Mark Brennan contemplates development in the Ripley Valley.
Mark Brennan contemplates development in the Ripley Valley. Claudia Baxter

New city on its way

IPSWICH City Council has welcomed a State Government move to fast-track 120,000 people into the Ripley Valley.

Premier Anna Bligh has announced Ripley Valley will be one of three new south-east Queensland communities master-planned by the Urban Land Development Authority.

MS Bligh said the Ripley Valley, between Ipswich and Springfield, and Greater Flagstone and Yarrabilba in Logan would be built into cities from scratch.

On Saturday, The QT reported State Government predictions of 500,000 people and a 224 per cent growth in households in Ipswich by 2031.

Yesterday’s decision means the growth is set to start right here, right now, with the Ripley Valley right on the Ipswich CBD’s doorstep.

Construction is expected to start within 18 months.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said the Premier’s announcement was “a great step forward for Ipswich”.

“This move gives the tick of approval to the master planning undertaken so far by Ipswich City Council,” Cr Pisasale said. “We have already secured a partnership agreement with a number of Ripley Valley landowners, including Sekisui House. As one of Japan’s biggest home builders, Sekisui House is also leading the world with carbon-neutral home design and construction.”

Council planning chairman Paul Tully met yesterday with Infrastructure Minister Sterling Hinchcliffe.

Cr Tully said Mr Hinchcliffe gave an assurance that the council’s development application powers would not change.

“Ipswich City Council will continue to play its traditional role of assessing development applications for the Ripley Valley as well as the rest of the city,” Cr Tully said.

“This model has worked well in the Springfield master-planned community for the past 15 years.”

He said the rapid devel- opment in south-east Queens- land required co-operative arrangements between all levels of government.

“The plan for the Ripley Valley is pretty well advanced. Most of the master planning has been completed and it’s good to have the government on board,” he said.

“The latest estimate is 120,000 people and 55,000 homes. That could be higher – but not much higher – but that’s over the next two decades.

“The issue that came up today is we don’t want a community where 90 per cent of people commute out of the area. We need to concentrate on increasing jobs. That’s why we’ve got industrial development in the Redbank Peninsula, Citiswich and Ebenezer.”

Mark Brennan, a former bull-rider, now a timber cutter, said his family had lived in Ripley for many years.

It’s 10 minutes drive from the heart of Ipswich but it looks like a country town. The land is fertile, with plenty of grass going into winter.

He and wife Sandra have been there for 16 years and have children Cody, 20, and Kirsty, 14, as well as dogs Mollie and Buster.

Across the road are cattle yards under a sprawling gum tree. Beyond, the land swells gently up a small hill. The nearest house is 500m away.

Mr Brennan says he is accepting about development around his home.

“You don’t get much choice. They’ve got to develop somewhere,” he said. “You’ve got to move with the times; it’s progress.

“I grew up in Redbank Plains and the street we lived on was just our family. Now it’s full of families. So I’ve been through this before. It just means I’ll just move further west. I’m a bit of a hermit; I don’t live around other people.

“If it does happen, we’ll do all right out of it. It’s a nice block and we’re sitting on three or four acres here.

“We used to have 120 acres across the road as well. Dad sold it and we lease it back to keep some cattle over there.”

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