Population growth: a driving force for becoming a city

Queensland’s Moreton Bay local government area is the third largest council in the country and one of the fastest growing, with a population already larger than Canberra. 

Moreton Bay Regional Council (Council) was pursuing a reclassification from region to city in line with the Queensland Local Government Act 2009. This process involved the Minister for Local Government proposing the reclassification to the Local Government Change Commission who then needed to assess whether the proposed amendment was in the public interest before it became regulation.

Social and economic impact assessment

In preparation for this process, KPMG assisted Council with considering the social and economic impacts of a reclassification. This helped inform their decision to pursue the change, and provided information for the submission they presented to the Minister for Local Government, which was then referred to the Local Government Change Commission for review.  Both the Minister and the Change Commission have since endorsed the change, which is expected to take effect later in 2023.

On Friday 21 July 2023, the City of Moreton Bay launched itself as Australia’s newest city. 

Client: Moreton Bay Regional Council Project: Moreton Bay Regional Council City Classification Project Location: Queensland Sector: Real Estate, Precincts & Places Services: Stakeholder engagement |Social and economic impact analysis

What was needed

  • Analysis of the social and economic impacts of reclassification.
  • A framework of immediate and longer-term potential economic and social benefits across different audiences.
  • Presentation to Council on the benefits of pursuing a city classification.

What we did

KPMG analysed the social and economic impacts of reclassifying Moreton Bay as a city. To do this, we explored past population and economic growth, the projected population and Gross Regional Product. Working closely with Council, we identified three core objectives for reclassification:

  • greater awareness and improved perception of Moreton Bay
  • acceleration of Moreton Bay’s economic and social aspirations
  • increased equity relative to other cities in Queensland and across the country.

To develop a framework of potential economic and social benefits, we examined three case studies where local governments became known as a city and undertook a name change and brand revitalisation. These case studies helped identify potential outcomes and benefits for consideration. 

City status: a catalyst for accelerated economic growth

We found that having a city status helps accelerate good planning, to enable economic growth and improved social outcomes. Rebranding also presents an opportunity for a cohesive message about the local government’s future, while boosting its attractiveness to economic investment and growth. 

In the case of Moreton Bay, the immediate branding impact and development of a benefits framework offer significant advantages ¬¬– including an aspiration to deliver a polycentric city, with well-defined and connected hubs across the region, to build on its existing character.

KPMG’s framework also identified and outlined immediate and longer-term benefits associated with four key target audiences. 

What we delivered

  • A framework that identified the immediate impact and longer-term benefits for new and existing communities, businesses and tourists, and government agencies.
  • A report identifying benefit streams for consideration by Council.
  • A presentation to Council on the economic and social benefits associated with the reclassification. 
  • This work contributed to the Council winning the 2022 Local Government National Award for Regional Growth.
  • This work contributed to the Deputy Premier and Minister for Local Government’s recommendation in favour of the change, which took effect on Friday 21 July 2023..

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