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Transport infrastructure top of Ipswich wish list for SEQ City Deal

A City Deal for South East Queensland must include transformational transport infrastructure to help unlock Ipswich and the region’s economic potential, according to Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding.

The SEQ City Deal is a 20-year agreement between the three levels of government to identify and prioritise projects and initiatives that can accelerate a region’s economic growth and job creation.

The SEQ City Deal was announced in February 2019. Since then, the Federal and State governments and the Council of Mayors (SEQ) have been in negotiations to finalise the Deal.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said the biggest benefit Ipswich could leverage from the Deal would be investment in the major transport infrastructure needed to support the city’s rapid growth.

“Ipswich is the fastest growing city in Queensland and will welcome an additional 330,000 people over the next 20 years,” Mayor Harding said.

“Growth at the levels we’re experiencing in Ipswich, without the supporting transport infrastructure, is simply not sustainable.

“While the Deal is yet to be finalised, this model presents a rare opportunity for the three levels of government to work collaboratively on what our region needs for the coming decades.”

The Council of Mayors (SEQ) initially proposed an SEQ City Deal to address the significant lag in transport infrastructure across South East Queensland, particularly in the lead up to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In the most recent Commonwealth and State budgets, Ipswich received little to no new funding for major transport projects despite the city taking in 30 percent of South East Queensland’s forecast population growth.

Ipswich City Council has a number of regionally significant projects it has put forward for consideration as part of the SEQ City Deal, including:

Ipswich to Springfield Central (I2S) public transport corridor: $10m to complete options analysis and a detailed business case and ensure the project is shovel-ready.

Ipswich Central Second River Crossing: $2.5m to complete a detailed business case and ensure the project is shovel ready.

Cunningham Highway – Yamanto to Ebenezer Creek (including Amberley Interchange): Urgent upgrades to facilitate access to the Amberley RAAF base and to address significant safety issues at the Amberley interchange.

Warrego Highway – Mt Crosby Interchange: Urgent interchange upgrade required to address capacity and safety issues.

North Ipswich Sport and Entertainment Precinct: $2.5m to complete a detailed business case and ensure the project is shovel-ready.

Waste and Recycling Reform and Circular Economy: Comprehensive review and reform of resource recovery policy and fit-for-purpose waste and resource recovery infrastructure.

Ebenezer Regional Industrial Area: An intermodal terminal for Ebenezer in conjunction with Inland Rail project, and catalyst infrastructure investment to enable land development and job creation.

Mayor Harding added that before council could support a Deal, it would need to ensure it advances Ipswich’s advocacy priorities, support the city’s population growth and generates local jobs.

“Unfortunately, council cannot solve the challenge of population growth on its own. We welcome any Deal that ensures the City of Ipswich receives the investment needed to grow sustainably.” Mayor Harding said.

The SEQ City Deal was initial due for completion in mid-2020 but was delayed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. A final list of projects for consideration by council is anticipated by the end of 2021.

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