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 Queensland's oldest provincial city and one of the fastest growing local government areas. With that comes both challenge and opportunity for the city which sits of the fringe of the urban growth corridor. With an annual percentage growth rate of 3.5 per cent between 2022 and 2023, Ipswich is forecasted to be one of the fastest growing local government areas in Queensland from now to 2041.

By 2041, Ipswich will reach an estimated population of 456,000 with an annual percentage growth rate of 3.4 per cent between 2021 and 2041, more than twice the state (1.4 per cent) and national (1.2 per cent) average.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics latest regional population estimates for the 2022-2023 financial year saw:

  • Ripley continues to have one of the highest growth rates in Queensland (up by 2,000 people)
  • Redbank Plains had the largest natural increase (430 people).

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.