Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding set the bar high for her first 100 days in office, and can report today that she has delivered on her commitments.
Mayor Harding’s 100 Day Fresh Start Plan – part of her 2020 election campaign – reveals 21 items, all achieved or on track as of 23 July.
“I am incredibly proud of this council’s hard work over our first 100 days in office. We set out to deliver a new era of transparency, integrity and good governance to the city of Ipswich, and I am delighted to report that we have taken a number of important steps towards that goal.
“That is what the people of Ipswich wanted, for the city to be recognised and known for all the right reasons, and that is what we are delivering.”
The mayor highlighted that every commitment in the 100 Day Fresh Start Plan had been actioned, with the majority being fully complete, while a number remain a work in progress due to their longer-term nature.
“I will continue to report on these commitments until they are complete,” Mayor Harding said.
Mayor Harding and fellow councillors had come into office in April in the early days of the devastating coronavirus pandemic and that had impacted almost every step.
“There is no getting away from the fact that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on council and the community, and greatly affected the way we operate and almost every decision we have made.
“Council has worked hard to support businesses and ratepayers and residents to get back on track.”
Mayor Harding said there were several standout items from her first 100 days, including:
* Delivering a budget that guides Ipswich through uncertain times
* Launching the Transparency and Integrity Hub, an Australian first for open government
* Working with council, the community and business leaders to plan for the city’s future
* Providing additional support for the creative arts sector
* Drawing a line in the sand for the waste industry, with a clean slate to come
“Through a tremendous collaborative effort by councillors and officers, we delivered a budget for our times on 30 June and set the organisation on a clear path for the year ahead,” she said.
“In addition to briefings during the councillor induction program, a six-week workshop series was also designed and implemented for our newly-elected council to develop its strategic priorities and provide direction on key elements of council’s budget for 2020-2021.
“We announced a number of COVID Recovery Package measures and I was especially proud that councillors and the executive committed to share the burden by unanimously agreeing not to adopt a pay-rise this financial year, instead passing on the savings to deliver services to the community and relief to those in need.
“Another key budget highlight was the launch of a mammoth three-year capital works program, which will deliver much needed vital infrastructure and community assets across the entire city.”
Mayor Harding said the new council had come into office with a clear vision to reinvigorate a city and its people and move well beyond a troubled past. She said councillors were “very focussed and active” in bringing about change to Ipswich, including overseeing the $250 million CBD redevelopment.
“A year down the track, you will see the beating heart of Ipswich alive and well. People are very positive about the CBD and really want this to happen and succeed,” she said.
“I am proud of our history and I am proud of what we are doing now. We are the oldest provincial city and the fastest growing.”
Mayor Harding said she had no intention of slowing the pace of delivery over the next 100 days.
“As of today, I can confirm council has taken the next steps towards releasing more granular data on our leading Transparency and Integrity Hub.
“The CEO is sending letters to all current councillors seeking their express consent to publish data linked to them personally. And letters will be sent all former councillors and directors to seek their express permission to be named in the hub data.
“I will continue to champion the release of retrospective data in the hub that is in the public interest. However my focus will be on the future capabilities of the hub and better transparency for this newly-elected council.”
Mayor Harding said on 1 August she will be launch the Waste and Mining Community Reference Group, which will be tasked with developing and delivering the Clean Slate White Paper to inform people on the future of waste in Ipswich.
“We need to work with operators to raise the bar and improve current management practices and impacts. Our communities cannot be expected to keep suffering through odours, dust and other waste impacts for the next 50 years.”
Mayor Harding also revealed she had recently convened a meeting of business and community leaders from across the region, to work across the three levels of Government to secure commitments for the city’s future.
“I am excited to announce that the Ipswich Leaders Alliance is being established and will officially be launched in the second week of August with a comprehensive advocacy campaign ahead of the state election in October,” she said.
“We must ensure our city is front of mind for all party leaders and their candidates and that we start to get our fair share.
“We need the state government – be it the ALP or the LNP – to step-up and support our city’s growth with proper planning and investment in catalytic infrastructure and policies that work for our communities.”
Mayor Harding said there had been tremendous support from local leaders and the newly-formed alliance would make a huge push on behalf of Ipswich in the lead-up to the state election.