Arts and culture get a boost in council budget
THE ARTS and culture scene in Ipswich is set to receive a significant boost, courtesy of the 2016/17 budget handed down by Mayor Paul Pisasale yesterday.
The Ipswich Performing Arts Centre (IPAC) has been put at the forefront of Cr Pisasale's agenda for at least four years and he said to make it a reality it would need state and federal government funding.
Blair MP Shayne Neumann has encouraged council to take the next step in making the IPAC a reality and Cr Pisasale said his budget delivered on that score.
"So this budget allocates $400,000 for a business case investigation for IPAC," Cr Pisasale said.
"Ipswich needs and deserves a new Ipswich Performing Arts Centre (or IPAC) to cater for our growing population.
"We have been talking about this need for some time and our resolve to make this vision a reality is stronger than ever."
One of Cr Pisasale's election promises was to make Ipswich an arts and culture hub.
"In this new budget $200,000 is allocated to assess the feasibility of a combined arts, community and market space within the old Woollen Mills in North Ipswich, which council took ownership of in June 2015," Cr Pisasale said
"This historic site of over 7,000 square metres on the state heritage register will not be lost owing to council's proactive stance in preserving such sites across the city.
"It will make a tremendous facility for the local arts community and will be a destination in its own right."
Council CEO Jim Lindsay said the hope was to redevelop that site "without too much ratepayer funding" in consultation with the commercial and arts sectors
"The opportunity is there to look at commercial investment in that facility in the longer term to make that work," he said.
The community has called for an increase in library services and Cr Pisasale said his budget delivered on the public's aspirations.
"Today is a great day for the future of Ipswich Libraries with $4 million allocated for the development of a new library in Springfield Central," he said.
"We are also seeking additional funding from other levels of government so we can create a multi-level, multi-purpose facility which is needed to serve the growing population of Ipswich's eastern suburbs.
"A new library for Rosewood is a step closer with $300,000 set aside for building design after council purchased a suitable block of land last year."
Public safety is also catered for in the budget with Cr Pisasale reaffirming his commitment to the Safe City network while also putting his money where his mouth is.
"Safe City is recognised as a leader in its field and council has committed $1.9 million for further improvements and replacement of aging analogue cameras with the latest digital technology," he said.
"During 2016/2017 expansion of the network into Queens Park, Redbank Plains and Brookwater will boost the number of cameras to more than 300."
Overall, CEO Lindsay said the budget delivered on Cr Pisasale's ethos of "getting things done".
"The key issue in this budget is the increase infrastructure spend of 25%, which is mostly targeted at roads funds and new community facilities like libraries. Infrastructure base is critical to a city's economic prosperity."