2023-24 Federal Budget: Cost of living relief but no new infrastructure

11 May 2023

The 2023-24 Federal Budget provided cost of living relief for Ipswich residents struggling to make ends meet, but put a hold on any new investment in infrastructure for Queensland’s fastest growing city.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said a pre-Budget announcement of a Federal Government 90-day infrastructure pipeline review meant council had not been expecting funding details on key Ipswich projects in last night’s Budget.

“While it means we may have to wait a little longer, I look forward to the outcome of the Federal Government’s 90-day review. As Queensland’s fastest growing city, Ipswich desperately needs infrastructure investment to support our growing communities.

“We have already secured support for the Ipswich to Springfield Central Public Transport Corridor, and I have no doubt an infrastructure review will only strengthen the case for this critical project.”

Mayor Harding also welcomed the strong commitment to flood warning infrastructure, which aims to provide more timely flood alerts to residents and address reliability issues.

“A commitment of $236 million over ten years for high priority flood warning infrastructure will complement council’s own upgrade of flood gauges and cameras following recent floods.

“As we saw in February 2022, early warning is critical to ensure we can protect residents and their personal property during extreme weather events.”

Other points of note included an ongoing commitment to funding for critical infrastructure programs including Roads of Strategic Importance and Black Spot Projects over the next four years.

The budget contained a Thriving Suburbs Program and an Urban Precincts and Partnerships Program. The Federal Government also have a Growing Regions Program. All three programs are competitive and will be awarded on a merit basis.

“I have discussed these programs with Milton Dick MP, Member for Oxley and Shayne Neumann MP, Member for Blair and council will work with our local members to secure funding for local projects through these programs.”

However, cuts to Financial Assistant Grants, the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, Roads to Recovery Program and Bridges Renewal Program – all critical funding sources for Local Government – signalled tough times ahead for many Queensland councils.

“The popular Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program has been cut for Queensland with funding decreasing from $171 million this year to $71 million next year and is only funded until 30 June 2026. In the past, this program has delivered footpaths and bike paths, sporting field upgrades and kerb and road rehabilitation across Ipswich.

“If there is less financial support from the Federal Government, the cost will be shifted onto the ratepayer. I am hopeful there may be time for the Prime Minister to reconsider the community benefits delivered through these important programs. I will make sure I raise this with him when he visits the Ipswich Show,” said Mayor Harding.

Council’s Federal Pre-Budget submission made a compelling case for a range of critical infrastructure projects including the Ipswich to Springfield Public Transport Corridor, the Ipswich Central Second River Crossing and the North Ipswich Sport and Entertainment Precinct.

“Ipswich has been very strategic and persistent in its fighting for several key projects that will transform this community,” Mayor Harding said.

“We are one of the nation’s economic engine rooms, with an annual gross regional product of $12 billion, and predictions of 20,000 plus more jobs for this community over the coming decade.

“Population growth remains both an opportunity and challenge for Ipswich. To manage growth sustainably, we need the ongoing support of the Federal and State governments to deliver the essential infrastructure and services our community needs.”

Ipswich City Council’s 2023-24 Federal Budget Submission can be viewed here.