Local offices will be established in the Springfield Central, Redbank Plains and Rosewood libraries in the coming months to help the community connect more with their Ipswich City Councillors.
Unanimously supported, the resolution will see fewer offices established compared to previous administrations, three rather than 10, in addition to the community meetings spaces available at 1 Nicholas Street.
Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding welcomed the move, saying she supported Deputy Mayor Cr Nicole Jonic’s initiative to bring the notice of motion to council.
“We’re a big city, with a number of urban centres outside of the CBD, so it makes sense to have spaces available for councillors and the community to meet outside of the city centre,” Mayor Harding said.
“While I understand the reasons why division offices were closed after the previous administration was dismissed, having councillors available in the suburbs has been one of the most frequently asked questions since the new council was elected.
“Division offices cost the council around $2 million a year to run – without them we’ve been able to do things like rural roads, kerb and channel, and a range of other things, but this proposal presents a cost effective compromise.”
Cr Jonic said many residents had reported concern at the distance they had to travel to the CBD to meet a councillor at the administration building and were unfamiliar with the booking process.
“I’d love to have a hub that is available to all councillors within their divisions so we could facilitate meetings on a more ad hoc basis,” Cr Jonic said.
“It’s important that councillors can meet with their community near where they live and work, and it makes sense to have these facilities in places where residents can also do other things like pay rates, get books out of the library, and have community meetings.”
Division offices were discontinued in August 2018 during administration and are estimated to have cost $2 million a year – a saving of $8 million over a four-year term of council.
All councillors spoke in favour of the motion and voted unanimously in support.
The spaces will be investigated and established over the coming weeks.