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3000 bubs on the way in Ipswich

ONE-DAY WONDERS: New mums, Kim Folkes with her son Raiden, Laura Lyall with daughter Anika, and Sara McGrath with son Nate. All of the babies were just one day old when they were photographed at Ipswich Hospital yesterday.
ONE-DAY WONDERS: New mums, Kim Folkes with her son Raiden, Laura Lyall with daughter Anika, and Sara McGrath with son Nate. All of the babies were just one day old when they were photographed at Ipswich Hospital yesterday. Sarah Harvey

IPSWICH is in the midst of a baby boom, with the city recording birth rates not predicted to be reached until 2016.

Ipswich Hospital maternity ward delivered 2957 babies last year - an average of eight a day - indicating the region's population is growing at a rate faster than predicted.

The figure is up considerably from 2009, when the hospital welcomed 2591 newborns.

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service chief executive Lesley Dwyer said the hospital had not expected to reach 3000 for four years.

"Predictions were made in 2009 for the birth rate at Ipswich Hospital to reach 3000 in 2016/17. However, the 2012 birth rate reached this level," she said.

"The Ipswich Hospital expansion works will include an additional three birthing rooms and a new Special Care Nursery with three additional cots."

Ms Dwyer said the service was considering employing an additional obstetrician and extra midwives to keep up with demand.

The increasing number of births is expected to adjust the region's projected population figures and heighten calls for infrastructure spending.

Demographer Mark McCrindle said the lower end of government forecasts expected Ipswich population to grow at just over 5%, to 286,000 by 2021.

He said the birth rate figures indicated a growth of 6.33%, bringing Ipswich's population to 325,000 by 2021.

"When you look at the ABS population projections Ipswich and Queensland has been hitting all the requirements for the forecast.

"It's a couple of things. Looking at the data, the centre of the population is younger there, so the fertility rates are higher."

Mayor Paul Pisasale said the figures proved Ipswich deserved a greater focus from government on infrastructure spending.

"We are the fastest-growing city in Australia. We put our hand up as an area of growth and we have the figures to prove it," he said.

Mr McCrindle backed the mayor's claims.

"The point is, not only is it growing numerically, it's growing in size. Within the state population they would want their share of the state infrastructure to accommodate that growth."



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