Thousands of jobs are flowing in, but more must be done
AN ENTREPRENEURIAL can-do spirit is driving Ipswich's jobs boom, and Australia's leading demographer Bernard Salt believes things will only get better.
Ipswich has an aspirational spirit, a working class attitude forged on the railways and down the mines.
But the manual labour that served families in times gone by is quickly being replaced.
Technical and skilled jobs will transform almost every aspect of Ipswich in the next two decades.
The region's positive outlook has been built on a history of jobs growth.
Data analysed by demographer Bernard Salt exclusively for the QT has revealed the staggering recent success of the region's small business and sole traders.
In the past financial year, the region added 685 businesses, a growth rate of 4 per cent.
Ipswich is creating industries faster than the national average of 3 per cent.
"The Ipswich region is quite entrepreneurial," Mr Salt said.
"You are creating businesses at a faster rate than the Australian average, the figures prove it.
"I want strong levels of entrepreneurial growth that actually employ people."
In the 2017-2018 financial year, the number of sole traders in Ipswich grew by 5 per cent, compared to the national average of 4.8 per cent.
In Bellbird Park and Brookwater, the growth rate was 20 per cent while in Springfield Lakes the rate was 16 per cent.
Redbank Plains added 75 sole traders, a growth rate of 20 per cent.
"These are not public sector workers," Mr Salt said.
"These are self-employed, self-made individual tradie and shopkeeper-type people."
Small businesses, employing up to 19 people, are growing faster in Ipswich than the national average.
At Ipswich east, the rate of small business growth was 20 per cent compared to the Australian average of 1.5 per cent.
Brookwater's growth was 10 per cent while Redbank Plains and Raceview was 16 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.
Healthcare and social services recorded the largest jobs growth between 2008 and 2018.
It was followed by construction and education and training.
Wholesale trade and agriculture, forestry and fishing industries lost jobs in the decade to 2018.
About 5500 new jobs in professional, scientific and technical services were created.
"In an ideal world you'd see that expanding," Mr Salt.
"What you want is (RAAF Base) Amberley ratcheting up.
"Get all the jobs and spin-off benefit without the air traffic."
Mr Salt wanted the region's aspirational spirit to fight and steal some of the skilled workers from the state's capital.
"Ipswich central has 12,000 jobs and is adding 2000 every five years; 400 each year," he said.
"In an ideal world you'd have double that number so that people can live and work in Ipswich.
"In an ideal world you'd be self-contained and in a really ideal world you'd be pulling people from Brisbane to jobs in Ipswich."
Mr Salt said by 2030, Ipswich should aim to have 20,000 jobs in the CBD.
"Create a strong, vibrant regional centre that tugs at the talent of Brisbane and sucks it in our direction," he said.
"You've got the motorway in place but you're only using half its capacity in the morning because everyone is going in.
"Taking Ipswich CBD from 12,000 jobs to 20,000 jobs in a decade is good policy, good planning and more efficient and builds a sense of place."
Mr Salt said it was time for Brisbane to grow a third prong, which must be Ipswich.
"Jobs, population and infrastructure need to flow in this direction for a generation," he said.
WHERE ARE THE JOBS?
- Healthcare and social assistance
- Education and training
- Retail trade
- Transport, postal and warehousing
- Public administration and safety