So what’s in a (Local Government Authority) Name?

Across Queensland there have been a variety of changes to the name of various local governments to better reflect localities and support destination branding.

  • Gold Coast was changed from The South Coast Town Council in 1958
  • Whitsunday Shire Council changed from Proserpine Shire Council in 1989
  • Cassowary Coast Regional Council changed from Cardwell, Johnston and Eacham Shires in 2008
  • Fraser Coast Regional Council changes from Hervey Bay and Maryborough city councils in 2008
  • Sunshine Coast Regional Council changed from Maroochy and Caloundra councils in 2008

In regards to the Gold Coast City Council, in 1958 the main reason that the name was changed from the South Coast Town Council to the Gold Coast Town Council was because it was thought that the name change was good for promotional reasons.

Proserpine Shire changed its name in 1989 as tourism had become the dominant feature of the economy and the area was well known for the Whitsunday Islands.

Changing the name of Livingstone Shire Council to “Capricorn Coast Shire Council” (trading as Capricorn Coast Council) has long been identified in the region’s official Destination Tourism Strategy since 2014, which is supported by both Local and State governments.

A name change is a key Action and has been supported by Councillors over the years but has not been implemented on an assumption it might upset rural/inland ratepayers and bring with it a monetary cost in changing signage and uniforms and the like.

I’m sure rural ratepayers are well aware that the Gold and Sunshine Coasts have magnificent hinterland areas, as does the Capricorn Coast – the Capricorn Caves are a magnificent example. I’m also sure these ratepayers would rather focus on local government delivery of the basic amenities and finances in roads, rates and rubbish rather than worry about a name.

And changing the name does not have to cost anything in signage, as it could be implemented as signs need replacing. Most branding is electronic which costs nothing. The question that needs to be asked is what are we missing out on by not changing the shire name?

Capricorn Enterprise commissioned Lucid Economics in 2019 and again in 2023 to produce a detailed document for Livingstone Shire Council to prove the benefits of a name change.

Along with significant economic data, the report stated that “There are numerous benefits to be gained through the name change of the Livingstone Shire Council to the Capricorn Coast. As with the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast and Cassowary Coast, there are a variety of promotional benefits that could be gained. As tourism is a key industry in our Shire and with branding being such an important aspect of destination marketing, changing the name of the Shire will assist greatly.”

“Given the widespread use of local government names in media, regulatory functions and legislative functions, local government names can contribute in a positive manner to destination marketing and the building of a strong tourism brand.”

The report went on to say “From a branding perspective, the reinforcement that the name change from the Livingstone Shire Council to the Capricorn Coast Shire Council can bring will only support destination marketing efforts, strengthening the existing brand of the Capricorn Coast. Any increase and support that the name change of the local government can bring to the overall brand and destination marketing will support growth in the local tourism market.

The name change would align well with the larger, regional destination brand of Southern Great Barrier Reef, which has long been supported and promoted by Tourism and Events Queensland. Including the Capricorn Coast in the name of the Shire would further align to the existing regional tourism brand through identifying a specific region within the broader tourism region as well as having the name ‘Coast’ which aligns to the ocean and access to the Southern Great Barrier Reef.”

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