'It's critical': We have one chance to get projects right

IT IS all hands on deck as organisations prepare for their one shot to get right the planning of Ipswich before the population doubles.

From the halls of Ipswich City Council to the control room at Ipswich Police District HQ, plans are being put in place to ensure the region's two most essential services are equipped for change.

By 2030, the region's population is expected to grow from 343,000 to 553,000.

Almost 390,000 will call the Ipswich local government area home.

Katherine Innes started as superintendent of the police district in October last year.

She expected the growth of the region would also bring its challenges.

"It's going to be the attractiveness as a place for Ipswich to work and live," she said.

"That comes with issues.

"With that brings whatever social issues and support mechanisms are required."

Superintendent Innes said a challenge for police and government would be to guarantee people moving to Ipswich would have the appropriate access to referral and health services.

"People come with all types of different needs so it's about making sure we can cater to their needs," she said.

"The growth of industry means there will be more professional people moving into the area; putting more pressure on public transport and travelling on roads.

"Road trauma is a big thing for us."

The bricks and mortar police facilities will also be assessed.

Superintendent Katherine Innes outside Yamanto Police Station.
Superintendent Katherine Innes outside Yamanto Police Station. Rob Williams

Superintendent Innes is continuing discussions with developers at Ripley about opening a new district headquarters.

"We're currently looking at our footprint and where is the best bang for buck for us is," she said.

"Because of the population growth there will be a demand in those areas.

"We're doing a scan across the whole district to find out these growth patterns."

New Ipswich City Council chief executive officer David Farmer was asked about whether the region's infrastructure was enough for the expected population growth.

"Clearly it's not, but we've got some really outstanding bones of infrastructure," he told the QT.

Mr Farmer said the highway linkages and heavy rail lines to Springfield and Ipswich were a good start.

"The critical issue is keeping pace with the growth," he said.

"If we're going to put our best foot forward, we're going to have to make the case for our work and making it clear to the government what the implications of not keeping pace are."

Mr Farmer said the key was making a case not only in emotive terms but in a considered and technical way.

He said the most essential infrastructure project was the rail network.

"Construction of the Springfield to Ipswich rail line provides a really logical heavy rail link and will make train travel an option, a genuine realistic option to move within Ipswich," he said.

"On top of that is a clear integration of the bus network with the rail system.


Ipswich CEO David Farmer.
Ipswich chief executive David Farmer. Cordell Richardson

The chief executive officer threw support behind the government's plans for a National Faster Rail Agency, announced in Tuesday's Federal Budget.

"If Ipswich and Springfield are going to thrive as business centres people who are living to the east need to get in," he said.

Mr Farmer said the Norman St bridge was another essential project.

"They're the sort of critical pieces of transport infrastructure," he said.

Mr Farmer issued a fairly blunt warning about the need to get the plans correct.

"We've probably got about 20 years to get this right," he said.

"If we don't the city won't reach it's potential.

"It took us 100 years to get to 200,00 people but it will only take 10 years to get the next 100,000 people.

"As a whole of government we need to work together to deliver the right and services at the right time.

"We've got a great opportunity but we've only got one shot at it."

>>RELATED: How you can get involved in our Future Ipswich campaign

Improvements to cultural and community facilities like parks, playgrounds and community halls were also essential, he said.

It might take years to get things thing across the line or we might get lucky in the short term.

Mr Farmer has a track record of delivering large projects.

As CEO of the Wollongong City Council, Mr Farmer oversaw key projects including the Blue Mile, a city foreshore project similar to the Cairns Esplanade and Grand Pacific Walk.

He also drove Fowler's Rd Bridge, a $90-million project which started after 30 years of discussion.

Mr Farmer promised to push for similar levels of investment in Ipswich.

Superintendent Innes said officers needed to be equipped to deal with the "changing face of crime".

"It's a lot more focused on technologies," she said.

"What is the risk of using technologies and making sure people are aware of maintaining a safe profile online?"


The Superintendent said the region would eventually have a larger population than Logan and Moreton districts.

She said that meant more police resources would be required.

"We're competing across the southeast corner for resources," she said.

Superintendent Innes said police needed to work harder to prevent crime, rather than simply responding to it.

"We need to partner more closely with government and non-government organisations to make sure we're looking at things from more of a preventative situation than reactionary.

For the QT's Future Ipswich campaign leading demographer, Bernard Salt has already called on state and federal governments to provide the region vital infrastructure going forward.

"Minister, we need schools, we need aged care facilities, we need hospitals, we need university training facilities, we need assistance right across the board," he said.

"We are accommodating, minister, your policies of a big Australia, which is terrific.

"Everyone is in work, everyone is paying taxes, we want services back minister to cope with this.

"We need to get a fair return on our contribution with services."


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