Coastal Adaptation Plan

Our coast is integral to our city's lifestyle, reputation and identity. It's important that adaptation options and our plans align with community expectations, preferences and values.

The Gold Coast is an iconic Australian coastal city and Queensland's largest regional city. There's golden sandy beaches, endless waterways and beautiful natural landscapes that residents and visitors can easily access for recreation and relaxation. To protect our coast we are planning to enhance our resilience against coastal hazards, now and in the future.

Our coast is dynamic, it is always changing because of constant and persistent natural processes, shock extreme weather events and gradual changing climatic conditions. According to the State Government projections, by 2100 sea levels will be 0.8 metres higher than present day. Cyclones will increase in intensity and are expected to track farther south. Coastal areas are expected to be exposed to increased erosion, higher storm tides and frequent flooding in low-lying areas which may present as new hazards to people and property and increase the level of hazard experienced to those in existing mapped hazard areas.

City of Gold Coast, together with 31 other Queensland Councils, was awarded funding under the State Government's $12 million Coastal Hazards Adaptation program (QCoast2100) to develop effective plans to minimise the impacts of coastal hazards. An outcome of this program was the City's development of the ‘Coastal Adaptation Plan’.

The Coastal Adaptation Plan (the Plan) is a high-level, technical analysis of the City's exposure to coastal hazards, now and into the future, and a pathway to investigate potential adaptation options to enhance the resilience of areas that require further investigation. It is an important document that enables actions, investigations and implementation recommended through the plan and long-term funding decisions by Federal, State and Local Government authorities.

Building future resilience of our valued environmental, cultural and built assets is one of our top priorities. To safeguard our city we are continuing to develop initiatives listed in our Coastal Adaption Plan. Coastal hazards can leave lasting damage, including erosion to our beaches and foreshores. Storm tides and tidal flooding can inundate land, affecting our communities, properties and assets. Working with stakeholders and the community, we continue to share ideas and explore available solutions. This helps to better understand coastal hazards and helps to inform future planning, with cost-effective adaptation options.

New solutions

An adaptation option is a recommended solution to avoid, manage and mitigate coastal hazards. Extensive stakeholder input and the best available science, engineering and economic studies underpin these options. Solutions could maintain or change an existing approach in the following areas:

  • land use planning and development assessment
  • infrastructure planning and management
  • asset management
  • community planning
  • business continuity planning
  • emergency management.

Building on experience

The Plan builds on our existing coastal management efforts. We draw our experience from over 50 years of innovative research and technology. We have proven success in protecting coastal hazard affected assets. Our ongoing waterways and catchment and coastal protection activities include:

  • a multi-million-dollar investment via our Ocean Beaches Strategy 2013–2023
  • sand replenishment
  • seawall and groyne construction
  • installation of artificial reefs
  • upgrades to accessibility and infrastructure
  • ongoing cleaning, dredging and facility maintenance.

We continue to work with the following groups to access innovative research, technology, and proven experience:

  • State Government
  • Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ)
  • internal and external advisory groups
  • universities and research institutions
  • over 30 coastal councils in Queensland progressing their own coastal hazard adaptation strategies.

Similar work is ongoing across Australia and around the world.

Why do we have a coastal hazard adaption plan?

Anthropogenic sea level rise has the potential to impact on the functionality and durability of essential services and public and private assets. These include:

  • water supply networks and sewerage infrastructure
  • stormwater infrastructure
  • public and private buildings
  • electricity and telecommunication networks
  • roads and pathway

Extreme weather events and exposure to stronger, more intense storms will also contribute to the deterioration of other valuable assets. Such assets include recreation parks, environmental reserves and open space.

The City already undertakes a strong program of coastal management work. This enables the Gold Coast to absorb the impacts of coastal erosion. Coastal hazard planning enhances the social, economic, environmental and land use planning objectives this program of works supports.

Defending the shoreline will always remain a long-term adaptive measure to address coastal erosion. This includes along our ocean beaches and the immense and complex networks of artificial and natural waterways. The plan however considers other potential adaptive approaches such as:

  • avoid
  • build capacity, or
  • accommodate anticipated future changes.

The plan enhances our ability to identify and explore adaptation options for our city into the future. This will improve our city's resilience up to and beyond the year 2100.

What does this mean for our City Plan?

The CAP was developed based on a City-wide risk assessment, which identifies actions to amend the City Plan to ensure risks are tolerable and acceptable.

The Gold Coast City Plan details the overarching principles that guide land use and development decisions. This includes the consideration of natural hazards such as:

  • coastal erosion
  • storm tide inundation
  • future inundation due to projected sea level rise of 80 centimetres by 2100.

Coastal Adaptation Plan enquiries

Consultation continues with key asset owners and the community. If you would like further information you can email us at

Useful information