Council’s half a billion dollar budget gets on with the job

IPSWICH City Council’s annual budget of $515.3 million includes a capital works investment of $104.5 million. It signalled the city was getting on with the job of delivering for the residents of city.

Acting Mayor Wayne Wendt said it made a strong statement about council’s core focus on roads, rubbish collection, libraries, parks, sport facilities and on delivering improved services and programs.

“The average general rate increase for residential properties is 2.5 per cent,” he said.

“The average increase in total rates and charges equals 92 cents per week.

“This budget is the second biggest in the city’s history and delivers maximum value for money.

“We worked very hard to keep this rise as low as possible with full knowledge of the cost of living pressures facing families.

“This budget is about balancing our quality of life with sustainable growth. Importantly, it is about prioritising projects across all areas of Ipswich.

“Infrastructure must keep pace with our population growth. Currently we are at 210,000 and predicted to increase to 480,000 by 2036.

“A further $5.8 million is allocated this year to complete the $9.4 million upgrade of Old Toowoomba Road Leichhardt to four lanes between Lobb Street and Toongarra Road.

“The new Springfield Central Sports Complex is due to be completed in time for winter sports next year.

“This is the biggest expansion of citywide sports facilities in the city’s history. The $38 million project is majority funded by developer contributions of $34 million with council putting in the balance of $4 million.”

Cr Wendt said the continued redevelopment of Ipswich Central was on track for completion in 2020.

“The core projects are the new multi-level city administration building, and new library, civic square and events space,” he said.

“Completion of this once-in-a-generation project is vital to the future of our city centre and will gain further momentum with the calling of a series of tenders soon.

“The 10 to 15 year redevelopment of Ipswich Central was first announced in 2009 with the first phase being the ICON tower in Brisbane Street which was completed in 2013.

“Today’s budget is for all of Ipswich with money allocated to continue a number of successful and important programs.

“A further $8.5 million has been set aside for the Accelerated Kerb and Channel Program which targets improvements in older suburbs.

“The library service is in for a major expansion with the opening on the new Springfield Central library in August and the green light given for the construction of a new library at Rosewood.

“Council received a substantial commitment from the Queensland Government of $2.7 million towards the total cost of $6 million for the Rosewood library.”

Cr Wendt said the budget kept an eye on the future by funding of planning projects essential to the future liveability and well-being of residents.

“Work will continue for iGO transport planning, Redbank Plains Road stage 4, a Deebing Creek bikeway study and a CBD cycle network corridor,” he said.

“Preserving the city’s built and natural heritage remains central to this budget.

“The planned arts, community and market space at the old Woollen Mills in North Ipswich received a further $1 million to continue restoration of the site.

“A city also needs jobs close to where people live and is one of the essential ingredients to creating a successful community.

“Council will renew its efforts to attract new business and industry to Ipswich in order to create new jobs.

“We will also maintain a strong voice advocating for state and federal government funding for key infrastructure needed now and in the future.”

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