Work outside the site of the Commonwealth Hotel in Union Place in the Ipswich CBD.
Work outside the site of the Commonwealth Hotel in Union Place in the Ipswich CBD. Rob Williams

State Govt to blame for $50m soulless, outlandish CBD plan

A "SOULLESS" central business district in Ipswich is partly the fault of the State Government, which loaned cash for Ipswich City Council's "outlandish" plan, Jo-Ann Miller believes.

Ms Miller attacked the directors of Ipswich City Properties, former councillors and council staff, for the failed CBD redevelopment.

"This is a lesson in how not to plan and undertake economic development in any city because Ipswich City Properties was an economic disaster for the people of Ipswich," she told parliament.

Ms Miller acknowledged the State Government's $50 million loan to the council for the CBD development meant it "also was part of the mess".

She recalled a briefing from the Premier's department on the state's plans to get involved with the redevelopment of the Ipswich CBD through a cash loan.

"It is like one of those snapshots that you keep in your head because it was so outlandish at the time," she said.

"We were told that the council was going to be allowed to buy the Ipswich CBD and it was going to be allowed to borrow, I think it was, $50 million through the Queensland Treasury Corporation.

"We were told that it was all going to be redeveloped, that everything was going to be wonderful and that the Ipswich CBD would come back to its glory."

Ms Miller slammed ICP's $78 million loss, revealed in a McGrath Nicol report.

"All of the directors are going to get away with it scot-free," she said in Parliament.

"How disgraceful is that?"

"They used and abused the money that was linked to them, quite genuinely. They spun around the world in private jets only to leave our city with a $78 million loss. The idea that local governments should go into the private sector and buy up shopping centres is wrong.

"It was a big mistake."