Social sustainability, in theory, should result in responsiveness to change, a durable sense of community trust and interdependent institutional structures. However, recent studies indicate that current sustainability efforts of regional local government are not yielding anticipated outcomes. Drawing on two social theories of Henri Lefebvre, this paper offers an empirical analysis of the ability of the government–governance nexus to deliver on social sustainability promises in Moranbah in regional Australia. Study findings revealed that the Moranbah government–governance nexus suffers from adversarial relationships between key actors that result in a distrust of politics and power, the absence of a defined governance system, community alienation, and State Government dominance and intervention. These experiences of the government–governance nexus have rendered social sustainability a distant hope for Moranbah’s residents. This paper suggests a reform in sustainability policies to improve the current situation in the case region, and theoretical propositions for future research.