The City of Ipswich today celebrates one year since the new council was sworn into office and brought the return of elected councillors to the people of Ipswich.
Mayor Teresa Harding and councillors took the “oath of office” at the height of the coronavirus pandemic on 14 April 2020. Mayor Harding was sworn in as Ipswich’s 51st and first female Mayor in the city’s 160-year history.
She said the anniversary was an opportunity to reflect on steps forward for Ipswich over the past 12 months and to highlight council’s commitment to delivering for the community.
“Ipswich is the fastest-growing city in Queensland, a hub for advanced manufacturing, and a tourist destination for families,” Mayor Harding said.
“A flourishing city needs leadership that is committed to transparency, integrity, and making a positive difference for the community.”
Mayor Harding highlighted outcomes for Ipswich during council’s first year in office:
- Delivering the Transparency and Integrity Hub, a first for local governments across Australia
- Adopting the Waste and Circular Economy Transformation Directive for leadership on commercial waste industry impacts
- Delivering a $600 million budget, including $2 million in COVID relief support for local businesses, community and sporting organisations
- Holding the inaugural Creators of Ipswich Summit to empower the city’s creative sector
- Delivering Stage 2 of the $246 million Nicholas Street Precinct Redevelopment
- Developing 20-year community vision iFuture and corporate plan (2021-26)
- Collaborating with the city’s chambers of commerce and signing on as Queensland’s first Small Business Friendly Council
- Delivering an advocacy program for additional infrastructure and services for the Ipswich community in the lead up to the State Election
- Establishing a community grant program to support ANZAC Day commemorations
- Enhancing council’s mowing response, to address high grass growth in public spaces
- Ipswich proposed as a host city in the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games proposal for South East Queensland
“In particular, council has distributed more than $1.2 million to local community organisations, sporting groups, artists and small businesses over the past 12 months,” she said.
“More than $800,000 of that has been provided to local community organisations and sporting groups. This has been used for everything from youth engagement programs to improving disability access or starting a community garden.
“2020 was a challenging year for our community between the COVID pandemic and the October 31 hailstorms, which resulted in a damage bill of approximately $1 billion.
“It has been a real focus of council to support local businesses during our recovery, with about $223,000 in funding in the past year directly supporting more than 100 local small businesses.”
Looking ahead, Mayor Harding said council would continue to focus on investment, infrastructure and improved customer service, ahead of the city’s unprecedented population growth.
“Ipswich is set to welcome an additional 330,000 community members to 2041, as our population grows to 558,000 over the next 20 years.
“Council introduced its first three-year capital program this year to ensure the delivery of infrastructure needed for the future, and our new city planning scheme will also be a vital component.
“The business community and many residents and ratepayers across Ipswich took a financial hit during 2020, and council was not exempt from the pandemic’s impacts.
“Now, we are preparing a stream-lined budget for the 2021-22 financial year which will put our city in a strong position for the future,” said Mayor Harding.