ACROSS the shimmering, new suburban rooves of Springfield Lakes, a church on the hill is taking shape as beacon for a rapidly growing community.
The concrete slab has been poured at the Our Lady of the Southern Cross, and work is progressing at a fast pace.
Wearing a hard hat and hi-visibility vest, parish priest Fr Mauro Conte was brimming with enthusiasm as he watched workmen trowel and level the area which will become a sanctuary, and where an altar and ambo will stand.
“Work started in the middle of February and is going really, really well,” Fr Conte said.
“It’s going to be a beautiful church accommodating more than 500 people, and after six years of starting this community here in greater Springfield, it is now time to have a beautiful place for us to worship in.”
“Hopefully we can get it finished by mid or end of November – definitely before Christmas. We are really looking forward to this church being part of our faith journey.”
For the past six years, Springfield parishioners have worshipped in a hall at St Augustine’s College, with a packed Sunday-morning congregation reaching 450 to 500 people.
A Saturday-night vigil Mass in the hall regularly attracts 200 parishioners.
“We have dreamed of having a church,” building committee chairman Vim Balachandran said.
He is one of the prime movers in a multicultural parish, which boasts 20 nationalities.
“The church will cost $5 million,” he said, “which includes the purchase of land, design costs and the build and fit-out.”
The project has been on the drawing board since the Springfield Catholic community was established in 2011.
The church building committee is “very excited” about the architectural design for the new church which explores the theme of heaven and earth, and will feature a complete wall of glass, marble tiles and about 70 square metres of mosaics.
The church is designed along an east-west axis, and will feature an easterly view to the rising sun.
Fr Conte travelled to Italy to order the key feature materials, and during his visit convinced noted artist and theologian Fr Marko Rupnik to produce the mosaics and to paint the glass depicting nine scenes of the life of Mary.
Each of the scenes will cost $6000.
Fr Rupnik is the creative man behind the Jubilee of Mercy logo and he is known for his bold, colourful icons featured in churches and sacred spaces around the world.
Fr Conte is enthused and optimistic that many new parishioners will be attracted to a new and inspirational place of worship.
“It will be an attractive church – even if people come and have a look and visit,” he said.
Greater Springfield, a collection of five suburbs, has a population of 32,000 and is set to grow rapidly in the coming decades.
“This is a vibrant, young multicultural community full of optimism and possibilities,” Fr Conte said.
“It’s challenging – everything is new and happening quickly.”
The enthusiasm of the Springfield Catholic community is embodied by the efforts of church volunteers, who regularly travel to Suncorp Stadium to man a popular sausage sizzle.
“It’s our main fundraising effort,” Fr Conte explained.
“Every game, every concert, we are there selling sausages from St Thomas More Church (in the Jubilee parish).
“Last year it brought in around $57,000, and we’ve been doing it for three or four years now.
“That tells me of the generosity and passion of the people.”
Fr Conte is keen to widen fundraising efforts across the entire archdiocese.
He said as well as the $6000 price tag for each of the nine Life of Mary scenes, $1200 would sponsor a church pew, while a brick in the new church would cost $100.
“Our Lady of the Southern Cross Church – it’s not just our church,” he said,
“It’s a church for everyone.”
By Mark Bowling
Originally Published On: http://catholicleader.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.