Moreton Bay Reclassification From Region to City Now Under Review

MBRC’s Bid for Regional-To-City Reclassification Now Under Review by Queensland’s Electoral Commission

Moreton Bay Regional Council’s bid to have the region reclassified as a city is now being reviewed by Queensland’s Electoral Commission.



Moreton Bay was formed in 2008 through the amalgamation of Caboolture Shire, Pine Rivers Shire and Redcliffe City councils. The region’s population currently stands at about 470,000 and is expected to grow to almost 700,000 by 2041, making it the third largest council in Australia and one of the fastest growing.  

“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 in a statement in July 2022 after Council voted to ask Queensland’s Local Government Minister to reclassify Moreton Bay as a City Council.

“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.

“That said I want to acknowledge that there were some legitimate concerns raised about recognising our region as a city, 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.”

In its 244-page submission with ECQ, MBRC stated that a review of the region’s urban form and its ability to transform into a city indicated that Moreton Bay can leverage its existing form to become a polycentric city with multiple urban centres.

Moreton Bay currently does not have a single central business district but instead has five urban centres namely: Caboolture, Morayfield, Strathpine, Redcliffe, and North Lakes.

“The vision of Council to become a polycentric city will support spatial distribution of jobs close to where residents live translating into reduced commutes and improved housing affordability,” the submission states.

“With a strong polycentric city vision Moreton Bay City can design, plan and implement the bones of a unique city form for it to grow into over the coming generations – a city of this millennium rather than a poor hand me down from the last.”

MBRC said that the polycentric city was explored through qualitative community engagement phases which revealed that a multi-centred city is not on top of people’s minds, and it can take some effort for them to fully understand the concept.



Respondents did like the idea that a polycentric approach could:

  • Further enhance the uniqueness and offering of each area 
  • Provide complementary hubs unique to each destination – an industrial hub, education hub, retail / business hub etc – not just multiple replications of the ‘same’ services and amenities • See a fairer spread of resources and funding occur across each area
  • Provide more choice, locally
  • Distribute facilities, services and wealth across multiple areas, not just centralised to one

Published 25-February-2023