The Mackay Town Council became the Mackay City Council on 17 August 1918. On 8 April 1994 a new City of Mackay Council was formed from the merger of Mackay City Council and Pioneer Shire Council.
Under the "Local Authorities Act 1902", the primary function of Shire Councils was to provide such public services and amenities as parks and reserves, cemeteries, libraries and recreational facilities, water and sanitation services, roads, bridges, wharves, street lighting, public health services (such as immunisations), licences and registrations for businesses, markets and animals, town planning, and the control of noxious weeds and other pests.
The Council was also responsible for administering the Local Fund, and until 1944, for valuing properties within the Shire for the purpose of determining and collecting rates, which together with endowments and loans formed its revenue base. The general powers of Council were exercised through the passing of by-laws approved by Governor-in-Council.
The Shire was governed by a rate-payer elected council comprising a chairman and councillors. Under the "Local Government Act 1993", the title Chairman was replaced by Mayor. Special or general purpose committees were appointed reporting to Council. Council appointed its own officers to administer its business, headed by a Shire Clerk/Chief Executive Officer.
On 15 March 2008, Mackay City amalgamated with the Mirani and Sarina Shires to form the Mackay Region.