A development application has been submitted to turn the old Ipswich Courthouse into a hotel.
A development application has been submitted to turn the old Ipswich Courthouse into a hotel.

New development, expansions could create 410 jobs

TWO manufacturing businesses looking to expand are eyeing off Ipswich and could bring with them a combined $12.2 million in investment and up to 285 new jobs to the city.

The proposed overhaul of the old Ipswich Courthouse on East St is estimated to be worth $13 million and create 125 jobs.

These potential developments are all form part of the council’s ‘investment pipeline’ which is valued at about $565 million.

Ipswich City Council’s Office of Economic Development has seven full-time staff working under its banner.
Ipswich City Council’s Office of Economic Development has seven full-time staff working under its banner.

That is according to Ipswich City Council’s economic and community development manager Cat Matson, who addressed this month’s Economic and Industry Development Committee.

The council’s Office of Economic Development undertakes four main functions including supporting local business, investment and growth, industry development, investment and project attraction and advocacy and major projects.

Seven full-time staff work under the OED banner.

A report to the council notes the office is currently “nurturing an investment pipeline” of about $565 million.

“These projects will create approximately 550 jobs, over and above the initial construction jobs,” the report notes.

“With the Nicholas Street Precinct nearing completion and the return of elected representatives, investor confidence is returning and the team are aggressively pursuing new opportunities to add to this pipeline.

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“It’s worth noting, this pipeline includes only those projects that OED staff are directly involved in, and excludes projects like West Moreton Health Precinct, Bundamba TAFE, Department of Defence and associated projects and the Mater Hospital.”

Ms Matson, who is now six months into her role, said the ‘investment pipeline’ figures related to projects her team were actively working on and “nurturing”.

“Not the projects that are going to come to the region anyway,” she said.

“Basically how we do that is by facilitating conversations and navigating the process with our clients.

“We have a food manufacturer currently looking for a site so they can expand. When that project is realised it will represent 165 jobs to the region and a $1.2 million investment.

“We’ve got another business in the manufacturing space who is also looking for another site for expansion which represents $11 million in capital investment and will realise 120 jobs to the region.”

The names of the businesses could not be revealed as the information was commercial in confidence

Plans to convert the former Ipswich Courthouse on East St into a hotel was highlighted as another significant project down the track.

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Ms Matson said the overhaul had an estimated worth of $13 million and it would create 125 jobs if it goes ahead.

A development application was only submitted to the council in December and a decision on its approval has yet to be made.

Trailer manufacturing company MaxiTRANS have now set up an expanded base in Carole Park, bringing with them 70 workers.

Another 70 jobs are expected to be created over the next five years.

“That conversation started for us well and truly 18 months ago, collaborating with the minister’s office and state government agencies to attract MaxiTRANS here rather than to other sites in other states,” Ms Matson said.

Since the start of June last year, more than $100,000 has been distributed to more than 100 local small businesses through the council’s Small Business Support Fund.

This fund was set up to support businesses which weren’t eligible for the State Government’s small business recovery fund due to being too small.

In October, Ipswich City Council became the first council in Queensland to sign up to the Small Business Friendly Charter in an effort to reduce red tape and make it easier for local operators to do business.

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.