Moreton Bay residents have said "no" to changing their home status from 'region' to 'city'.
Residents had their chance to have a say during a two-week window from November 14th to 28th last year. An overwhelming majority of those who responded to the call for feedback were in favour of leaving Moreton Bay Region as it is.
“We really encourage the community to engage with us. Tell us what is happening in your community; send us your favourite recipe or photo. Submit your articles for consideration.”
The Local Government Change Commission received 103 public submissions by the deadline, with Commissioner Patrick Vidgen describing the volume of submissions as a high number; however, the contents of 34 public submissions were designated by the contributor as confidential, so they are unable to be classified as either as for or against.
He acknowledged that people feel very strongly about the arrangements in their local area and that the feedback would inform the Change Commissions assessment process. He qualified this by stating that the consideration of submissions is just one part of the assessment process the Change Commission will undertake.
The submissions are currently on the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) website. While some of the messages are a forthright statement of a yes or no position, many others are heartfelt and sincere love letters to our diverse and beautiful region.
Of the remaining 69 submissions, only 16 favoured the change to Moreton Bay City, with 53 stating a desire to remain as Moreton Bay Region. In percentage terms, that is 24% for a change and 76% against it.
When Moreton Bay Regional Council voted in July 2022 to pursue the controversial name change, Councillors Brooke Savage, Tony Latter, and Darren Grimwade voted against the proposal.
Since then, Mayor Peter Flannery has been a vocal proponent for the change of status and has received tepid support from Deputy Premier and Local Government Minister Steven Miles, who said he thinks the proposal has merit.
The Mayor said that Moreton Bay is the third largest local government area in Australia, and by definition, "we are already a city because 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."
The proposed name change has provoked many comments on the region's community-based social media groups. Most people engaging on social media have wanted to leave Moreton Bay as a region. Many commented on the large size and wide diversity of the region, which comprises around 75% rural landscape and several small towns.
Public submissions to the Change Commission can be viewed online. Visit www.ecq.qld.gov.au and type Moreton Bay Regional Council written submissions into the search box.
The Local Government Change Commission is the independent body responsible for assessing proposed changes to Queensland Councils. All proposals are first referred to the ECQ by the Minister for Local Government.
The Electoral Commissioner Pat Vidgen said that the public consultation process is only one element to be considered by the commission. "The decision should be handed down by April," Mr Vidgen said.