HUNDREDS of jobs will be created when Ipswich gets the performing arts centre it deserves.
That is the word from Blair MP Shayne Neumann, who secured $500,000 in funding from the former Federal Labor Government towards the development and design of a business case for the planned Ipswich Performing Arts Centre (IPAC).
As reported yesterday in the QT, significant government funding is still needed to get the project up.
But Mr Neumann said the rewards of having an IPAC would be immense. He said it would be a "driver of employment".
"It will bring thousands of people into the CBD and hundreds of jobs will be created, directly and indirectly," Mr Neumann said.
"There are more people that go to visit live music and arts galleries in Melbourne on Saturday than go the AFL.
"I am not downgrading sports. Ipswich is a very strong sports town, but we have a thriving arts community…whether it be in the performing arts, visual arts, painting or sculpture."
Mr Neumann said the flourishing arts hub in the Somerset region was an example of what could occur when a new arts centre was constructed.
Mr Neumann secured $2 million in funding to help build the Somerset Civic Centre in Esk.
"It has created jobs, economic development and has been the catalyst for a thriving arts community in the middle and upper Somerset," Mr Neumann said.
"On top of that they are getting an arts precinct in the old condensory building in Toogoolawah. What is happening in the Somerset region is revolutionary in a country town, but Ipswich hasn't got that.
"We have a fantastic arts community in Ipswich but it hasn't had the focus and government attention it needs.
"With the support of the Ipswich council we saw Studio 188 created and the upgrade of the civic centre where nothing had been done until the former Federal Labor Government put millions of dollars into upgrading it.
"Only 200 can be seated there so we need an IPAC so we can get the relocation of arts communities and programs to Ipswich.
"It will bring people to the CBD who will spend money and that will be good for small business."
Ipswich City Council has committed $10 million towards the project and a grant of up to $10 million may be available from the Federal Government's new $1 billion National Stronger Regions Fund from 2015-16.
Mr Neumann said there was "a role for every level of government because it is such a large amount of money".
"It has to be a genuine partnership between every level of government," Mr Neumann said.
"This has to be joint project along the lines of stage one of Robelle Domain Parklands. No matter which government is in power at a federal level I could not see $100 million coming from the Federal Government."
The project is being driven by Cr Charlie Pisasale, who is in charge of the cultural portfolio for council.
His brother, Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale, said "the Feds have got to come to the party".
"They have got the majority of the money," he said
"The city is growing and growing and hasn't had significant infrastructure money spent on it in a long time.
"Our formals are going to Brisbane because we don't have the infrastructure to deal with the growth.
"Our civic centre is going well but can't handle the growth.
"I see these kinds of projects built all over Australia, so it is time Ipswich was given a fair go.
"I am not going to be shutting up until we get one."