Rail line vital to future of Ripley Valley housing projects
THE new Springfield train line must be extended to Ipswich for the Ripley Valley housing development to take off, according to an urban planning expert.
Springfield Central station is set to be opened before the end of the year, but University of Queensland planning associate professor John Minnery believes the new line doesn't go far enough.
Prof Minnery said Ripley needed access to rail to properly flourish.
The first housing estate in the Ripley Valley, Ecco Ripley, is set to welcome new residents next year and while the extension of the Springfield line to Ipswich via Ripley is in the Department of Transport's long-term plans, the State Government has no date finish the line.
According to State Government plans the Ripley Valley will see 50,000 homes and 120,000 people, a target Prof Minnery said could be achieved in the long term.
"A lot of the development depends on whether the rail line is extended to Ripley," Prof Minnery said.
"Ripley will not work unless there is good supporting infrastructure. People need to access jobs in Ipswich, Springfield or Brisbane. They aren't in Ripley."
Prof Minnery said the plan for 120,000 people to live in the area was "ambitious", but possible with the right infrastructure.
"It is ambitious, but it's achievable in the long term," he said.
An Economic Development Queensland spokesman said the bulk of the development was scheduled to finish within 20 years.
"The Ripley Valley Priority Development Area (PDA) which was declared in 2010 has been identified as a major long-term growth area for the Ipswich region," he said.
"While the progress of development is subject to market forces, it is expected that significant development of the 4680 hectare site will occur by 2031 with full development by 2057."
Ipswich Mayor Paul said he wanted to see the State and Federal Governments support Ripley Valley by investing in infrastructure. "I agree 100% that we need rail," he said. "Completing the loop from Springfield, through Ripley, to the aerospace precinct at Ipswich is important."
Cr Pisasale has been a prominent supporter.
"Investing in infrastructure is the best gift a government can give Australia," he said.
"We need to encourage more spending by Governments in growth areas rather than in marginal seats."
The QT was still awaiting a response from the office of Minister for Transport Scott Emerson's last night.