Businesses to be lured west
BRISBANE businesses are being enticed to move to Ipswich and escape the urban sprawl and riverside development in the capital.
The trigger for the pro-active manoeuvre was the announcement a few weeks ago that the State Government plans to extend the Southbank riverside entertainment and recreation precinct to include parts of West End.
Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale said the council had received a lot of interest from 'large footprint' businesses in the area.
He said the main consideration for businesses thinking of heading west was affordability and availability of land in Ipswich.
The January 2011 flood has also prompted some businesses in flood-prone parts of Rocklea to look to Ipswich as an option to relocate.
"We've had our economic development people door-knocking 200 to 300 businesses in that West End, Southbank area that's going the be affected by the development there. We've had a very good response," Cr Pisasale said.
"It's just being a bit proactive. We've got all this industrial land in Ipswich and we can offer nice safe land to businesses that were hit by floods and also ones affected by urban encroachment."
He said it was too early to name business names but he didn't want the council to wait in case the businesses decided to move elsewhere.
"We've got to be on the front foot. A lot of cities sit back and wait for opportunity to come to them. We're out there drumming up interest in Ipswich," he said. "We're putting together information sessions and promoting what Ipswich has to offer."
The mayor said Ipswich had the room to expand with 14 business and industry parks at various stages of development.
"We have a diverse range of land to suit almost any type of business," he said.
"All of these sites are close to established and future master planned communities."
Ipswich was still growing at about 100 new residents every week, he said, and with that came the need to create jobs.
The 12 month average unemployment rate for Ipswich was 5.3 per cent, just under the Queensland rate of 5.5%.
Mayoral candidate Peter Luxton supported the principle of bringing businesses to Ipswich as long as ratepayers didn't lose out.
"I'd like to know how much it's going to cost ratepayers if at all," Mr Luxton said.
"In terms of the flooding, it's probably a good thing because we've got a lot of flood-proof vacant land around."