Ripley Valley at standstill
TWO years after the State Government promised to fast track the Ripley Valley development, it remains stalled on the start line.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said it was high time to return planning powers to the council and get the Ripley Valley moving again.
He is confident Campbell Newman and his government will show more respect for local government than his predecessor.
"In March 2005 we formed the Ripley Valley Task Force. We did all the community consultation and everything else; it was all finalised and in 2010 we were ready to go," Cr Pisasale said.
"In May 2010, the State Government brought in changes for so-called quick approvals. But two years on the Ripley Valley is still where it was.
"That's the first thing I said to Campbell; that I want to get rid of all that rubbish. I think Campbell Newman understands what needs to be done."
In May 2010, Premier Anna Bligh announced the Ripley Valley would be one of three south-east Queensland communities master-planned by the Urban Land Development Authority (ULDA).
With construction expected to start within 18 months, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale described the Premier's announcement as "a great step forward for Ipswich".
It was estimated Ripley Valley's population would mushroom from 900 to 120,000 people and 55,000 homes over the next two decades.
But the first crack in the master-plan appeared the next day with Ipswich City Council accusing Infrastructure Minister Stirling Hinchliffe of a back-flip.
Council planning chairman Paul Tully and deputy mayor Victor Attwood said Mr Hinchliffe assured them the council's development application (DA) powers for the Ripley Valley would not change. But he wrote to The Queensland Times claiming that was not the case.
The councillors also said the government was grandstanding because the council had already done most of the planning.
Member for Lockyer Ian Rickuss, whose electorate includes the Ripley Valley, says the LNP will review planning processes.
"We'll also be reviewing the South-East Queensland Regional Plan and the way the ULDA is operating," Mr Lockyer said.
"I think a lot of the planning powers can go back to the councils to give them a bit more authority."
Cr Tully called on Premier Newman to scrap the ULDA and hand back its powers to councils.
"This experiment has been an unmitigated disaster and has cost Queensland taxpayers a king's ransom with nothing to show but failed promises and a stack of repetitive media announcements by ex-ministers," Cr Tully said.
"The ULDA is a top heavy, useless bureaucratic organisation whose entrepreneurial development skills rank somewhere between Buckley's and none. The ULDA has wasted two years in bringing the Ripley Valley to fruition."
He singled out former minister Hinchliffe for his most-stinging criticism.
"Stirling Hinchliffe's disgraceful display of obfuscation and befuddlement put him right in the Oscar winning category," he said.
"It was this sort of arrogance by all of Anna Bligh's ministers which saw the Labor Party booted out of office last month."