Moreton Bay's 'unique moment' to become City

Published 12:30pm 20 July 2022

Moreton Bay's 'unique moment' to become City
Words by Nick Crockford

Moreton Bay is one step closer to becoming a city, with Council today voting to ask Queensland’s Local Government Minister to reclassify the region as a City Council.

Councillors voted 9-3 with Councillors Brooke Savige (Div 1), Darren Grimwade (Div 11) and Tony Latter (Div 12) opposing a decision described as the start of the process, not the end.

Concerns raised were acknowledged and some also disputed, but councillors were asked to "think strategically about the future" and "make decisions for this region 20/30/40 years from now".

Mayor Peter Flannery hoped the Electoral Commission would understand the rationale behind Council’s request and help to put Moreton Bay as a city with multiple centres.

He said this was a "pretty historic day" for the third largest council in Australia, which many in other states still this is "inland, west of Gympie or Mackay".

"As Mayor I have always seen the opportunities that becoming a ‘city’ offers and I have always said that we are a region but we are not regional," the Mayor said.

"Becoming a city council is driven by discussions I have had in Canberra. We are at a unique point in time to respond.

'Already a city'

“By definition we are already a city, our population is already bigger than Canberra, but we are missing out on funding because politicians have mistaken our region for being a regional centre,” Mayor Flannery said.

“The growth challenge ahead here is real, it’s here, and as much as we might like to pretend it’s not happening - the truth is that ignoring reality won’t make it go away.

“We all know the poor planning that continues to plague Paramatta as the bit between Sydney and the Blue Mountains, I will not stand by and allow the same to happen to us between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

Moreton Bay's 'unique moment' to become City

“At this junction in time the best thing for the people of Moreton Bay is to really think strategically about the future and speak with one voice, so that Council is in the best position to campaign for your taxes to be reinvested back here by the State and Federal Governments."

The Mayor said he recognises "some legitimate concerns raised about recognising our region as a city" but added" "I want to assure those people that we will always be a region given our size - but we can’t continue to act with a regional mindset in the digital age.

“I think that’s why you’ve seen 71 per cent of business and community leaders strongly supporting this initiative, while the community response was split roughly 50/50 on the reclassification.

Start of a journey

“The polling results clearly show that the name change is not front-of-mind for most people, but for those who strongly support the move they just want Council to get on with it and stop talking.

The Mayor said this is "not the end of the conversation, it’s the start of a journey to redefine what a modern Australian city can be after the disruption of Covid and in the digital age.

“That’s why our proposal articulates a new city concept that embraces our many existing communities and towns to spread opportunity and reduce traffic to one central location, to create Queensland’s first subtropical ‘polycentric city’ with many centres," he said.

“This will create more job opportunities locally, better traffic flow, more greenspaces, and a better connection to our beautiful existing environment.”

For more information visit Council’s website: https://www.moretonbay.qld.gov.au/News/Around-The-Region/Moreton-Bay-City-Vision

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