Ipswich mayor Teresa Harding.
Ipswich mayor Teresa Harding.

Political candidates will be ‘graded’ on election promises

AN Ipswich advocacy group pushing for the city’s ‘fair share’ of government funding will soon release a “scorecard” on local political candidates ahead of election day on October 31.

The Ipswich Leaders Alliance was launched in August, with the group forming to advocate for infrastructure and policy reforms it feels is crucial for the future of the fastest growing region in Queensland in the lead up to the election.

The election campaign is in full swing and the alliance will publish a series of scorecards with a summary of commitments made by each party as they relate to a list of identified priorities.

Ipswich West MP Jim Madden, Deputy Premier Steven Miles, Bundamba MP Lance McCallum, Jordan MP Charis Mullen and Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard. Mr Miles was in Ipswich on Friday to make an announcement on health spending.
Ipswich West MP Jim Madden, Deputy Premier Steven Miles, Bundamba MP Lance McCallum, Jordan MP Charis Mullen and Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard. Mr Miles was in Ipswich on Friday to make an announcement on health spending.

The alliance says it will release these to coincide with pre-polling, with early voting starting on October 19.

In an open letter to candidates, Ipswich mayor Teresa Harding said COVID-19 had “further highlighted” the need for effective planning and investment with the city’s population set to jump from 222,000 to 558,000 by 2014.

“The Ipswich Leaders Alliance recognises the significant crossroads currently faced by our region,” she wrote.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our local economy, bringing unemployment in Ipswich to 8.4 per cent in May 2020, the third highest of 19 other Queensland SA4 regions.

“This however has not changed the competitive advantages that attract businesses, investors and new residents to our wonderful city.

LOCAL NEWS: ‘New approach’: Joint taskforce formed to tackle waste

“In 2018/19 our total exports were $4.94 billion.”

The alliance wants funding commitments for infrastructure projects including $2.5 million to progress the options analysis for the Ipswich to Springfield public transport corridor, which the LNP has already promised to do if elected.

The group also wants the detailed business case for Cunningham Highway upgrades from Yamanto to Ebenezer Creek to be published and a recommitment of $42.5 million in state funding to deliver the project, $2.5 million to deliver the final stage of the detailed business case for the Ipswich second river crossing and $2.5 million to complete the detailed business case for the North Ipswich Sport and Entertainment Precinct.

It is also advocating for funding for shovel-ready projects, including the $20 million Redbank Peninsula Bridge, ranging from $1.5 million to $122 million.

In terms of policy reform, the alliance wants a comprehensive plan for the future delivery of social services and infrastructure developed.

This includes the construction of 51 new public schools by 2041, a funding commitment to advance the upgrade of the Ipswich Hospital and a new public hospital in Springfield.

On Friday, Labor announced it would invest a further $22 million into the current $146 million redevelopment of the Ipswich Hospital.

READ MORE: Labor plans to set up $24.5m drug, alcohol rehab service

The alliance also wants investment towards a feasibility study for a ‘circular economy centre of excellence’ in Ipswich to minimise landfill and provide job opportunities in emerging STEM industries and advanced manufacturing.

Another priority for the group is an economic stimulus program for targeted industry growth, including a range of incentives and investment in future skills development program for Ipswich’s high growth industries of defence, health, advanced manufacturing and education.

The establishment of a joint waste management taskforce between Ipswich City Council and the State Government was another item on the list but an invitation to set one up has been accepted by the state.

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.



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