How does council advocate?

Ipswich City Council pursues all avenues for advocacy available at all levels of government. Councillors advocate to ministerial colleagues, senior executives to their peers, and officers to bureaucratic staff.

There is a difference between generally raising awareness and driving a specific, desired outcome. Council’s advocacy approach is structured and coordinated to deliver outcomes, usually investment, in projects that are agreed as priorities to the region in ensuring liveability for its residents.

Why is advocacy important?

Ipswich is the fastest growing region in Queensland. In 2019, Ipswich was estimated to grow by 4.09%, and an additional 3.39% in 2020 (ABS, Regional Population Growth Australia). Ipswich is projected to maintain a similar growth rate at above 4% until 2036. During the same time, Queensland is estimated to have achieved 1.69% in 2019 and 1.62% in 2020.

According to statistics published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics recording population growth for the 2019-20 financial year:

  • Ripley had the highest growth rate in Queensland of 20% - in the top 5 fastest growing suburbs in Australia
  • Springfield Lakes had the third highest suburb population increase in Queensland of 2,000 new residents.

By 2041, Ipswich is projected to have over 557,000 residents, more than doubling from its 2016 census population of 200,123 (Queensland Government Statistician Office, Population Projections by Region, 2016).

Ipswich’s rapid and unprecedented population growth requires an equal acceleration of investment in population-supporting infrastructure to ensure that Ipswich residents are afforded the same level of liveability and opportunity as residents in other regions.

Why these projects?

Council’s regionally significant projects (RSPs) are identified through an evidence-based process as city shaping initiatives that will have a positively transformational impact on the whole of the Ipswich region. They are based in unequivocal need and transcend politics and divisional boundaries.

Typically, RSPs are future-focused infrastructure and policy issues that impact the city’s liveability in the face of unprecedented growth. These projects have long lead times between conception and delivery. The earlier they are advocated for, the more likely they will be delivered when they are needed.

RSPs are cross-governmental in nature. Council is unable to deliver these projects in isolation, which necessitates the need for advocacy.

What is a business case?

In a major project context, a business case is an evidence-building, decision-making framework that ensures that investment is made in the right project and will provide the benefits required.

Business cases provide justification for a project’s investigation and investment, and also forms the baseline to which future performance is measured.

There are several best-practice business case frameworks which are in use at state and federal level. Adherence to these frameworks is important to meet government investment requirements and demonstrates that the ultimate solution will address the identified problem.

A business case development framework sets out to sequentially answer the following questions:

  • Is there a problem?
  • What could solve that problem?
  • What is the preferred/best solution to solve that problem?

This is usually undertaken in the following order and may have been predated by feasibility studies. Each business case phase may be known by different names under different frameworks:

  • Strategic Assessment/Stage 1 Business Case/Strategic Business Case
  • Options Analysis/Stage 2 Business Case/Preliminary Business Case
  • Detailed Business Case/Stage 3 Business Case

Occasionally, Stage 2 and Stage 3 are undertaken as one body of work, referred to as a “Business Case”. Each stage builds upon the previous and requires a proportional increase in technical analysis and expertise, and refines how solutions address problems and defines the benefits that can be expected.