GOING GANGBUSTERS: Commentator and social trends expert Bernard Salt says Ipswich is set to boom.
GOING GANGBUSTERS: Commentator and social trends expert Bernard Salt says Ipswich is set to boom. Rob Williams

Our city poised to be the new Parramatta

IPSWICH will become the focus of population and jobs growth in south-east Queensland over the next few decades - according to Australia's most renowned demographer, Bernard Salt.

Likening Ipswich to Sydney's Parramatta, Mr Salt said Ipswich would become a strong regional centre in the next 30 years.

And he predicted that the Brisbane metropolitan area would double in size to 3 million or 4 million - with most of the growth taking place in the south-western corridor of Springfield, the Ripley Valley and Ipswich.

Parramatta, west of Sydney, has undergone a growth surge in recent years and now boast the sixth-largest CBD in Australia. Mr Salt said Ipswich, to the west of Brisbane, is set to become its Queensland equivalent. 

His forecast was made yesterday at a Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce breakfast function held at Drift Brookwater, where Mr Salt was the guest speaker.

He said the growth would provide Ipswich with great benefits.

"Where jobs decentralise to this area, you don't just want jobs - you want hospitals, universities, social institutions, entertainment centres," he said.

"What you want is the people of Ipswich municipality having at their disposal everything they need within the local area."

"For the past 100 years, Brisbane - whose population is now 2.2 million - has been a north-south city which has made it a very elongated urban form," he said.

"But what has happened during the past three to four decades is that there has been a push into the south-west towards Ipswich."

Mr Salt said his argument to the State Government 12 years ago was that when Brisbane's population reached 3-4 million, it would have to expand to the east and west.

"For that reason, the focus of growth in Brisbane in the 2010s and 2020s must be into the south-west corridor towards Ipswich."

ABS figures show between 2000 and 2011 Ipswich grew 37.2%, making it the fastest growing major centre in the state. By 2031, its current population is expected to double to about 360,000.

Mr Salt said he anticipated jobs would decentralise out of the Brisbane CBD and into Ipswich during the next decade.

"That to me will truly transition Brisbane from a north-south linear city of 2 million to a metropolitan area of 3 to 4 million," he said.

"It makes for a compelling argument as to why state and local governments and businesses should be investing in this western corridor across the next decade.

"We want Brisbane CBD jobs to come out to Ipswich, we don't want people on the railway line or commuting on the freeway," he said. "We want as many people as possible living, working, going to university, recreating and going to hospital - all within the local area.

"To me, that would be a strategic aspiration for Ipswich by 2030. You can certainly see it building but it's a little bit like kindling at the moment, I want to see a bonfire.

"I want to see a collection of international and national businesses headquartered here, where the CEO has the swankiest residence overlooking the Brookwater golf course and all their workers live in the area."

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale endorsed Mr Salt's comments, declaring that Brisbane needed Ipswich more than Ipswich needed Brisbane.

"We hold the answer to their growth," Mr Pisasale said.



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