What becoming a city means

Moreton Bay is already a “city” in terms of its population and its many bustling urban centres.

Within 10 years we will have more residents than the state of Tasmania. Approximately 30 people will move here every day over the next 20 years.

What are the possible benefits of becoming a city?

  • Greater status to help advocate for more State and Federal Government investment
  • Deliver greater housing and social equity through supporting existing centres
  • Proactively shape our destiny through outlining an ambitious vision for our evolution
  • Build an identity to increase awareness so we can attract more investment and jobs
  • Create a unified identity for existing businesses to market
  • Reflect our strategic importance by taking our place as one of South East Queensland’s pre-eminent cities.

The growth we’ve already experienced is creating challenges for us. Housing, jobs, roads, and transport are all common city issues we are facing. The forces of change are already at work and often the response is reactive and uncoordinated.

Rather than making the mistakes of other cities, we can capitalise on the change that is happening to propel our region toward a vision of our choosing. To do this we need to be clear on who we are, what we stand for, and what changes we desire.

Officially becoming a city is the first step towards changing our identity locally, nationally, and internationally. With greater status it will make it easier to advocate to the State and Federal Governments for investment in our region.

We need to make sure we reap benefits from the taxes our residents pay through funding from all levels of government directed back into Moreton Bay. It will also support our ambitious economic development strategy.

Each year the average Australian pays almost $20,000 in income tax. It is critical we see our fair share of Federal Government investment back into our communities.

Changing our classification to city will also bring us into line with the other councils adjoining Brisbane, including Redland City, Ipswich City, and Logan City. The Moreton Bay council is larger than all these neighbours in terms of geographic area, population, and number of local businesses. It’s time we were recognised for our regional importance and the heavy lifting we are doing as South East Queensland evolves.

What evidence do we have that becoming a city matters

Case studies from overseas and in Australia demonstrate that becoming a city can be a catalyst for economic growth, improved social outcomes, and increased government investment.

The immediate potential impacts associated with becoming a city include:

  • More investment and major projects directed here by State and Federal governments
  • Increased civic pride and business confidence
  • Improved perception and awareness of community potential
  • A catalyst for regeneration and future success
  • Attraction of more visitors, which brings money into the local economy.

Moreton Bay gets less spent on transport and roads per person than the Sunshine Coast, Logan, and Gold Coast despite being SEQ’s third largest council in terms of population.

Why there won't be a CBD in our city

Many Australian and international cities are moving away from concentrating jobs and infrastructure in a single place like a CBD so people can live closer to work. This decreases the congestion caused by tides of “commuter” traffic moving toward a single CBD.

Currently 71 percent of our residents drive to work, which puts around 340,000 cars on the road every weekday. Most of these people are heading into Brisbane, so there is an opportunity to get tens of thousands of cars off the Bruce Highway and local roads each day if we create local jobs.

Changing where people work, and keeping them close to home, will make better use of key infrastructure by reducing demand and using the capacity travelling away from the capital city at peak commute times.

We already meet all the requirements to be classified a city without a CBD of skyscrapers.

Being a multi-centre region means we don’t need to concentrate buildings in a single location like a CBD. Even existing CBDs outside of Brisbane, like Logan Central, Ipswich, and Cleveland - are not home to skyscrapers.

A deliberate multi-centre approach creates more equitable access to work and housing, which translates to a higher quality of life. The pandemic has proven some residents can work from home. If more people stay home that means less traffic on the roads for those people who need to work away from home.

Some businesses are moving out of Brisbane to other parts of the south east, which creates opportunities for Moreton Bay. This gets us closer to our goal to deliver 100,000 local jobs, so people don’t have to travel outside Moreton Bay for work.

If we support and develop our existing centres, we can also better manage the impact on the natural spaces that make Moreton Bay a beautiful place to live. Strengthening our existing urban centres, and their unique features, will preserve our rural communities, natural assets, and environmental corridors.

What are the possible downsides of becoming a city?

  • Our population might grow faster as more people choose to live and work in our city
  • Increased visitors could result in busier centres and more amenities like cafes
  • The plans for taller buildings around our centres might be realised sooner
  • The concern that Council would invest ratepayers’ money in a new brand, logo, and signage.

Current population projections show that we are going to experience an increase in our population even if we don’t become a city.

The pandemic has resulted in increased interstate migration, so it is likely growth has already accelerated beyond existing projections. We can’t stop people moving here, but we can proactively plan for how and where we want people to live and work.

More residents naturally leads to new cafes, restaurants, hotels, activities, and many other businesses popping up to service the community. These will make Moreton Bay a more exciting place to live, work, and play. Changes like this are likely to occur regardless of our council classification because people will move here anyway.

By choosing not to nominate or create a CBD we are making a conscious decision to stick to our diverse centres plan, which has already been widely consulted on with the community. Our planning scheme already seeks to concentrate taller buildings around our existing centres.

If the name of the council changed, money would be spent on re-branding. Traditionally the most expensive elements of re-branding are usually the physical assets (e.g. signage and printed materials), which would not be updated at once. This will limit the costs associated with a potential name change. Most of the printed materials are limited to merchandise, which again would not be replaced until supplies were exhausted. The cost of replacing the logo for digital assets (e.g. website, social media, corporate documents) would be nominal.

To have your say on the future of the Moreton Bay Region, visit the Your Say Moreton Bay webpage.