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Ipswich ditches coalmines to become tech hub

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It was once known as the coalmining cradle of Queensland, but ­Ipswich is on the path to reinvention as the town looks to superfast broadband services like the NBN to turn it into Australia’s very own Silicon Valley.

The town has been heading down the digital innovation path since the early 90s when the city’s leaders, faced with the decline of its once dominant coal and mining industries, decided an economy steeped in technology and the internet was the only way forward.ipswich investor

“Before we went down this path, the city was a laughing stock. Our kids were leaving and unemployment was high but that is all changing now,” said Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale.

Mr Pisasale said the city’s fate turned in the mid-1990s when Ipswich council took the decision to create Australia’s first local government-owned internet service provider in Global Info Links.

As the sole provider of internet services to the city it was used to network all houses, businesses, community organisations and government departments with the internet. Senior citizens and technological illiterates were also encouraged to learn about the new world of the internet with specially run classes that were hosted in the city’s libraries.

“The most important thing is to give your community the tools to be competitive. That’s what we’re doing, that’s why we are encouraging our community to connect to the NBN and to learn about how digital tools can help and change their lives.,” Mr Pisasale said.

Ipswich’s commitment to creating a digitally literate community was recognised last week when it was named as one of the world’s Top 7 most Intelligent Communities of 2015 by the New York-based Intelligent Community Forum.

The ICF judges recognised Ipswich for its Digital Hub project and Digital Enterprise program which teach residents and businesses digital skills. Next week will see the next iteration of Ipswich’s digital transformation as the council releases its budget, which will contain plans for a major redevelopment of the city centre to attract young technology entrepreneurs.

“We plan on launching a start-up incubation centre so we can position Ipswich as a technology- friendly centre for businesses of all sizes,” Mr Pisasale said.

The NBN is playing an important role in Ipswich’s next step towards becoming a technology hub.

There are some 24,000 homes and businesses under construction or able to connect to the NBN’s fibre-to-the-premise network in Ipswich. And 50 per cent of the city’s inhabitants are expected to be able to connect to the network by the end of next year.

But other cities around the nation won’t be as lucky when it comes to the NBN. Construction in the Queensland town begun in 2012 when the rollout was based on the FTTP model favoured by Labor. The Coalition wants to cut the cost to deliver the build by rolling out fibre to nodes that will connect to Telstra’s copper network for the last few hundred metres. While this be cheaper, it means internet users will have slower speeds than promised by Labor.

“The NBN is great and it’s saving us millions and millions of dollars by allowing us to be more efficient. But there is a concern with the change in rollout because we don’t want to create the haves and have nots,” Mr Pisasale said.

“The government should have been talking about what this can do for communities, not that the technology is this fast or that fast. The average punter doesn’t know what the benefit of the NBN is for them but what it does is it enriches communities and creates jobs because it breaks down barriers.”

Originally published on The Australian

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Rail line grows three times faster than state average

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THE number of passengers travelling on Springfield’s rail line has grown almost three times faster than the state network average.

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In a glimmer of good news for Ipswich’s public transport situation, new data shows 1.09 million passengers travelled on the Richlands Springfield Central line in the 2017-18 financial year.

Springfield Central was the most popular station, with 482,913 passengers.

Rail Back on Track spokesman Robert Dow said the figures were good news for Ipswich’s busy eastern corridor.

“It’s good people are using the system and it adds momentum for improvements to the bus network to get people to and from the station,” he said.

Since the 2016-17 financial year, patronage across the state’s rail network has grown 3.36 per cent.

Growth at Springfield Central has outstripped the average by recording an 8.13 per cent increase.

“Springfield looks good,” Mr Dow said.

While passenger numbers are positive at Springfield, other rail lines remain underutilised, Mr Dow said.

“It’s been pretty bad on the Ipswich-Rosewood line,” he said.

In the previous financial year, 1.77 million passengers used the line.

It was the first time in five years the network has recorded an increase in growth after a steady decline in numbers from a height of 2.1 million in 2012-13.

Mr Dow puts the most recent increase partly down to a new fare structure and regional growth.

“The population is increasing generally and people at Redbank Plains and places like that are driving to the Ipswich rail line,” he said.

Mr Dow said improvements still needed to be made on the region’s bus network.

He said park ‘n’ ride facilities at stops along the network were at capacity. Ipswich Station had the highest passenger fall, with 23,389 people deserting the track.

Redbank was the most improved station, with passenger numbers growing about 19,000 on the previous year, to 229,145.

“It’s good to see Rosewood has got growth – people are starting to use the Ipswich to Rosewood line,” Mr Dow said.

He said the passenger number information should be made free on the Translink website.

“TMR should make this sort of data available,” he said. “Having to pay $48 for this is fairly outrageous.”

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Queensland’s $46 Billion Infrastructure Boom

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Queensland’s $46 Billion Infrastructure Boom

The Palaszczuk Government has released an update to its 2018 State Infrastructure Plan as it aims to roll-out a total of $45.8 billion worth of infrastructure over the next four years.

The second part of its State Infrastructure Plan (SIP) focuses on a range of infrastructure spending with its updated release, outlining the $11.6 billion of infrastructure investment to be rolled out in 2018-19, which aims to support up to 38,000 jobs.

Economic forecaster Deloitte Access Economics said that the outlook for engineering construction in Queensland is better than it has been for some time.

“Rather than wallowing in cash from a strong property market and asset privatisations as NSW and Victoria are, the Government is relying more heavily on raising new tax revenue and increasing debt to fund this infrastructure,” Deloitte’s quarterly Business Outlook report said.

Up to 65 per cent of the Queensland’s infrastructure budget is allocated outside of the greater Brisbane area, explained Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick.

“Programs like the Queensland Transport Roads and Investment Program 2018-19 to 2021-22 outlines $21.7 billion in transport and road infrastructure over the next four years, estimated to support an average of 19,200 direct jobs over the life of the program.

Queensland’s $46 Billion Infrastructure Boom

The $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project, the biggest state funded infrastructure commitment in more than a decade, will be delivered in partnership with the private sector, explains Dick.

Infrastructure Association of Queensland chief executive Steve Abson said the infrastructure investment strategies update provides the private sector with confidence to invest in their Queensland operations.

With it now required to be “actioned collaboratively by all levels of government and the private sector”.

Seven new projects have been added to the Building Queensland (BQ) infrastructure pipeline, including upgrades to the centenary motorway and Sunshine Motorway, and a third track to be added to the Gold Coast rail line between Kuraby and Beenleigh.

Queensland’s $46 Billion Infrastructure Boom
Seven new projects have been added to the Building Queensland infrastructure pipeline, including a third track on the Gold Coast railway line to be further investigated

BQ Infrastructure Pipeline Report which presents priority infrastructure proposals under development by the Queensland government, shows 18 proposals from the pipeline has received funding commitments from state government since June 2016.

These include upgrades to the M1 from Eight Mile Plains to Daisy Hill, and Varsity Lakes to Tugan, the Beerburrum to Nambour Rail Upgrade, the Lower Fitzroy River Infrastructure Project and the New Performing Arts Venue.

A rise in interstate migration is seeing more people moving to Queensland, according to the Deloitte’s Business Outlook report, which says the sunshine state now has the third-fastest rate of population growth behind Victoria and the ACT.

The report said that Queensland is “well and truly” through the worst of its mining construction downturn as eye-watering house prices south of the border are sending more “economic refugees north to Queensland”.

Source: brisbaneinvestor.com.au

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Five Ipswich public high schools to get new classrooms

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Five Ipswich public high schools to get new classrooms

The State Government will commit $250 million over two years in the State Budget to build additional classrooms at more than 60 schools including Bremer, Ipswich State High School, Laidley State High School, Lowood State High School and Springfield.

Deputy Premier and Treasurer, Jackie Trad, said the ‘2020 Ready’ funding boost would support students in more than 60 Queensland high schools across the State.

“Our kids are our future and, as a government, one of the most important things we can do is give Queensland students a world-class education,” Ms Trad said.

“This investment will deliver more classrooms and learning centres to provide the best possible environment for learning.

“Queensland is a fast-growing State and this investment is about planning for the future.”

Education Minister Grace Grace said in 2020, for the very first time in Queensland’s history, high schools would have a full complement of students across Years 7 to 12.

“This infrastructure program is about making sure we are ‘2020 Ready’,” Ms Grace said.

“This $250 million investment will ensure our schools can accommodate the additional 17,000 students expected in our high schools from 2020 and into the future.

“It brings the total funding commitment towards increasing the capacity of state secondary schools to more than $470 million between 2017-18 and 2019-20.”

Ms Grace said the ‘2020 Ready’ program signals the next phase of Queensland’s major education reforms, which started more than a decade ago.

“Queensland’s first intake of Preppies were those whose birthdays were in the first half of the calendar year – so theirs has always been a much smaller cohort of students, known as the ‘half cohort’,” she said.

“Our next educational reform came in 2015, when we moved Year 7 into high school and established six years of secondary education, which was also supported with significant infrastructure investment.

“However, our smaller ‘half cohort’ has been in high school since 2015 too – meaning we have never had the full complement of students across all six year levels in our secondary schools.

“With the original Prep students set to graduate from high school at the end of 2019, we will have – for the very first time – six full year levels of students in Queensland secondary schools from 2020.

“This new $250 million investment for additional classrooms will prepare those schools identified as requiring additional capacity for the additional students expected in 2020.”

Source: www.qt.com.au

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