South East Queensland

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South East Queensland
Regions of Queensland with South East Queensland in the bottom right hand corner of the state
Population3,800,000 (2020) [1]
 • Density169.5/km2 (439/sq mi)
Area22,420 km2 (8,656.4 sq mi)
LGA(s) City of Brisbane, Somerset Region, Sunshine Coast Region, Moreton Bay Region, Redland City, Logan City, Shire of Noosa, City of Gold Coast, Scenic Rim Region, City of Ipswich, Lockyer Valley Region
Localities around South East Queensland:
Darling Downs Wide Bay–Burnett South Pacific Ocean
Darling Downs South East Queensland South Pacific Ocean
Darling Downs New South Wales North Coast South Pacific Ocean

South East Queensland (SEQ) is a bio-geographical, metropolitan, political, and administrative region of the state of Queensland in Australia, with a population of approximately 3.8 million people out of the state's population of 5.1 million. [1] [2] The area covered by South East Queensland varies, depending on the definition of the region, though it tends to include Queensland's three largest cities: the capital city Brisbane; the Gold Coast; and the Sunshine Coast. Its most common use is for political purposes, and covers 22,420 square kilometres (8,660 sq mi) and incorporates 11 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 (which is simultaneously considered part of the Darling Downs region).


South East Queensland was the first part of Queensland to be settled and explored by Europeans. Settlements initially arose in the Brisbane and Ipswich areas with activity by European immigrants spreading in all directions from there. Various industries such as timber cutting and agriculture quickly developed at locations around the region from the 1840s onwards. Transport links have been shaped by the range of terrains found in South East Queensland.

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.


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. [3] The term South East Queensland has no equivalent political representation. 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.


Queensland's first railway linked Grandchester to Ipswich, 1865 StateLibQld 1 66227 Queensland's first railway train passes over Iron Pot Gully, Ipswich district, 1865.jpg
Queensland's first railway linked Grandchester to Ipswich, 1865

South East Queensland was home to around 20,000 Aboriginals prior to British occupation. The local tribes of the area were the Yugarapul of the Central Brisbane area; the Yugambeh people whose traditional lands ranged from South of the Logan River, down to the Tweed River and west to the McPherson Ranges; the Quandamooka people whose traditional lands encompassed the Moreton Bay Islands to the mouth of the Brisbane River to Tingalpa and south to the Logan River; and the Gubbi Gubbi people whose traditional lands were known to exist north of the Pine River, to Burrum River in the north, and west to the Conondale ranges. According to history researchers the Aboriginal population declined to around 10,000 over the next 60 years. [4]

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. [5]

Major floods were experienced in 1893, 1974 and 2011. In 2005, the region suffered its worst drought in recorded history. [6]


Queensland's fifth highest peak, Mount Superbus, is located in the south of the region. The Cunningham Highway passes southwest to the Darling Downs via Cunninghams Gap. Several highways including the Bruce Highway, Warrego Highway and the Pacific Motorway link to the adjoining regions.

Wyaralong Dam was opened in 2011 Wyaralong Dam 2.JPG
Wyaralong Dam was opened in 2011

The region is mountainous. McPherson Range, Teviot Range, D'Aguilar Range, Little Liverpool Range, Blackall Range as well as the Springbrook Plateau and Tamborine Mountain Plateau. Isolated volcanic peaks are found at Moogerah Peaks and the Glass House Mountains. Along the coast are several large islands including Bribie Island, Moreton Island and North Stradbroke Island with many smaller islands in Moreton Bay. Several major water supply and flood mitigation dams have been constructed here. The Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme and Gold Coast Desalination Plant were recently built to counter the effects of drought in South East Queensland.

Local government areas

South-East Queensland from the Landsat 7 satellite 200km City.jpg
South-East Queensland from the Landsat 7 satellite

South East Queensland includes 12 adjoining local government areas (LGAs). Generally, the agglomeration/region consists of the metropolis of Brisbane (2.5 million inhabitants) and the Gold Coast (0.6 million inhabitants), Sunshine Coast (0.33 million inhabitants), Toowoomba (0.13 million inhabitants) and the Shire of Noosa (0,06 million inhabitants):

Local government areaPopulation [7] (2018)AreaDensityGreater

South East
City of Brisbane 1,231,6051,343 km²917 /km²
Moreton Bay Region 459,5852,042 km²225 /km²
Logan City 326,615958 km²341 /km²
City of Ipswich 213,6381,094 km²195 /km²
Redland City 156,863537 km²292 /km²
Scenic Rim Region 42,5834,243 km²10 /km²
Somerset Region 25,8875,373 km²5 /km²
Lockyer Valley Region 41,0112,269 km²18 /km²
City of Gold Coast 606,7741,334 km²455 /km²
Sunshine Coast Region 319,9222,254 km²142 /km²
City of Toowoomba 119,714116 km²1028 /km²
Shire of Noosa 55,369870 km²63 /km²

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. [8]

Major cities

The region is a complex, regional hybrid linking the Brisbane metropolitan area with several surrounding cities. [8] South East Queensland includes the following cities:

New developments are currently underway at Springfield, Ecco Ripley, Yarrabilba and Flagstone. Some geographers suggest several more master-planned communities will be needed to cater for the expected population growth rates. [9]

South East Queensland



Pineapple plantation at Cleveland, 1907 StateLibQld 1 64303 Pineapple plantation at Fred Zerner's farm, Cleveland, 1907.jpg
Pineapple plantation at Cleveland, 1907
Milking cows at Mount Maroon, 1935 StateLibQld 2 174287 Milking dairy cows on Mallinson's farm, Mount Maroon, Queensland, 1935.jpg
Milking cows at Mount Maroon, 1935

The region exports a number of crop products including broccoli, onion, Chinese cabbage, sweet corn and celery. [10] A sizeable vegetable industry is established in the Lockyer Valley. Timber cutting, mining and a range of agricultural pursuits including dairying were once prominent in South East Queensland. Tourism, in part due to Brisbane serving as major transport and export hub and destinations such as the Gold Coast and the availability of land for industry, has grown in recent decades together with specialised skills in professional services and manufacturing. [11]


As of 2014, the population of South East Queensland is estimated to be approximately 3.4 million, meaning that between one in six and one in seven Australians call the region home. [12] 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. [13]

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. [14] In 2010, South East Queensland's population grew by an average of about 1,200 new residents each week. [15]

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.[ citation needed ] South East Queensland is expected to be home to 4.4 million by 2031. [16] A 2010 report concluded that the region will reach 5.5 million people by 2051. [17]

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. [18] 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. [18] Infrastructure planning in South East Queensland is almost exclusively designed to facilitate trans-metropolitan travel and reduce traffic congestion. [8]


Brisbane Koala Bushlands at Burbank, 2008 Brisbane Koala Bushlands (7114372167).jpg
Brisbane Koala Bushlands at Burbank, 2008

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. [19] Numbers in Redland City have seen a dramatic decline in recent years. [20] The state government launched the Koala Conservation Plan in 2006. The plan involved the rehabilitation of cleared areas, domestic dogs containment and koala signage. [20] Another initiative was launched in 2010 to protect and rehabilitate koala habitats by tree planting and the construction of koala friendly fencing. [21]

After many years of water restrictions due to severe drought, the Government of Queensland lifted restrictions across the whole of South East Queensland on 1 January 2013. [22]

See also

Related Research Articles

Queensland Northeastern state of Australia

Queensland is a state situated in northeastern Australia, and is the second-largest and third-most populous Australian state. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and the Pacific Ocean. To its north is the Torres Strait, separating the Australian mainland from Papua New Guinea. With an area of 1,852,642 square kilometres (715,309 sq mi), Queensland is the world's sixth-largest sub-national entity, and is larger than all but 15 countries. Due to its size, Queensland's geographical features and climates are diverse, including tropical rainforests, rivers, coral reefs, mountain ranges and sandy beaches in its tropical and sub-tropical coastal regions, as well as deserts and savanna in the semi-arid and desert climatic regions of its interior.

Brisbane Capital city of Queensland, Australia

Brisbane is the capital of and most populated city in the Australian state of Queensland, and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of approximately 2.6 million, and it lies at the centre of the South East Queensland metropolitan region, which encompasses a population of approximately 3.8 million. The Brisbane central business district is situated inside a peninsula of the Brisbane River, about 15 kilometres from its mouth at Moreton Bay, a bay of the Coral Sea. The metropolitan area extends in all directions along the hilly floodplain of the Brisbane River Valley between Moreton Bay and the Taylor and D'Aguilar mountain ranges. It sprawls across several of Australia's most populous local government areas (LGAs)—most centrally the City of Brisbane, the most populous LGA in the nation. The demonym of Brisbane is "Brisbanite", while common nicknames include "Brissy" and "River City".

Moreton Bay

Moreton Bay is a bay located on the eastern coast of Australia 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) from central Brisbane, Queensland. It is one of Queensland's most important coastal resources. The waters of Moreton Bay are a popular destination for recreational anglers and are used by commercial operators who provide seafood to market.

Toowoomba City in Queensland, Australia

Toowoomba is a city in the Toowoomba Region of the Darling Downs, Queensland, Australia. It is 125 km (78 mi) west of Queensland's capital city Brisbane by road. The estimated urban population of Toowoomba as of June 2018 was 136,861, having grown at an average annual rate of 1.02% year-on-year over the preceding five years. Toowoomba is the second most populous inland city in the country after the national capital of Canberra and hence the largest town on the Darling Downs. It is also referred to as the capital of the Darling Downs.

Sunshine Coast, Queensland Region in Queensland, Australia

Sunshine Coast is a peri-urban area and the third most populated area in the Australian state of Queensland. Located 100 km (62 mi) north of the centre of Brisbane in South East Queensland, on the Coral Sea coastline, its urban area spans approximately 60 km (37 mi) of coastline and hinterland from Pelican Waters to Tewantin. The estimated urban population of Sunshine Coast as of June 2018 was 333,436, making it the 9th most populous in the country. The population of the area has grown steadily at an average annual rate of 2.4% year-on-year over the five years to 2018.

Logan City Local government area in Queensland, Australia

Logan City is a local government area situated within the south of the Brisbane metropolitan area in South East Queensland, Australia. Situated between the City of Brisbane to the north and the City of Gold Coast to the south, the City also borders the Scenic Rim Region, the City of Ipswich, and Redland City LGAs. Logan City is divided into 70 suburbs and 12 divisions; a councillor is elected to each of the latter. The area had a population of 326,615 in June 2018.

Lockyer Valley valley in Queensland, Australia

The Lockyer Valley is an area of rich farmlands that lies to the west of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia and east of Toowoomba. The Lockyer Valley is rated among the top ten most fertile farming areas in the world, and the intensively cultivated area grows the most diverse range of commercial fruit and vegetables of any area in Australia. The valley is referred to as "Australia's Salad Bowl" to describe the area as one of Australia's premium food bowls.

Regions of Queensland

The Regions of Queensland refer to the geographic areas of the Australian state of Queensland. Due to its large size and decentralised population, the state is often divided into regions for statistical and administrative purposes. Each region varies somewhat in terms of its economy, population, climate, geography, flora and fauna. Cultural and official perceptions and definitions of the various regions differ somewhat depending on the government agency or popular group by which they are being applied.

TransLink is the public transit agency for Queensland, and is part of the Department of Transport and Main Roads. TransLink was first introduced by the Queensland Government in June 2003 to orchestrate bus, ferry, rail and light rail services. TransLink works with Brisbane Airtrain, Transport for Brisbane, Transdev, Queensland Rail and other operators to provide services. TransLink operates an integrated ticketing system and the go card system to allow the use of one ticket on multiple services.

The South East Queensland Regional Plan 2009-2031 is a statutory plan designed to guide regional growth and development in South East Queensland, Australia. It was established under the Integrated Planning Act 1997, which has now been replaced by The Sustainable Planning Act 2009.

Moreton Bay Region Local government area in Queensland, Australia

The Moreton Bay Region is a local government area in the north of the Brisbane metropolitan area in South East Queensland, Australia. Established in 2008, it replaced three established local government areas, the City of Redcliffe and the Shires of Pine Rivers and Caboolture.

Sunshine Coast Region Local government area in Queensland, Australia

The Sunshine Coast Region is a local government area located in the Sunshine Coast district of South East Queensland, Australia.

Tourism in Brisbane

Tourism in Brisbane is an important industry for the Queensland economy, being the third-most popular destination for international tourists after Sydney and Melbourne.

The economy of Queensland is the third largest economy within Australia. Queensland generated 19.5% of Australia's gross domestic product in the 2008-09 financial year. The economy is primarily built upon mining, agriculture, tourism and financial services. Queensland's main exports are coal, metals, meat and sugar.

Geography of Queensland Geography of Queensland in north-east of Australia

The geography of Queensland in the north-east of Australia, is varied. It includes tropical islands, sandy beaches, flat river plains that flood after monsoon rains, tracts of rough, elevated terrain, dry deserts, rich agricultural belts and densely populated urban areas.

Rail network in South East Queensland

Queensland Rail operates ten suburban lines and three interurban lines. Centring in the Brisbane City, it extends as far as Gympie in the north, Varsity Lakes in the south, Rosewood in the west, and Cleveland in the east to Moreton Bay.

Redwood, Queensland Suburb of Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

Redwood is a rural locality on the outskirts of Toowoomba in the Toowoomba Region, Queensland, Australia. In the 2016 census, Redwood had a population of 170 people.

Wide Bay–Burnett Region in Queensland, Australia

Wide Bay–Burnett is a region of the Australian state of Queensland, located between 170–400 km (110–250 mi) north of the state capital, Brisbane. The area's population growth has exceeded the state average over the past 20 years, and it is forecast to grow to more than 430,000 by 2031. It is the subject of the Draft Wide Bay–Burnett Regional Plan, which aims to facilitate this growth while protecting over 90% of the region from urban development.

West Moreton Region in Queensland, Australia

West Moreton is a region of the Australian state of Queensland, consisting of the entire rural western portion of South East Queensland. It sits inland from both the Brisbane metropolitan area and the Gold Coast and to the east of the Darling Downs. Much of the region lies in the Great Dividing Range. The name appears in the names of many community organisations and is used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, although is not widely used otherwise due to the prevalence of South East Queensland in planning and other documents.

Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport Airport in Queensland, Australia

Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport is an airport in Wellcamp, 8.4 nautical miles west from the CBD of Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. It was known as Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport until November 2017.


  1. 1 2 "Population Estimates by Local Government Area, 2019 to 2020". Australian Bureau of Statistics . 1 March 2021. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
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  11. "Business advantages in South East Queensland". The State of Queensland. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
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  13. South East Queensland Regional Plan – Part B: Growth management Archived 19 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine . URL accessed on 21 January 2007.
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  15. "Population growth highlights and trends Queensland 2011" (PDF). Queensland Treasury. September 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 February 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  16. South East Queensland – Department of Infrastructure and Planning
  17. Marissa Calligeros (25 March 2010). "'Fortress Queensland': population cap blasted". Brisbane Times . Fairfax Media. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  18. 1 2 (7 December 2011). South East Queensland Regional Plan Archived 19 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine . Department of Local Government and Planning. Retrieved on 31 March 2012.
  19. Darren Cartwright (11 March 2012). "Activists can't bear Newman's koala protection plan". The Sydney Morning Herald . Fairfax Media. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  20. 1 2 Nadine McGrath (9 September 2007). "Koalas 'in crisis' in South East QLD". Brisbane Times . Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  21. Tom Forbes & Nicole Jacobi (25 February 2010). "Koala habitat plan seen as good start". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  22. "No water restrictions as Wivenhoe runs at high capacity". Brisbane Times . Fairfax Media. 1 September 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2013.