Member for Blair Shayne Neumann.
Member for Blair Shayne Neumann. Rob Williams

Surge in benefit payments to Ipswich: Report

A REPORT on the economic wellbeing of Australia's regions has shown a significant increase in benefits paid to Ipswich people.

In the Australian Local Government Association's State of the Regions Report, the West Moreton zone, which takes in

Ipswich, the Scenic Rim, Lockyer Valley and Somerset, had a 10.6% increase in benefits paid to residents between 2011 and 2013.

This compared to increases of 4.1% in Brisbane City, 4.2% on the Sunshine Coast and 8.6% in Logan-Redlands over the same period.

Member for Blair Shayne Neumann said he believed the increase could be due to the Federal Government's investments in benefits for people with a disability and their carers.

He said a high percentage of welfare had also gone to families via school children's bonuses. It wasn't the only figure that stood out for West Moreton, with wages and salaries also increasing by 4.5%, far exceeding the Sunshine Coast (0.1%), Logan-Redlands (1.4%), and Brisbane (2.7%).

Mr Neumann said the Ipswich Mwy upgrade was the biggest catalyst for growth.

"Manufacturing used to be the biggest basis for employment, and while there are 8500 people in manufacturing, it represents a smaller proportion of the workforce now. There are more high-tech jobs," he said.

Only last week, Bradken axed 30 jobs from its foundry operation.

However, Mr Neumann said there had been strong growth in wages and productivity.

The outlook wasn't as positive for the Salvation Army, which said job losses and costs of living pressures were leading to an increase in poverty.

In the four months from February to May this year, the charity observed a 20% increase in calls for assistance from Ipswich people compared to the same period last year.

The Ipswich branch has helped nearly 1500 individuals and families in the past year with food, accommodation, furniture, clothing and household bills.

About 55 Ipswich individuals and family units were homeless when they sought help from the local charity in the past 12 months.

West Moreton snapshot 2011-13

  • Wages/salaries: +4.5%
  • Taxes paid: +9.1%
  • Benefits: +10.6%
  • Disposable income: +5.6%
  • Population: +2.8%
  • Households: +2.3%
  • Workforce: +3%
  • Employment: +2.2%

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