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Greater Brisbane

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Greater Brisbane

South East Queensland
Regions of Queensland with South East Queensland marked as Brisbane and Moreton
Population 3.05 million (2011) [1]
Established 1824
Area 22,420 km2 (8,656.4 sq mi)
LGA(s) City of Brisbane, Somerset Region, Sunshine Coast Region, Moreton Bay Region, Redland City, Logan City, Gold Coast City, Scenic Rim Region, City of Ipswich, Lockyer Valley Region

South East Queensland (SEQ) is a biogeographical, political, and administrative region of the state of Queensland in Australia, which contains 3.05 million people out of the state's population of 4.6 million.[1] The area covered by South East Queensland varies, depending on the definition of the region. Its most common use is for political purposes, and covers 22,420 square kilometres (8,660 sq mi) and incorporates ten local government areas, extending 240 kilometres (150 mi) from Noosa in the north to the Gold Coast and New South Wales border in the south (some sources include Tweed Heads (NSW) which is contiguous as an urban area with Brisbane/Gold Coast), and 140 kilometres (87 mi) west to Toowoomba (not officially part of SEQ for political purposes).

South East Queensland was the first part of Queensland to be settled and explored.

The economy of South East Queensland supports and relies on a wide diversity of agricultural manufacturing industries, commerce and tourism. The region has an integrated public transport system, TransLink.



The physical geographical definition of South East Queensland is the coastal river basins from the New South Wales border to the Mary River catchment. The western boundary is by definition, the Great Dividing Range water shed, the continental divide.

South East Queensland, classified as an interim Australian bioregion, comprises 7,804,921 hectares (19,286,380 acres) and includes the Moreton Basin, South Burnett, and the Scenic Rim along with ten other biogeographic subregions.[2]


The term South East Queensland has no political meaning. The area covers many lower house seats at the federal and state levels. As Queensland has no upper house, there are no Legislative Council provinces or regions to bear the name either, unlike say, Western Victoria which is a political entity.


The confusion in what exactly is in South East Queensland is due to its many administrative uses, both state and federal. The uses seldom match the geographical definition. Often they extend far beyond the geographical definition.


South East Queensland was home to around 20,000 Aboriginals at the time of James Cook's voyage along the east coast of Australia. According to Aboriginal history researchers the indigenous population declined to around 10,000 over the next 60 years.[3]

Early explorers in the area including Matthew Flinders, Allan Cunningham, John Oxley and Patrick Logan. Around 1839, European settlers were able to move into the region. Logging was the first industry to develop. The first railway built in Queensland linked Grandchester to Ipswich in 1865 along a narrow 1067 mm gauge.[4]

Major floods were experienced in 1893, 1974 and 2011. In 2005, the region suffered its worst drought in recorded history.[5]


As of 2011 the population of South East Queensland is estimated to be approximately 3.05 million, meaning that one in seven Australians call the region home.[1] The regional population is heavily urbanised and concentrated along the coast. The three largest population centres of Brisbane, Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast account for 90 per cent of the region's population.[6]

Regions and local government areas

South East Queensland generally consists of the following regions, each of which is also a local government area (LGA):

  • Brisbane - the capital and largest city of Queensland. The Brisbane metropolitan area consists of the City of Brisbane, as well as the following local governments:
    • Ipswich City - an outer-suburban city with an industrial and mining heritage west of Brisbane.
    • Logan City - a largely residential area between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
    • Moreton Bay Region - a largely residential area between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.
    • Redland City - a residential and agricultural area on the shores of Moreton Bay to the south-east of Brisbane.
  • Gold Coast City - a major tourist and retirement destination to the south of Brisbane, and the largest non-capital city in Australia.
  • Sunshine Coast Region - a coastal tourist and agricultural region to the north of Brisbane. The Glass House Mountains are a symbol of this region.
  • West Moreton, a rural area in the Great Dividing Range consisting of:
    • Toowoomba City - the Toowoomba city is included in both the South East Queensland region and within Western Downs (although the full Toowoomba region is only in western downs) region due to its importance to both regions as a gateway city providing access to the west of the state.
    • Lockyer Valley Region - an agricultural area west of Ipswich, known for its fruit and vegetable production.
    • Scenic Rim Region - a pastoral area inland from the Gold Coast known for its scenic mountains and villages.
    • Somerset Region - a pastoral area north west of Brisbane and location of two major dams supplying South East Queensland with water. This area is also known as the Brisbane Valley.

The Tweed Shire is actually within NSW but is often included in planning processes for SEQ. While not officially part of the TransLink public transport network, Surfside Buses run a seamless service across the border that appears to passengers as though it is integrated.

A highly effective integrated ticketing system for public transport has averted transport gridlock in the region.[7]

Major cities

The region is a complex, regional hybrid linking Brisbane with several surrounding cities.[7] South East Queensland includes the following regional cities:

  • Brisbane, Queensland's capital and largest city
  • Gold Coast, Queensland's premier tourist destination and surfing mecca to the south of Brisbane.
  • Sunshine Coast, another major tourist area to the north of Brisbane.
  • Ipswich, Queensland's oldest provincial city and industrial centre to Brisbane's south-west.
  • Logan, a city between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, mostly residential with some light industry.


Immigration and population growth

South East Queensland is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia. Growth in the state is fueled principally by migration from the southern states and overseas.[8] In 2010, South East Queensland's population grew by an average of about 1,200 new residents each week.[9]

The region has experienced significant population growth over the last two decades, growing on average by 55,000 to 80,000 people a year since 1986. South East Queensland is expected to be home to 4.4 million by 2031.[10] A 2010 report concluded that the region will reach 5.5 million people by 2051.[11]

Regional planning

South East Queensland's future development will be heavily based on the South East Queensland Regional Plan, released by the Queensland state government in 2005.[12] The regional plan covers the period from 2009–2031 and focuses on slowing development along the coast, in order to prevent creating a 200 km city, and instead aim for growth in the west, in particular around Springfield and Beaudesert.[12] Infrastructure planning in South East Queensland is almost exclusively designed to facilitate trans-metropolitan travel and reduce traffic congestion.[7]


Predominantly rural landscapes lie to the west of the urbanised coastal centres. The Lockyer Valley, a major agricultural area referred to as "South East Queensland's Salad Bowl", lies outside Brisbane. Many World Heritage listed rainforests are located along the region's southern border ranges, an area known as the Scenic Rim, such as Lamington National Park and Main Range National Park.

Within the region, the koala is listed as vulnerable. The Australian Koala Foundation says the animal is threatened by mining and land development.[13] Numbers in Redland City have seen a dramatic decline in recent years.[14] The state government launched the Koala Conservation Plan in 2006. The plan involved the rehabilitation of cleared areas, domestic dogs containment and koala signage.[14] Another initiative was launched in 2010 to protect and rehabilitate koala habitats by tree planting and the construction of koala friendly fencing.[15]

After many years of water restrictions, the Government of Queensland lifted restrictions across the whole of South East Queensland on 1 January 2013.[16]

See also


External links

  • South East Queensland Wikibook
  • SEQ History South East Queensland History
  • South East Queensland Council of Mayors.

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