be maintained and improved to advance quality of life, how the Sunshine Coast compares to other benchmarked areas, and the role that sub-LGA geography, demography and life-stage play in informing residents’ perspectives and needs.

What Will Be Done

The Sunshine Coast Regional Council will use the Living in Place findings to bring a credible resident lens to their Environment and Liveability Strategy, Corporate Plan, other strategic policy areas and advocacy efforts.

Looking for a better way to represent your community’s best interests in strategic planning and advocacy?

Living in Place is an independent, robust and repeatable community survey that not only seeks to understand but aims to help advance the liveability of Australians’ local areas. It provides participating councils with a deep and representative understanding of their community’s values, experiences and needs and creates a resident centric evidence base to inform, monitor and evaluate strategic planning and advocacy. Join other leading councils by learning more here.

Join thousands of subscribers ...


Subscribe to monthly updates

Stay up to date about demographic and economic changes around Australia with .id Insight, our monthly newsletter.


Follow the .id blog

Receive articles twice a week about demographic, economic and housing trends and more. We promise it will be interesting.