19 June 2023
Tuesday’s record-spending State Budget brought welcome announcements on schools and renewables for Ipswich but lacked major infrastructure commitments for Queensland’s fastest growing community, Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said today.
“The State Government announced a record spend across the board, and a $12 billion surplus – the largest ever by a state or territory government,” Mayor Harding said.
“Having reviewed the State Budget papers there are some positive news announcements for Ipswich.
“There was $26 million allocated for the expansion of sub-acute services at the Ripley Satellite Hospital, and new funding of $11 million for Ipswich State High School and $26.6 million for Spring Mountain State School.
“There was also the $41.5 million allocated for battery storage at Swanbank for building and installing a 250MW big battery in the power plant precinct.
“Those announcements were welcome, as was confirmation of the State’s $3.3 million SEQ City Deal commitment to the business case for the Ipswich to Springfield Central Public Transport Corridor business case.
“That funding was the final piece of the puzzle and followed funding commitments from Council and the Federal Government towards the business case.
“It means there will now be detailed investigations that will make this important project shovel-ready.”
Mayor Harding said while all funding was welcome, there was no significant transport infrastructure funding for a region being expected to shoulder the load of a booming population.
“There was no funding for our major highways for the Amberley Interchange on the Cunningham Highway, upgrade of the Mt Crosby Interchange on the Warrego Highway or the duplication of the Centenary Highway,” Mayor Harding said
“Investment in better bus services for improved accessibility, connectivity and efficiency is also a missed opportunity. Ipswich City Council has provided submissions to the Queensland Government for a $5 million annual commitment to fund two priority bus expansion projects, namely a trunk bus route between Ipswich central and Springfield Central via Redbank Plains and an expansion of bus services within Redbank Plains.
“Unfortunately, residents in Redbank Plains and our fast growing suburbs will miss out on a regular bus service.”
The absence of funding for the North Ipswich Reserve upgrade was also a missed opportunity.
“After a $20 million commitment from the Federal Government for the upgrade, and another $10 million put aside from Council, we had hoped the State would run with this project,” Mayor Harding said.
“Unfortunately, they’ve dropped the ball, with nothing for the upgrade in this Budget.
“Ipswich received $96 million in transport infrastructure funding in the Budget. In the context of a population expected to nearly double by 2041, it feels a little short.
“Ipswich was ranked ninth in terms of infrastructure funding it received in the Budget.
“Ahead of us were Gold Coast, Brisbane – both of whom received around $3 billion – Moreton Bay, Logan, Sunshine Coast, Scenic Rim, Toowoomba and Redlands.
“Funding is needed across the growth areas of the state. It’s not clear from the Budget that the spending has gone where the growth is strongest.
“We will welcome any funding, but we will continue to advocate for this region getting a fair share.”