Business leaders tip city to boom
IPSWICH’S business community can look forward to a bright 2011, according to commerce leaders, with some key factors giving the city cause for optimism.
Ipswich Chamber of Commerce president Michael Munt said the region's growing population, abundance of industrial land and the number of businesses moving here were just some of the positives fuelling business growth.
Key retailers have also put their faith in the city, with big names like Harvey Norman and RM Williams moving into the Ipswich Mall ahead of its upcoming redevelopment.
The $1 billion redevelopment is due to start construction later this year, with a commercial tower for office space one of the first projects to be built.
Mr Munt said the growing business community and the proactive Ipswich City Council will combine well for a strong 2011.
“I'm excited about next year, but I'm just as excited for the next five to 10 years, because we'll continue to go from strength to strength,” Mr Munt said.
“We have a positive business community. In the last five or so years we've put ourselves back in the picture, and we're starting to see a lot more interest in the city, not just from interstate but overseas as well.
“There's always going to be external factors making an impact, and businesses have to deal with them as they come up.”
According to the Ipswich City Council's Economic Update newsletters, more than 40 new businesses opened in the city in 2010.
Aside from the big names like Harvey Norman, plenty of small family-run businesses opened, as well as more industrial businesses in areas like the Citiswich Business Park.
One industrial business to make the switch from Brisbane to Ipswich was road construction, maintenance and asphalt company RPQ, which recently opened a plant at Swanbank.
Sharing a site with the Box Flat Memorial, the RPQ Ipswich Asphalt Plant employs more than 75 staff and is also home to the company's head office and laboratory.
RPQ owner Tony Wehl said moving to Ipswich was an “easy decision to make” and catered to the significant growth the company had experienced.
As for the year ahead for the Chamber of Commerce, Mr Munt said signs were positive, with more than 300 members signed up and a newly-elected board.
“We have a great board with a 50/50 split of men and women, and there's regular board turnover which means we have lots of new ideas coming through,” he said.
“Inquiries are strong and we're hoping that will continue into the new year.”
Ipswich MP and Transport Minister Rachel Nolan said the State Government was negotiating to have 1200 public service jobs moved into commercial buildings in the redeveloped mall.