Of the more than $1 billion of investment in the “Ipswich Region” outlined in the 2022-23 State Budget, less than half of that funding will be spent in the Ipswich local government area with the majority going to neighbouring Brisbane, Somerset, Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim local government areas.
Council was relieved to see extra disaster recovery and reconstruction funding and two new schools coming to the city but was disappointed to once again miss out on major investment in transport infrastructure to support the region’s growing population.
Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding welcomed $25.1 million in additional funding to rebuild the city following the February and May flood events, but was concerned to see social housing funding in Ipswich reduced in this year’s Budget.
“Ipswich has a long road ahead in its flood recovery, so this new injection of funding for disaster recovery will be welcomed news to our impacted communities,” Mayor Harding said.
“It was disappointing, in the midst of a housing crisis in Ipswich, to see spending on social housing in our region go backwards. It is down from $51.9 million in last year’s Budget to just $34.3 million this year.”
Ipswich also missed out on investment in major transport projects, with the city again receiving the third lowest funding for transport in South East Queensland.
“Ipswich is Queensland’s fastest growing city with our population set to more than double in the coming decade, yet the city struggles to secure the investment needed to support its rapid growth,” Mayor Harding said.
“We were pleased to see the State confirm its commitment to the Ipswich to Springfield Central Public Transport Corridor, announced as part of the SEQ City Deal, but the Budget fell short of supporting a long awaited second inner-city river crossing for Ipswich.
“We will continue to work with our local State MPs on how we can better secure the funding we need to get these vital projects shovel ready.”
There were some minor transport infrastructure improvements announced, with funding committed towards planning and businesses cases for the Cunningham Highway (Amberley intersection), and Warrego Highway (Mt Crosby interchange and Haigslea-Amberley interchange).
The largest new road project for Ipswich in the budget next year is $3.5 million for the installation of guardrails along the Cunningham Highway from Dinmore to Redbank Plains, however overall transport funding slipped from previous years.
“Over the four years included in the State Budget, Ipswich has $92.4 million allocated in the Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program (QTRIP), an almost six per cent decrease, which trails all other SEQ councils except for Somerset and Noosa,” Mayor Harding said.
“In comparison, the Gold Coast has $3.4 billion forecast spend which is up 16.26 per cent.”
This year health and education will be boosted for Ipswich with $34.9 million to be spent at the Ipswich Hospital, $4.4 million on the Ripley Ambulance Station and West Moreton District Office, and further funding to deliver a Satellite Hospital.
“Our community will also be delighted to have two new primary schools in Ripley Valley and in Augustine Heights to provide quality education in our fast-growing areas of Ipswich as well as additional new buildings in local schools,” Mayor Harding said.
“New investment in health and expanding the Ipswich Hospital is certainly good news for residents.
“A real need, however, is investment in Ipswich Hospital to become a tertiary facility and expand the services it offers to our residents.
“We need specialised cardiac care, orthopaedic care, more complex birthing facilities and a lot more specialised treatment for cancer.
“Ipswich desperately needs an expanded emergency department to reduce ambulance ramping and support the hardworking and compassionate people in our local health services.
“Currently, a third of all patients who present at the Ipswich Hospital cannot be treated there – and need to be sent to Brisbane. This is a telling figure for our region’s primary hospital.
“Ipswich Hospital needs to be upgraded to a tertiary facility to ensure Ipswich residents can be treated in Ipswich and that is what we will continue to advocate for.”
Council also welcomed additional funding for local government to move towards recycling and resource recovery and transition away from landfill which was a positive sign for Ipswich.
“We were pleased to see the announcement of $964.2 million over five years to support Queensland councils and industry to invest in infrastructure and programs to reduce waste,” Mayor Harding said.
“As Ipswich currently takes in the lion’s share of waste in Queensland, I look forward to finding out what this means for our city.”
No new funding was provided for the Ipswich Central Second River Crossing, the North Ipswich Sport and Entertainment Precinct or the Ebenezer Regional Industrial Area, projects which could provide significant economic and social benefits to Ipswich.
Article source: www.ipswichfirst.com.au