Council boss focuses on stability, growing city's strengths
IPSWICH city went through significant change in 2018.
Interim Administrator Greg Chemello says the new year will be one of stability.
The business community and residents will undoubtedly welcome a less turbulent year.
Mr Chemello believes the city is in a good place.
"The city is significantly strong; we are one of Queensland largest growth spots and growing at 5 per cent. The population is growing also at 5 per cent," Mr Chemello said.
There is a range of diverse businesses leading success in the region such as agribusiness and defence, which shows significant growth and development.
"We have one in seven jobs that are in health. This is a big area for us going forward," Mr Chemello said.
"The central city has struggled with the massive capital works being carried out in the mall. We will see the one-way street and the public plaza all complete by the end of this year.
"The library will be very close to completion by that time. There will be a lot of work done and it will be visible by the year's end."
The administration building will be partially complete by the end of 2019 while the retail facade will be finished and tenants operating.
Mr Chemello said the business community had been supportive of the council under administration. The new administration headquarters will open by early 2021.
"The business sector, led by the Chamber of Commerce, is very supportive. It is willing to help. The message to the council is get on with business.
"The business community is responding to the structure and accountability that is in place. The roles are clear; the council is a partner," Mr Chemello said.
"We are getting positive comments. People are finding us professional and staff want to help and get things done. We have regained trust with business and our senior staff are taking a lead to be public-facing," he said.
The focus on health has brought several leasing inquiries.
"We will have a half a million people here in 30 years. We need to be able to provide health and other services to deal with this growth," he said.
"Ipswich could ill-afford losing the hospital to an outer location in 10 or 20 years' time because it was land-locked. We would lose a massive amount of workforce out of the CBD and we simply can't let that happen."
Mr Chemello said one of the positives of West Moreton Health expanding its footprint was hospital and allied health visitors would spend their money at cafes and shops in the redeveloped CBD area.
Greg Chemello says this year is about getting the "ducks lined up".
He said identifying priority projects was essential for the city.
"We have 18 transformational projects and now we must look at the top four or five and get this under way," he said.
The council this year will establish best practice models internally and set in place a blueprint for what Ipswich City looks like in terms of local government in the run-up to the 2020 election.
"Another year along and we will be able to clearly show how it works," he said.