Ipswich City Council CEO David Farmer on Tuesday announced he will be leaving in April to take up a new role as CEO of Central Coast Council in New South Wales.
Mr Farmer joined Ipswich City Council in February 2019 while it was under administration and has overseen a range of governance improvements and the return of the elected council in April 2020.
“Coming in during the administration period and having to deal with the legacy of the poor governance that preceded it was extremely difficult. However I would like to recognise the great team which has stepped up to the challenge and made numerous changes to improve the council’s performance,” Mr Farmer said.
“Change is difficult and has its ups and downs and I am convinced that the organisation is on the right path to grow into an excellent one.
“We have now returned from administration to its rightful state with an elected council which is bedding down well.
“The new council has had to plot its own unique path given that many of the ways of the past had been discredited, as shown in a number of public reports including the Crime and Corruption Commission’s Operation Windage.
“I’ve enjoyed overseeing major projects such as the Ipswich CBD, which is now moving towards the opening of Stage 3 being the Administration Building and the Ipswich Children’s Library.
“This is a complex and risky project, especially during a global pandemic, but I’m really pleased with the quality of the product to date. Future stages of commercial development will put further life back into what had become a derelict city centre.”
Mr Farmer is moving to take charge of Central Coast Council, Australia’s sixth largest local government, which is currently under administration with its councillors being suspended after the NSW Government was forced to step in late last year to ensure that it was able to pay its staff and creditors.
Mr Farmer has a history of taking councils from crisis through to stability and ultimately prosperity, having done this in Cairns, Wollongong and now Ipswich over the past 20 years.
“I’m looking forward to bringing my experience to this role, to help guide this organisation forward through a very difficult path,” he said.
Mr Farmer will be leaving Ipswich City Council in early April to take up his new role.
Mayor Teresa Harding thanked Mr Farmer for his two years of service at Ipswich City Council.
“David has done a tremendous job seeing the council through one of the darkest periods in its 161-year history to now be in a positive position and with much to look forward to in 2021 and beyond,” Mayor Harding said.
“He oversaw so much change, after the previous council was dismissed in August 2018, with council going under administration almost immediately. David worked closely with interim administrator Greg Chemello and his successor Steve Greenwood, and the interim management committee, and helped restore good governance practices and processes within the organisation.
“The CEO was instrumental in the decision to proceed with the $250 million Nicholas Street Precinct and CBD redevelopment which will transform Ipswich forever.
“At the return of elected representatives last year, David supported this new council with hitting the ground running and quickly getting to grips with the city’s $600 million budget and progressing that from the outset.
“On behalf of the people of Ipswich, I would like to thank David for the strong work he has done with council and councillors and I congratulate him on his new appointment.
“He will bring vast knowledge and experience to that role and will undoubtedly get that NSW council back on its feet, as he has done in several previous council roles.
“David’s considered leadership will certainly be missed, however this presents an exciting opportunity for Queensland’s fastest growing city.”