RDA Sunshine Coast RegionEconomic profile
Skip to content

RDA Sunshine Coast Region

About the area

Location and boundaries

The RDA Sunshine Coast Region is located in south-east Queensland, about 100 kilometres north of the Brisbane CBD. The RDA Sunshine Coast Region is bounded by the Gympie Regional Council area in the north and north-west, the Coral Sea in the east, the Moreton Bay Regional Council area in the south, and the Somerset Regional Council area in the south-west.

Included areas

The RDA Sunshine Coast Region encompasses Noosa Shire and the Sunshine Coast Council area.

Economic region
RDA Sunshine Coast Region

Land use

The RDA Sunshine Coast Region is a rapidly growing residential and tourist area, with substantial rural, rural-residential and parkland areas. The Region encompasses a total land area of over 3,100 square kilometres, including significant beaches, coastline, waterways, national parks, state forests and bushland. The Region includes coastal urban centres and inland towns. Tourism is a major industry, with many resorts and holiday accommodation places. Much of the rural area is used for dairy farming, cattle grazing and crop growing.


The RDA Sunshine Coast Region is served by the Bruce Highway, the Sunshine Motorway, Sunshine Coast Airport and the Sunshine Coast railway line.

Settlement history

European settlement dates from the 1850s, with land used mainly for grazing and timber-getting. Population was minimal until the 1860s, when several townships were established and agriculture, including sugar-cane growing, became more popular. Growth took place from the late 1800s into the early 1900s, spurred by the opening of the railway line between Brisbane and Gympie in 1891. Land was then used for fruit growing and dairy farming. Expansion continued during the 1920s and 1930s, aided by tourism and improved access. Significant development occurred during the post-war years, particularly from the late 1960s, with the population of the Region increasing from about 27,000 in 1947 to about 44,000 in 1971. Rapid growth took place during the 1970s and 1980s, with the population rising to about 118,000 in 1986. The population continued to increase rapidly from the 1990s.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the RDA Sunshine Coast Region were the Kabi Kabi and Jinibara Aboriginal people.