19 October 2021
Big investment, positive change and added transparency measures are the key themes of Ipswich City Council’s 2020-21 Annual Report.
The report, which comes to Council for endorsement on Thursday, documents the significant progress of the new Ipswich City Council in the past 12 months.
Mayor Teresa Harding said the past year had been challenging one for the entire community, but Council had continued to move forward with significant investment and new initiatives for the city.
“This has been a landmark year for Queensland’s fastest growing city, as Council took further steps on our transparency and integrity journey, supported our community through the COVID-19 pandemic, and pushed forward with a reinvigorated capital works program,” Mayor Harding said.
“We welcomed another 6,070 residents to Ipswich in the year to June, with young families continuing to recognise the easy access to jobs, education and affordable lifestyle opportunities our city has to offer.
“We commenced the largest road project in Council’s history with the $46 million Springfield Parkway and Springfield Greenbank Arterial upgrades. This is in addition to new programs to upgrade kerb and channel, and rural roads across Ipswich.
“Australia’s first stand-alone children’s library and the new Ipswich Central Library, Tulmur Place, and 1 Nicholas Street are now open, delivered three months ahead of schedule and $1 million under budget.
“Council was also focused on supporting our community through the challenges of COVID-19. We have now provided more than $2 million in funding relief for local businesses, artists, and organisations since the beginning of the pandemic, including $270,000 in direct payments to local small businesses.”
As an added transparency measure in this year’s Annual Report, Council will also publish the salary of its highest paid executive, the Chief Executive Officer. This sits alongside the launch of its Australian-first Transparency and Integrity Hub on 1 July 2020.
“A key focus of our journey over the past 12 months has been rebuilding trust and giving ratepayers greater access to how their money is being spent,” Mayor Harding said.
“This year has seen residents given access to financial records for Council and its controlled entities, councillor expenses and procurement data for all contracts over $10,000. This was a first for any Council in Australia.”
The 2020-21 Annual Report introduces Council’s new iFuture Corporate Plan 2021-26: “Your vision. Our journey. Council’s plan”.
iFuture, which includes Council’s 20-year community vision, is divided into four themes: Vibrant and Growing; Safe, Inclusive and Creative; Natural and Sustainable; A Trusted and Leading Organisation.
Each theme of iFuture includes a 2041 vision statement and outlines the outcomes Council will achieve over the next five years.
Council’s Key Achievements for 2020-21:
* A new initiative by Council in opening up an 18-month pipeline of procurement opportunities for local businesses. Launched on the Transparency and Integrity Hub, local businesses can now access the Forward Procurement Schedule to find out potential procurement opportunities.
* Council takes innovative steps to cut waste, improve resource recovery and drive the circular economy with the Waste and Circular Economy Transformation Directive, to manage and influence systemic changes across waste, resource recovery and the circular economy.
* Council releases its Annual Budget 2021-22, one that plans for the city’s bright future while managing the needs of today. The $530 million budget finds a balance between limiting the financial impact on ratepayers and residents, while ensuring Council is preparing the city for future growth.
* Council welcomes residents and ratepayers back to the city centre with the official opening of the new administration building, 1 Nicholas Street. More than 200 jobs were created during construction and was delivered both three months ahead of schedule and under budget.
* Australia’s first dedicated stand-alone Children’s Library is opened on the ground floor of the new administration building, complementing the Ipswich Central Library which opened six months earlier. The library is the latest in thinking and design, with a focus on interactivity and engagement.
* Council adopts its first Natural Environment Policy, with a commitment to keep protecting Ipswich’s green spaces and environmental infrastructure in the years ahead and focuses on seven priority areas, including biodiversity and threatened species recovery, wetlands and waterways.
* The first sod is turned on the $70 million boutique Springfield Central Stadium, which will host the Brisbane Lions women’s and men’s AFL teams. The ground has also been chosen as home of the modern pentathlon and football preliminaries for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
* Council kicks off its largest ever road project with the upgrade and duplication of the Springfield Greenbank Arterial and Springfield Parkway. The major construction projects, featuring two key roads in the region, will see them taken from two lanes to four lanes.
* About 1,000 residents in Bellbird Park and Raceview begin Council’s food organics, garden organics (FOGO) trial. Residents in the trial zone will be able to send food waste, leftovers, grass clippings and a range of other organic material for composting rather than to landfill.
* Council’s major project-of-the-future – the Ipswich to Springfield Central public transport corridor – is recognised by Infrastructure Australia and added to the 2021 Infrastructure Priority List. The 25km I2S would include up to nine new rail stations between Ipswich and Springfield Central.