Flood recovery and planning scheme feature in council’s 2021-22 Annual Report

Recovery from two flood events, ongoing revitalisation of Ipswich Central and significant progress made on the city’s new planning scheme are the key themes of council’s 2021-2022 Annual Report.

The report, endorsed on Thursday, documents the significant progress of council in the past 12 months.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said the past year had thrown significant challenges at the region as the community looked to bounce back from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Significant flood events in February and May damaged more than 600 homes, 300 businesses and 250 vehicles along with the loss of livestock and livelihoods,” Mayor Harding said.

“The impact was severe on community assets including parks, roads, conservation estates and our waterways, and when the waters receded our city was left with a hefty recovery bill.

“Council has so far undertaken more than $7 million worth of recovery works, with $30 million allocated in the 2022-2023 Budget for flood recovery across our city.

“Ipswich’s road network continued to grow with almost 33 kilometres of new roads constructed along with 6,520 square metres in transverse line marking and 737,162m longitudinal line marking maintenance.”

Mayor Harding said more than 1,000 Ipswich households participated in council’s food waste collection trial, which led to 82 tonnes of waste being diverted away from landfill.

“There were 33,771 FOGO collections which resulted in 82 tonnes of organic material being diverted from landfill,” Mayor Harding said.

“On average, 87,367 waste wheelie bins were also collected each week across our city.”

Governance and Transparency Committee Chairperson Deputy Mayor Councillor Jacob Madsen said despite the floods, Ipswich remains well positioned to embrace a prosperous future with progress made on an important, new Ipswich Planning Scheme.

“More than 243,000 residents currently call Ipswich home. Growth in our city is sitting around 4 per cent year on year, with growth suburbs averaging nearly 20 per cent,” Cr Madsen said.

“The population growth in the Ipswich City Council Local Government Area is the fastest in South East Queensland when compared on a percentage basis. Ipswich’s new Planning Scheme is progressing well to ensure that our region can accommodate a further 112,000 dwellings by 2041.

“Our city’s continued population growth brings with it a responsibility to maintain Ipswich as a great place to live.”

Mayor Harding said Ipswich has attracted almost $1.5 billion in potential investments across the region, which may create up to 1,500 new jobs over the coming years.

“Leading our city’s investment charge is Ipswich Central, where more than 20 new businesses have opened their doors alongside the growing list of Nicholas Street Precinct tenants as our revitalised CBD continues go from strength to strength,” Mayor Harding said.

“Council’s collaboration with businesses and groups has also seen CBD streets and public spaces come alive throughout the year with dozens of investor meetings, an international working bee in Bell Street, public artwork and increased greenery.

“We are proud of our achievements and the progress that has been made to restore community confidence in council and continue to make Ipswich a city of opportunity for all.”

The City of Ipswich’s Annual Report for 2021–2022 describes the City of Ipswich’s performance over the 2021–2022 financial year, against the objectives of the Annual Plan and Budget 2021–2022 and the priorities of council’s Corporate Plan iFuture – 2021–2026: iFuture.

The report details where council is doing well and opportunities for improvement in helping the community realise its long-term goals. The report represents the first year of iFuture and where council has aligned its reporting to the themes in iFuture.

Council’s Key Achievements for 2021-2022:

  • Work continued on the $250 million Nicholas Street Precinct revitalisation including food venues and streetscapes. The first tenancies opened with work progressing including refurbishment of the Commonwealth Hotel.
  • SPARK Ipswich saw 91 events across 11 days including an Ipswich indie live music crawl, and artworks lighting up council’s Nicholas Street administration building and St Mary’s Church.
  • Council adopted an action plan to guide recreational cycling and walking infrastructure planning, part of council’s Active Ipswich Strategy 2031 which aims to increase participation in cycling and walking to support better health and wellbeing for residents.
  • Council’s Creative Industries Action Plan builds on the Arts and Cultural Strategy 2018–2023 to support a positive arts and cultural future for Ipswich. The addendum recognises the aspirations of creatives in developing sustainable careers based in Ipswich.
  • Ipswich’s oldest cemetery burials are to be mapped using ground penetrating radar. The innovative use of technology is part of a council project to redesign some of Ipswich General Cemetery that was razed by the Cemetery Trustee in the 1970s.
  • Shaped by feedback from traditional owners, stakeholders, environmental groups and local data, council’s first Natural Environment Policy conserves native habitat and protects waterways, providing a boost to native flora and fauna.
  • Council’s Free Plant Program took to the streets in February as the mobile nursery began visiting local suburbs. More than 100,000 free plants were up for grabs, with residents entitled to six free plants each financial year under the Free Plant Program.
  • Ipswich Libraries, for the second year in a row, was awarded for its outstanding excellence in innovation at the Local Government Managers Australia Excellence Awards, alongside key revitalisation projects – a community shaping Ipswich Central Partnership and the Façade Improvement program.
  • Local domestic violence prevention organisations benefited from about $61,000 raised through the auction of almost 400 memorabilia items that were accumulated by the previous council and unable to be disposed of until the Crime and Corruption Commission investigation had concluded.
  • Established in 2019, the new Independent Decision Review Panel undertook its first public hearing in August 2021 to handle sensitive development applications and was put into play for the first time after receiving a development application for a new landfill and recycling centre in Ipswich.

To read council’s 2021-22 Annual Report in full click here.

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