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.
“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
Development Update: $67m Springfield Central Sports Complex
A $67 million sporting development in Greater Springfield, an urban growth corridor located south west of Brisbane’s metropolitan area, is on track to open this year.
The developer of Greater Springfield says it is “cementing itself as one of Australia’s super sporting meccas” with its new Springfield Central Sports Complex slated to open to the public mid-year.
The new sporting facility, which neighbours Springfield Central State High School and St Peter’s Lutheran College, also joins the recent announcement of the $70 million Brisbane Lions AFLW stadium announced in January.
Springfield’s current population sits around 41,000 with this figure predicted to triple in size by 2030.
Rewind to 1992, when Greater Springfield founder Maha Sinnathamby purchased the 7000-acre parcel of land — today’s Springfield — which no developer wanted to touch.
Sinnanthamby says the region has a growing student population.
“There are currently 11,000 students in Greater Springfield, with that number expected to grow by 1200 each year moving forward,” the Springfield Land Corporation chairman said.
The developer says Greater Springfield is Australia’s first masterplanned greenfield city since Canberra, and to date it has seen $15 billion worth of infrastructure invested.
“We have a supersized CBD and an employment target of one job for every three residents,” Sinnathamby said.
The new sporting development will feature four ovals, 16 netball courts, eight fields, eight tennis courts, an athletics track as well as clubhouses and playgrounds.
City Deal a $58bn ‘Game Changer’ for Southeast Queensland
South-east Queensland could be green-lit for the biggest “city deal” in Australia, with a $58 billion proposal to guide its growth, and the prime minister announcing his support for the major plan.
With a focus on supporting diverse sectors within the region including housing and planning, tourism, manufacturing and education, the SEQ City Deal could also pave the way for government-owned land to be opened for development.
Queensland deputy premier Jackie Trad this week released Transforming SEQ, which highlights 35 “opportunities” that could be considered as part of the future City Deal, including six “game changers” for the region.
“Modelling by KPMG has shown a SEQ City Deal could stimulate an increase of up to $58 billion in our economy by improving the productivity and competitiveness of the region,” Trad said.
Prime minister Scott Morrison will be meeting with the SEQ Mayors and Queensland government to discuss the proposal this week.
The City Deal, which involves all three levels of government — council, state and federal — would see government working on priorities to drive the SEQ economy.
Under a City Deal plan, all three levels of government sign an agreement to set the priority infrastructure projects and initiatives.
Integrated land-use planning approach?
Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison described the announcement as “a game-changer for the region.
“Our growing cities and urban regions are the engine rooms of the Australian economy,” Morrison said.
“The city deal model brings together all levels of government around the same plan to boost productivity and jobs through targeted investment in city-shaping projects and infrastructure.”
Property Council Queensland director Chris Mountford said the council has been collaborating with state government and SEQ councils for nearly six years on the potential for a city deal.
“The State and local governments have also agreed in principle to a more coordinated integrated land-use planning approach,”
“Opening up under-utilised government-owned land for development has also been agreed as a clear opportunity to unlock economic activity, create jobs and build business confidence.”
The region’s current 3.5 million population is forecast to increase to 5.3 million within the next 25 years, ultimately requiring an extra 800,000 homes and additional one million jobs.
Focus has been placed on the recently released people mass movement study which identifies the impact of the expected population growth on the region’s ability to cope with future transport demand.
Minister for Cities Alan Tudge said he, along with the prime minister, will be meeting with the SEQ Mayors to discuss the Deal.
“We need to cater for this rising population and the SEQ City Deal will be a huge step forward,” Tudge said.
South-east Queensland is already home to over two-thirds of the state’s population.
The region is home to nearly one in every seven Australians.
The agreement marks the second city deal for Queensland following the policy being first established in Townsville.
So far, city deals have been developed for Western Sydney, Townsville and Launceston, and a further four more are currently under negotiation in Adelaide, Hobart, Perth and Geelong.
$63b infrastructure plan to keep SEQ moving till 2041
It’s going to cost $63.7 billion to keep South East Queensland moving over the next two decades, according to a study released today by the region’s mayors.
The population of the region is expected to grow by about 1.8 million people to more than five million people by 2041, putting extraordinary demand on the already strained transport network.
The SEQ People Mass Movement Study lists a total of 47 projects designed to keep city-to-city trips under 45 minutes and urban commutes under 30 minutes, including a faster rail network connecting the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast via Brisbane and west to Ipswich and Toowoomba.
Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the infrastructure plan, coined the Strategic Transport Road Map, would keep the region “economically productive” while maintaining its liveability.
“Business as normal is not going to work, we need to increase the amount of money that is being spent in South East Queensland,” Cr Quirk said.
He said the plan would require an average expenditure of about $2.7 billion per year until 2041, which he said was “not an unrealistic figure”.
“What we are seeing in Sydney and Melbourne right now is this massive spend on infrastructure. That’s because they allowed it to get too far behind. We cannot do that in South East Queensland.”
He said there had been no shortage of plans for the region’s transport network, but it was time for all levels of government to unite with a shared vision.
Redland City mayor Karen Williams said the plan delivered the projects over a “reasonable amount of time with a reasonable amount of investment”.
“It’s not a matter of ‘can we afford this?’ It’s the fact that we can’t afford not to do it,” Cr Williams said.
Faster Rail is not as fast as high speed rail, which delivers speeds up to 350km/h, but could run at about 160km/h with top speeds of up to 200-250kmh, with limited stops.
It would be connected to the light rail networks on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in order to ease congestion on major arterials.
Other projects include the Brisbane Metro, Cross River Rail and road upgrades, including the Pacific, Sunshine, Centenary, Ipswich and Logan motorways and the Bruce, Warrego and Mt Lindesay highways.
The study also took into account emerging technologies including autonomous vehicles.
It was first proposed in 2016, and began in September 2017, with the aim of bringing together multiple local, state and national transport studies into one cohesive plan.
The South East Queensland region takes in the Brisbane City, Ipswich City, Lockyer Valley Regional, Logan City, Moreton Bay, Redland City, Scenic Rim Regional, Somerset Regional, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba Regional council areas.