Interim Administrator of Ipswich City Council, Greg Chemello speaks to the community at Booval. Photo: Cordell Richardson
Interim Administrator of Ipswich City Council, Greg Chemello speaks to the community at Booval. Photo: Cordell Richardson

How council changes will impact Ipswich community groups

FUNDING, printing and meeting places were at the top of the list of talking points for more than 70 community organisations at a forum seeking answers from council Administrator Greg Chemello.

Mr Chemello said the current budget for community grants for this financial year was $400,000 and it would be up to the new council to set the budget for the next financial year.

Many expressed concerns over a decrease in the number of meeting rooms and after-hours access, as council prepares to sell the Hayden Centre and the city block to Queensland Health.

The Hayden Centre will be available until mid 2021, while the new library in the CBD opens mid 2020, which will ensure there will always be CBD meeting rooms available.

Mr Chemello also broke the news the council would no longer provide free printing services as of next year. More than $54,000 was spent on printing each year under the previous council and more than one million pages were printed, but the service was not available to all community groups.

Some organisations also wanted answers on how they can secure more permanent premises for their organisations.

Paulette Montaigne from University of the Third Age worked to establish the newly formed Network of Ipswich Community Organisation, which organised this week's forum.

"It's been our number one issue and then we thought some organisations must be having similar issues, so instead of each one of us knocking at the door of Mr Chemello we thought why not get together," she said.

"I'm satisfied that we actually got not only answers, but a clear time frame. What was happening in the past 18 months, is we were getting information from all kinds of sources and we really needed clarity. Mr Chemello achieved that today.

"We're not going to be able to satisfy everybody. But I really did like the idea of equity. It is clear in the five years I've been here that some community groups had special relationships with not only councillors, but also with staff members and it was not equitable at all."