Ipswich City Council is urging locals MPs and an incoming State Government to support and prioritise a fast rail network in South East Queensland.
Mayor Teresa Harding said a proposal for a direct Ipswich Central-Springfield Central public transport corridor would complement a Council of Mayors (SEQ) push for fast rail in south-east Queensland.
Mayor Harding joined fellow local government leaders in Brisbane today supporting their fast rail plan.
The SEQ mayors envisage a network that would ultimately connect Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba.
The Ipswich-Springfield link would be vital to a fast passenger rail service between Brisbane and Toowoomba. It could cut travel between Ipswich and Brisbane CBD down from 45 minutes to about 21 minutes.
Mayor Harding, speaking with the mayors, said she strongly supported all SEQ local governments working together and needing to be part of the conversation with future planning by the State Government elected at the October 31 poll.
The Ipswich Central-Springfield Central public transport corridor, known as I2S, is a designated 25km area that will shape Ipswich well into the future. It connects key growth area along the corridor including Ripley, Redbank Plains, Deebing Heights and Yamanto.
The Ipswich Leaders Alliance, an advocacy group chaired by Mayor Harding, has put I2S front and centre ahead of the state election.
“Ipswich is the fastest-growing region in Queensland, with an annual population growth rate of 4.1 per cent – that’s approximately 3 per cent above the state and national averages,” she said.
“Ipswich is a city of opportunities and connectivity through this corridor will ensure we become the most liveable and productive region in Queensland.
“With approximately 70 per cent of the population growth in Ipswich occurring in the region between Ipswich and Springfield, this public transport corridor will help to ensure that the people of Ipswich keep our great lifestyles as the region grows and continued access to jobs and vital services.”
Mayor Harding said $2.5 million in funding is required to progress the next phase of planning and explore various options.
She said without a mass transit solution, the road network will fail by 2031, with realistic forecasts of a two-hour-plus commute from Ripley to Brisbane by car in 2036.
“A dedicated connection between Ipswich and Springfield, which will dove-tail into the Council of Mayors’ fast rail network, will provide unprecedented accessibility for our residents.
“There will be improved travel times, economic and employment opportunity along the corridor, diversified housing supply and the improved congestion.”
The Council of Mayors (SEQ) first proposed the concept of a South East Queensland Fast Rail Network as part of its 2019 SEQ People Mass Movement Study. The study outlined a list of 47 priority projects aimed at accommodating the region’s growth and avoiding the future economic burden of congestion.
Infrastructure Australia forecasts that congestion will cost the South East Queensland economy $6 billion per year by 2031. This mirrors the findings of the SEQ People Mass Movement Study which predicts that, based on the region’s current transport planning, all major road corridors will be gridlocked by 2041.
New polling indicates that almost 90 per cent of voters back the fast rail concept and more than half of the south-east would be more likely to vote for a candidate in the state election if they supported fast rail, according to the latest ReachTel poll commissioned by the Council of Mayors (SEQ).
The mayors also called on the State Government to provide real fast rail funding, not just for improvements to existing train services.
“We’re asking the State and Opposition to commit to partnering with the Federal Government, Council of Mayors (SEQ) and industry to bring these proposals together. The entire south east region needs fast rail, particularly here in the booming west,” Mayor Harding said.