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Change in urban land use extent

Key Finding

The extent of urbanisation varies greatly between Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions across Queensland. The most urbanised regions are in the east and south — South East Queensland NRM region (15.50%), Reef NRM region (4.10%), Burnett Mary NRM region (2.80%), and Wet Tropics NRM region (2.27%) — while western and northern regions remain least urbanised.

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NRM (select locations to filter information)

Queensland

Most recent mapping, completed between 2012 and 2017, shows 124 urban settlements with a combined total area 935,113ha occupy 0.53% of Queensland. This level of urbanisation is about average for Australia — less than that of the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales, and more than that of the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia.

Since 1999, the total area of urban settlements in Queensland has increased by 11.17% (or 93,947ha). Urban areas have expanded in all regions except Cape York Natural Resource Management (NRM) region and Torres Strait Regional Authority region. Proportionally, urbanisation has increased most in Reef NRM region (19.25%) whilst on an area basis the greatest increase has been in South East Queensland (SEQ) NRM region (32,123ha).

Over the period 1999 to 2016 Queensland’s resident population grew more than 3 times faster than the area of urban land use across the state.

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Burnett Mary

Most recent mapping, completed in 2017, shows 16 urban settlements — Bundaberg, Burnett Heads, Cherbourg, Childers, Cooroy, Gayndah, Gympie, Hervey Bay, Kingaroy, Maryborough, Monto, Mundubbera, Murgon, Nanango, Tin Can Bay and Wondai — occupy a combined total area of 155,185ha, representing 2.80% of the Burnett Mary Natural Resource Management (NRM) region.

The area mapped as urban settlements in the Burnett Mary NRM region has increased by 14.04% (or 19,107ha) since 1999.

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Cape York

Most recent mapping, completed in 2015, shows 3 urban settlements — Cooktown, Kowanyama and Weipa — occupy a combined 11,462ha, representing 0.07% of the Cape York Natural Resource Management (NRM) region.

The area mapped as urban settlements in the Cape York NRM region has decreased by 56.37% (or 14,808ha) since 1999.

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Desert Channels

Desert Channels contains the lowest proportion of urban land use of any Natural Resource Management (NRM) region in Queensland.

Most recent mapping, completed in 2016, shows 4 urban settlements — Barcaldine, Blackall, Longreach and Winton — occupy a combined 17,162ha, representing 0.03% of the region.

The area mapped as urban settlements in the Desert Channels NRM region has increased by 8.40% (or 1,330ha) since 1999.

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Fitzroy Basin

Most recent mapping, completed in 2017, shows 17 urban settlements — Biloela, Blackwater, Boyne Island, Clermont, Dysart, Emerald, Emu Park, Gladstone, Middlemount, Moranbah, Mount Morgan, Moura, Rockhampton, Tannum Sands, Tieri, Woorabinda and Yeppoon — occupy a combined 134,890ha, representing 0.86% of the Fitzroy Basin Natural Resource Management (NRM) region.

The area mapped as urban settlements in the Fitzroy Basin NRM region has increased by 12.40% (or 14,879ha) since 1999.

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Northern Gulf

Northern Gulf Natural Resource Management (NRM) region is the second least urbanised in Queensland, with only Desert Channels NRM Region containing a lower percentage of urban land. Most recent mapping, completed in 2015, shows the only urban settlement in Northern Gulf NRM Region is Normanton occupying a total area of 8,480ha, representing 0.05% of the region.

Northern Gulf NRM region has experienced one of the lowest increases in urban land use in the state (of 687ha or 8.82%) since 1999.

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North Queensland Dry Tropics

Most recent mapping, completed in 2016, shows 8 urban settlements — Ayr, Bowen, Charters Towers, Collinsville, Deeragun, Glenden, Home Hill and Townsville — occupy a combined area of 56,394ha, representing 0.40% of the NQ Dry Tropics Natural Resource Management (NRM) region.

The area mapped as urban settlements in the NQ Dry Tropics NRM region has increased by 13.09% (6,525ha) since 1999.

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Reef

Reef Natural Resource Management (NRM) region is the second most urbanised region in Queensland. Most recent mapping, completed in 2016, shows 7 urban settlements — Airlie Beach, Bucasia, Glenella, Mackay, Proserpine, Sarina and Walkerston — occupy a combined area of 37,546ha, representing 4.10% of the region.

Reef NRM region has experienced the greatest proportional expansion of urban land use in the state (by 19.25% or 6,062ha) since 1999.

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South East Queensland

South East Queensland (SEQ) Natural Resource Management (NRM) region is the most urbanised region in Queensland. Most recent mapping, completed in 2012–2013, shows 34 urban settlements — Beachmere, Beaudesert, Beenleigh, Beerwah, Bli Bli, Boonah, Brisbane, Buderim, Caboolture, Caloundra, Coolum Beach, Crows Nest, Eagle Heights, Gatton, Gold Coast, Highfields, Ipswich, Kilcoy, Laidley, Landsborough, Logan, Lowood, Maroochydore, Morayfield, Mudjimba, Nambour, Nerang, Noosa, Palmwoods, Peregian Beach, Redcliffe, Rosewood, Redland Bay, and Woodford — occupy a combined 360,250ha, representing 15.50% of the SEQ NRM region.

SEQ NRM region experienced the greatest increase in urban land use in the state by area since 1999 (by 9.79% or 32,123ha).

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Southern Gulf

Southern Gulf Natural Resource Management (NRM) region is the second least urbanised in the state. Most recent mapping, completed in 2015, shows 4 urban settlements — Cloncurry, Doomadgee, Hughenden and Mount Isa — occupy a combined area 11,939ha, representing 0.06% of the Southern Gulf NRM region.

Southern Gulf NRM region has experienced the lowest increase in urban land use (by 5.49% or 621ha) since 1999.

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Southern Queensland

Most recent mapping, completed in 2015 indicates 17 urban settlements — Charleville, Chinchilla, Cunnamulla, Dalby, Goondiwindi, Inglewood, Kingsthorpe, Millmerran, Miles, Mitchell, Oakey, Pittsworth, Roma, St George, Stanthorpe, Toowoomba and Warwick — occupy a combined area 91,421ha, representing 0.29% of the Southern Queensland Natural Resource Management (NRM) region.

The area mapped as urban settlements in the Southern Queensland NRM region has increased by 7.56% (or 6,423ha) since 1999.

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Torres Strait

Most recent mapping, completed in 2015, shows the Torres Strait Natural Resource Management (NRM) region’s only urban settlement of Thursday Island occupied 394ha, representing 1.45% of the region.

The area mapped as urban settlements in the Torres Strait NRM region has decreased by 63.71% (or 693ha) since 1999.

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Wet Tropics

Most recent mapping, completed in 2015, shows 11 urban settlements — Atherton, Babinda, Cairns, Cardwell, Gordonvale, Ingham, Innisfail, Tully, Machans Beach, Mareeba and Mossman — occupy a combined area of 49,989ha, representing 2.27% of the Wet Tropics Natural Resource Management (NRM) region.

The area mapped as urban settlements in the Wet Tropics NRM region has increased by 11.62% (or 5,205ha) since 1999.

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Relevant Sustainable Development Goals’ targets

  • GOAL 11: SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES
  • GOAL 12: RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
  • GOAL 15: LIFE ON LAND

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2017*

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19992017
Hectares841,166935,113

*2017 data is composed of regional data sourced at different times

Proportion of urban and non-urban areas as at 2017*

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UrbanNon-Urban
Hectares935,113174,542,202

*2017 data is composed of regional data sourced at different times

Urban area growth by region

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2017 in Burnett Mary NRM region

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19992017
Hectares136,079155,185

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2017 in Burnett Mary NRM region

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19992017
Hectares136,079155,185

Proportion of Burnett Mary NRM region made up of urban and non-urban areas in 2017

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UrbanNon-Urban
Hectares155,1855,395,639

Proportion of Queensland made up of urban area in Burnett Mary NRM region in 2017

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Queensland urbanBurnett Mary NRM region urban
Hectares175,477,315155,185

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Cape York NRM region

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19992015
Hectares26,27111,462

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Cape York NRM region

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19992015
Hectares26,27111,462

Proportion of Cape York NRM region made up of urban and non-urban areas in 2015

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UrbanNon-Urban
Hectares11,46216,529,995

Proportion of Queensland made up of urban area in Cape York NRM region in 2015

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Queensland urbanCape York NRM region urban
Hectares175,477,31511,462

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2016 in Desert Channels NRM region

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19992016
Hectares15,83117,162

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2016 in Desert Channels NRM region

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19992016
Hectares15,83117,162

Proportion of Desert Channels NRM region made up of urban and non-urban areas in 2016

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UrbanNon-Urban
Hectares17,16250,987,996

Proportion of Queensland made up of urban area in Desert Channels NRM region in 2016

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Queensland urbanDesert Channels NRM region urban
Hectares175,477,31517,162

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2017 in Fitzroy Basin NRM region

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19992017
Hectares120,011134,890

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2017 in Fitzroy Basin NRM region

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19992017
Hectares120,011134,890

Proportion of Fitzroy Basin NRM region made up of urban and non-urban areas in 2017

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UrbanNon-Urban
Hectares134,89015,476,608

Proportion of Queensland made up of urban area in Fitzroy Basin NRM region in 2017

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Queensland urbanFitzroy Basin NRM region urban
Hectares175,477,315134,890

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2012–13 in South East Queensland NRM region

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19992012–13
Hectares328,127360,250

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2012–13 in South East Queensland NRM region

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19992012–13
Hectares328,127360,250

Proportion of South East Queensland NRM region made up of urban and non-urban areas in 2012–13

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UrbanNon-Urban
Hectares360,2501,963,842

Proportion of Queensland made up of urban area in South East Queensland NRM region in 2012–13

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Queensland urbanSouth East Queensland NRM region urban
Hectares175,477,315360,250

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Northern Gulf NRM region

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19992015
Hectares7,7938,480

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Northern Gulf NRM region

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19992015
Hectares7,7938,480

Proportion of Northern Gulf NRM region made up of urban and non-urban areas in 2015

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UrbanNon-Urban
Hectares8,48016,419,848

Proportion of Queensland made up of urban area in Northern Gulf NRM region in 2015

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Queensland urbanNorthern Gulf NRM region urban
Hectares175,477,3158,480

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2015 in North Queensland Dry Tropics NRM region

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19992015
Hectares49,86956,394

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2015 in North Queensland Dry Tropics NRM region

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19992015
Hectares49,86956,394

Proportion of North Queensland Dry Tropics NRM region made up of urban and non-urban areas in 2015

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UrbanNon-Urban
Hectares56,39414,003,803

Proportion of Queensland made up of urban area in North Queensland Dry Tropics NRM region in 2015

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Queensland urbanNorth Queensland Dry Tropics NRM region urban
Hectares175,477,31556,394

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Reef NRM region

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19992015
Hectares31,48437,546

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Reef NRM region

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19992015
Hectares31,48437,546

Proportion of Reef NRM region made up of urban and non-urban areas in 2015

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UrbanNon-Urban
Hectares37,546877,696

Proportion of Queensland made up of urban area in Reef NRM region in 2015

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Queensland urbanReef NRM region urban
Hectares175,477,31537,546

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Southern Gulf NRM region

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19992015
Hectares11,31811,939

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Southern Gulf NRM region

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19992015
Hectares11,31811,939

Proportion of Southern Gulf NRM region made up of urban and non-urban areas in 2015

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UrbanNon-Urban
Hectares11,93919,396,856

Proportion of Queensland made up of urban area in Southern Gulf NRM region in 2015

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Queensland urbanSouthern Gulf NRM region urban
Hectares175,477,31511,939

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Southern Queensland NRM region

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19992015
Hectares84,99891,421

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Southern Queensland NRM region

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19992015
Hectares84,99891,421

Proportion of Southern Queensland NRM region made up of urban and non-urban areas in 2015

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UrbanNon-Urban
Hectares91,42131,307,278

Proportion of Queensland made up of urban area in Southern Queensland NRM region in 2015

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Queensland urbanSouthern Queensland NRM region urban
Hectares175,477,31591,421

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Wet Tropics NRM region

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19992015
Hectares44,78449,989

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Wet Tropics NRM region

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19992015
Hectares44,78449,989

Proportion of Wet Tropics NRM region made up of urban and non-urban areas in 2015

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UrbanNon-Urban
Hectares49,9892,155,845

Proportion of Queensland made up of urban area in Wet Tropics NRM region in 2015

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Queensland urbanWet Tropics NRM region urban
Hectares175,477,31549,989

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Torres Strait NRM region

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19992015
Hectares1,087394

Urban area growth between 1999 and 2015 in Torres Strait NRM region

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19992015
Hectares1,087394

Proportion of Torres Strait NRM region made up of urban and non-urban areas in 2015

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UrbanNon-Urban
Hectares39426,799

Proportion of Queensland made up of urban area in Torres Strait NRM region in 2015

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Queensland urbanTorres Strait NRM region urban
Hectares175,477,315394

Download data from Queensland Government data

Metadata

Change in the extent of land used for urban purposes in each of the 11 NRM Regions that cover Queensland between 1999 and either 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 or 2017 (depending on the region) mapped using the standards the Australian Land Use and Management Classification (updated to the version most current at the time of mapping).