Our destiny: How Ipswich is delivering the Australian dream
WITH affordable housing, access to opportunity and a renowned quality of life, Ipswich is delivering the Australian dream better than anywhere else.
That's the message from Australia's leading demographer Bernard Salt, who has provided the most comprehensive insight into the fabric of Ipswich ever conducted.
"I think it's a good story, a positive story," he said.
Ipswich is at the cutting edge of big Australia; a phrase coined by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2010.
He declared population growth was key to the nation's ongoing economic prosperity.
Almost 10 years after Mr Rudd announced that policy, Ipswich is delivering on it.
In the past 13 years, the population in the region has doubled to 343,000 people.
By 2030, the growth will be even more significant, with an extra 211,000 people taking the population to 554,000.
Ipswich is expected to grow 62 per cent in the next 13 years compared to the Australian rate of 22 per cent.
We are expected to be one of, if not the fastest growing regions in the country.
With that growth will come great challenges in almost every corner of the community; from employment to education, health and the environment.
Today The Queensland Times launches its landmark Future Ipswich campaign; likely to be the most in-depth study into the region's transformation undertaken.
Statistics provided by Mr Salt have painted the picture of present-day Ipswich and provided an insight into future Ipswich.
"The Ipswich region is growing a full percentage point faster than the Australian average," Mr Salt said.
"What we're dealing with in Ipswich and its region is one of the fastest growing places on the Australian continent.
"There's probably only four or five of these places around Australia."
Long-time residents will recall Ipswich's transformation from a bustling town to a thriving city.
Mr Salt said people haven't seen anything yet.
"Over the 13 years to 2017, the Ipswich region added 109,00 people but over the following 13 years to 2030, the Ipswich region will add 211,000 people," he said.
"The rate of growth that you've had in the past 10 years is going to be not quite doubled in the next 10 years.
"The sheer scale of growth is going to ratchet up."
From families to retirees, middle-aged people and infants, people are moving here at all stages of life.
"There's more Ipswichians in every age group," Mr Salt said.
"Ipswich is growing everywhere.
"This is not just young people, it's not just old people, it's right across the board."
As the population grows the government faces a challenge in keeping up with services, Mr Salt said.
"Minister, we need schools, we need aged care facilities, we need hospitals, we need university training facilities, we need assistance right across the board."
"We are accommodating, minister, your policies of a big Australia, which is terrific.
"Everyone is in work, everyone is paying taxes, we want services back to cope with this."
Ipswich's highest growth will come from the 35-39 age group, with almost 14,000 people expected.
Young parents Aaron and Francisca Nemani know the opportunities of a growing area will give nine-month-old son Zion a good start to life.
Mr Salt said the prosperity and growth envisaged for all of Australia was happening here in Ipswich.
"We're delivering on the ground and look at the quality we are delivering," he said.
"We're socially cohesive, good quality of life and relatively low levels of unemployment but we need to get a fair return on our contribution with services.
"We deliver house and land packages with a three in front of it and we deliver access to a capital city job market.
"We provide a quality of life we think is the best and that's why 211,000 people every decade want to live here."
Retiree Stephen Threlfall loves the clean and new feel of the Ripley Valley.
"It's got great exercise areas, close to shopping and of course the grandchildren," he said. "It's a 10 or 15-minute drive to most things in the area.
Going forward, Ipswich's youthful population will hold the region's active growth in good stead.
Today there are 56,547 people aged 0-10 years old.
By 2030 that number will skyrocket to 78,626.
Mr Salt said Ipswich's youthful base would support its future growth and be the cornerstone of service and job increases.
"Compared to the Australian average, you've got a lot of kids," he said.
"If you're an obstetrician based in Ipswich you should be making a motza.
"Infant welfare, child health facilities, hospitals and gynaecological services would do well out there."