Pisasale makes bold pitch for $10 million CBD funding
A COMMITMENT to champion some of the projects Ipswich has put on the Queensland Government's funding agenda ahead of the next state budget was made by Deputy Premier Jackie Trad after a visit to Ipswich yesterday.
The Local Government and Infrastructure Minister toured the CBD and held talks with Mayor Paul Pisasale about council's $10 million request for funding from the State for the $150 million CBD redevelopment.
The other area of funding need in the Ipswich CBD highlighted by Cr Pisasale was the desire to create a transport hub to replace the old transit centre, which is owned by the State and has been idle since being flooded in 2011.
There are historical, and here and now, reasons why it makes sense for the Queensland Government to assist in CBD funding.
Mimo Corporation was the former owner of Ipswich City Square and would not develop the square, leading to its decline.
At the time the State was considering calling in the property and investing its own funds to redevelop the site.
That conversation was being had around 2009 but then the council, with state government approvals, set up Ipswich City Properties and bought Ipswich City Square for $45 million.
Cr Pisasale said the CBD redevelopment was all about creating regional jobs, creating investment, developing a city and taking the pressure off Brisbane.
He said it was "fundamental" that the State should be investing some funds in the CBD as it was a civic and entertainment space, with much of it public space for the people of Ipswich and those who visit to enjoy.
"We are asking for $10 million to assist with that redevelopment because council will be picking up that cost," he said.
The QT asked Ms Trad about funding after she heard Cr Pisasale's pitch.
"What is clear about Ipswich is that council has done some really deep and broad thinking about how a city beautification and rejuvenation project would really not only enliven the city, but also create business opportunities and create opportunities for families and visitors," she said.
"We always start from the proposition that where there are good ideas and vision, we can partner with local councils.
"That is clearly the case in Ipswich. Ipswich has done its homework and done its consultation and knows where it wants to go.
"In the Palaszczuk Government we are very keen to work with Ipswich.
"We are about to kick off our budget process for 2017/18 and I will be very pleased as Local Government Minister and Planning Minister to champion some of the projects Ipswich is clearly putting on the agenda for their future."
Cr Pisasale said he wanted the Deputy Premier to see for herself the condition of the old transit centre.
"It was damaged in 2011 and it really is an eyesore to our city, so we need to look at what we are going to do with the transit centre," he said.
Ipswich CEO Jim Lindsay explained that the council "currently use Bell St as a temporary transport solution but we think there is the need for the state to invest in a planning study in respect to developing a transit centre solution in the CBD".
"I think that study would cost around $500,000 so we'll need to have some discussions around that."
With regard to the transit centre solution, Ms Trad was emphatic.
"One of the things I will do when I go back is talk to the Transport Minister because this is clearly a piece of infrastructure that is not being used," she said.
"I will go back and talk to the Minister and see if we can do something about a planning or feasibility study around the transit centre."
Cr Pisasale took Ms Trad to see the Safe City camera hub and went on a trip up the mall to visit retailers.
In a typical Pisasaleism, that included a pop in to a Chinese Massage business.
Before having lunch Cr Pisasale took Ms Trad to the Ipswich Art Gallery and visited some children in the 'construction site' area of the gallery - appropriate for an infrastructure minister.
He then asked the kids to say "show us the money" to the Deputy Premier.
She joked that while she could say 'no' to the mayor she couldn't say no to them.
At lunch Cr Pisasale said "she came, she saw, she funded".
Not quite the latter, but Cr Pisasale was optimistic.
"It is great to have the Deputy Premier here," he said.
"Having her ear, it doesn't get any better than that.
"Her visit means she now knows the funding needs of the city. She cares.
"Ipswich is an important regional centre that is contributing to growth, and we want to be treated like it."