ALL roads lead to the booming Redbank Plains and now it is time the railway line leads there as well.
That was the message coming through loud and clear at the Ipswich City Council ordinary meeting yesterday.
Councillors David Morrison, Andrew Antoniolli, Paul Tully and Sheila Ireland all spoke in the meeting or to the QT about the need for the State Government to fast track the proposed connection between Springfield Central and Redbank Plains.
Cr Antoniolli, the city’s planning boss, released the planning and development annual report card for 2016 which revealed the top five suburbs for new dwellings and additional population. Redbank Plains led the way with 376 new dwellings and 1051 new residents.
That was ahead of Springfield Lakes with 336 and 960 respectively, Bellbird Park (237 and 620), Leichhardt (214 and 562) and South Ripley (185 and 594).
When Mayor Paul Pisasale and the other 11 mayors from south-east Queensland met on the Sunshine Coast for a strategic planning workshop it was to guide future infrastructure in the region and lobbying efforts.
The rail extension was one of the items Cr Pisasale put forward as a priority locally, and he pointed to the extension as being a part of the State Government planning study.
In the council meeting Cr Morrison made the point the development in the region wasn’t just about to happen, but “it is happening now”.
Cr Antoniolli said Redbank Plains had been the fastest growing area for several years and the report made a clear case for infrastructure funding from the State and the Federal Government.
The council has made a considerable investment in upgrading roads and facilities in the suburb.
“But we only get a small amount of the public funds to deliver infrastructure needs, so we do need the support of the State and Feds,” Cr Antoniolli said.
“One thing that needs to be on the agenda is the continuation of that line from Springfield Central to Ipswich, through Redbank Plains and Ripley.
“We need a commitment from the state on that with some projected timelines on it reaching Ipswich city.”
Yong Real Estate’s Matt Boettcher, based in Redbank Plains, was not surprised the suburb was booming with population.
He said that several years ago investors saw the value for money and the high rental yields and took advantage but now young families from other Ipswich suburbs were relocating to take advantage of big blocks and the value for money.
“Our figures from last year show that our total sales were 51% to owner occupiers and 49% to investors, which is a pleasing thing,” he said.
“From 2010 to 2013 investors held court in the market, but from the start of 2014 the owner occupiers have been flooding the market.”
Mr Boettcher said that surveys had shown numerous people from Redbank Plains were driving to Springfield Central to catch the train and that the rail line extension was “a necessity”.
A Translink spokesperson said the rail extension was part of the government’s long term vision but that there were other rail priorities.
“The South East Queensland Rail Horizon report (2016) has identified the Cross River Rail project as the Government’s infrastructure priority to provide the necessary capacity for an expansion of the rail network,” the spokesperson said.
“The Department of Transport and Main Roads has completed planning to identify a corridor for the proposed extension of the Ipswich and Springfield rail lines to support population growth in the Western Corridor. The Ipswich to Springfield corridor is part of the Queensland Government’s longer-term vision for the South East Queensland rail network.”
Originally Published: http://www.qt.com.au/
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.”
Life-saving helipad opens at Ipswich Hospital
A new helipad at Ipswich Hospital that will allow critically ill patients to receive life-saving care quicker has welcomed its first air ambulance.
The £250,000 facility has officially opened next to A&E on the site of the former Bridge School and has been fully funded by the HELP Appeal charity.
The helipad will enable air ambulance teams to transfer patients to the emergency room at Ipswich Hospital or other specialist centres much faster.
Previously, it took up to 15 minutes to reach A&E from the hospital’s old landing spot in the field of Copleston High School.
The facility also has built-in lighting, which means helicopters can land in the hours of the darkness for the first time.
Dr Neil Berry, consultant anaesthetist at Ipswich Hospital and East Anglian Air Ambulance, spearheaded the project.
“This goes back a few years now when I heard Nick Hulme, our chief exec, was thinking about purchasing this land where the school was,” he said.
“I had been pestering him for a helipad so I went and pestered him again and to Nick’s great credit he is always listening and from then on it’s been made to happen.”
He added: “You can never pin anything on one piece of equipment or one person but I actually believe that this will save lives in the future.
“Minutes sometimes do matter and I will be very surprised if we can’t attribute those minutes to this helipad and the saving of lives in the future.
“It’s a proud moment for both Ipswich Hospital and the air ambulance. It’s a nice feeling to see we are always progressing and it’s nice to think patients are going to get the timely treatment that they need.”
Ipswich Hospital boss Nick Hulme said this was a great example of charities helping to support the NHS with improvements that “frankly we can’t afford to do ourselves”.
He added: “This is one of the only helipads in the East of England that has completely unrestricted landing so it can land at any time night or day and therefore we can open the A&E department for critically ill patients who need to be seen in that golden hour – that first hour after a stroke or major trauma.”
Robert Bertram, chief executive of the HELP Appeal, said this was the 21st helipad the charity had funded.
BUDGET: Cash splashed to fix Ipswich’s congested highway
ONE of Ipswich’s worst intersections will be fixed with the Federal Government committing to fund an upgrade to the Cunningham Highway.
In his third budget, Treasurer Scott Morrison revealed $170 million would go towards improving the dreaded Amberley Interchange.
The project will include a realignment of the highway between Yamanto and Ebenezer Creek and an upgrade of the Ipswich-Rosewood Rd.
Expansions and growing military activity at RAAF Base Amberley has put pressure on the interchange.
The $170 million funding injection also comes as the Ipswich City Council considers a proposal from Lantrak to move 1 million tonnes of landfill each year to rehabilitate the New Hope coal mine at Jeebropilly.
According to the application more than 250 heavy vehicles would transit the highway each day.
The government says the Cunningham Highway upgrade will “improve travel reliability and reduce congestion”.
It is expected the Queensland Labor Government will match the funding to start the $340 million project.
Federal Labor MP Shayne Neumann confirmed his party would offer bipartisan support and also commit to fixing the highway in a “major boost for the economic capacity of the Ipswich region”.
“The road takes 2700 heavy vehicle movements a day, and plays a significant role in transporting people and freight between Brisbane and Sydney,” he said.
“These vital upgrades to the Cunningham Highway have long been identified on Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List.
“That’s why it’s disappointing the Turnbull LNP Government have had to be dragged kicking and screaming to fund this project.”
Become an entrepreneur
OLDER residents in Ipswich will be encouraged to become entrepreneurs so they can stay in the workforce longer.
The Federal Government will roll out 20 new entrepreneurship facilitators across the regions over the next four years.
Ipswich, along with central Queensland, Ballina and Tweed, will benefit from the program.
The small business experts will teach mature-age people how to start and maintain sustainable businesses.
The Federal Government has set aside $2.7 million in the 2018-19 financial year for the project.
A further $15 million will fund the program until June of 2022.
The government has also committed to continuing the Job Change project that assists mature-age workers to remain in the workforce as retirement and pension ages creep upwards.
Amberley cashes in on Defence spending
RAAF Base Amberley will take a share in millions of dollars in upgrades in the Defence portfolio.
A new Air Traffic Control Radar will be installed at Amberley as part of an estimated $96 million investment in new technology across several bases.
Working accommodation, maintenance, warehousing and training facilities will be built to support the introduction of the Growler Airborne Electronic Attack Capability aircraft.
The project is scheduled for completion by early 2021.
A C-17 maintenance facility, aircraft apron and associated infrastructure will also be constructed.
It is scheduled for completion by early 2019.