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Council delivers despite challenges of a global pandemic

The first annual report of the new Ipswich City Council has been tabled, showcasing the outcomes delivered to the community during a COVID-19 affected year.

The 2019-20 document details council’s financial performance and progress towards implementing the newly elected council’s five strategic themes:

  • Strengthening our local economy and building prosperity;
  • Managing growth and delivering key infrastructure;
  • Caring for our community;
  • Caring for our environment;
  • Listening, leading and financial management.

Mayor Teresa Harding said that despite the challenges of 2020, there were a number of achievements for Ipswich to celebrate.

“Last year was a year of major transformation for Ipswich City Council, with a number of significant steps taken to restore good governance to the city.

“Under the guidance of Interim Administrator Greg Chemello, council underwent a significant Business Transformation Program, implementing best practice policies and procedures in local governance.”

“Our new council has been committed to transparency and integrity since entering office. We resolved to establish a dedicated online portal for detailed financial data at our first meeting, on 27 April 2020, and we delivered the Transparency and Integrity Hub on 1 July 2020 – a first for Australian local government.”

Mayor Harding highlighted major wins for the Ipswich community over the past 12 months:

  • The top of Nicholas Street was opened, and further progress was made on the Ipswich Central redevelopment, including works on the new library, civic space, car park and council administration building;
  • COVID relief support was delivered to small businesses and community organisations;
  • The Buy Ipswich Procurement Policy was implemented, to strengthen council’s ability to support local business and industry development;
  • The Transparency and Integrity Hub was launched, an Australia-first for local governments;
  • More than $280 million was added to the local economy by 2 million visitors;
  • The new Springfield Central Sports Complex was opened;
  • The Karalee library pod was delivered – a first for Australia, and an example for other cities to emulate;
  • A new Development Planning Independent Decision Review Panel was established;
  • A new Indigenous Accord for 2020-2025 was endorsed;
  • The Small Business Concierge program was introduced: a personalised service to best understand and support local business needs;
  • A Koala Conservation and Habitat Management Plan was adopted;
  • A city-wide three-year capital works program was developed;
  • A range of transparency, integrity and accountability measures were introduced, including: a Complaints Management Units, the Good Governance Guide for ethical practices for decision-making, a new process for fraud and corruption management, and the establishment of ISO Safety Standards across the organisation.

Mayor Harding thanked CEO David Farmer and council staff for delivering for the community in 2019-20 and said that there was more to come for Ipswich.

“Staff across our organisation should be commended for their focus on making a difference for the people of Ipswich over the past financial year,” she said.

“Looking to 2020-21, council is excited to be leading meaningful and genuine community consultation on key issues. We have already been undertaking a range of community visioning workshops to engage residents and stakeholders in the development of the city’s long-term strategy.

This council is also taking action on long-standing waste and infrastructure issues and we will be working more closely than ever before with the community, industry and other levels of government to ensure our future outlook aligns more closely with our growing community’s needs.”

Mayor Harding noted that a number of new sections were incorporated into the annual report to demonstrate council’s commitment to transparency, including:

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