SOME might consider it a rare sight in the Ipswich CBD, or at least something they haven’t noticed for a fair few years.
It’s 8pm on a Saturday in the Top of Town precinct, and the bars and restaurants are that full, you’d be hard-pressed getting a table if you haven’t booked one already.
The opening of several bars and restaurants – including Dusty’s Bar and BBQ and Heisenberg Haus more recently – has slowly brought people back into the city after dark.
While Ipswich still has its fair share of skeptics, those who have put their backsides on the line to make it work are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Dusty’s Bar and BBQ owner Mark Dale said he’d experienced a great start to 2016 after a busier-than expected Christmas period.
“Speaking with other restaurant and pub owners, everyone is excited for the future,” he said.
“The Top of Town is quickly turning into a place where you can have an American experience with us, or German at Heisenberg Haus, or Italian with Viva Italia.
“Then there are places like Fourth Child Cafe which has been very busy too.
“It gives people a reason not to just go out in Brisbane.”
The lift in activity hasn’t just been confined to the Top of Town.
Since opening early last year, Pumpyard Bar and Brewery owner Wade Curtis has enjoyed a strong following and the emergence of other restaurants and bars is only adding to the number of potential customers.
“I went for a walk around the Top of Town last Saturday and Dusty’s and Heisengerg’s were full,” Mr Curtis said.
“I think the dining and drinking scene is picking up. A lot more people are thinking about going out in Ipswich and people are going out every week instead of just on special occasions.
“To be a precinct where people go out, you need to have a good range of offerings – when people go out they want to hit more than just the one place.”
The QT has recently publicised the opening of the Thai On Ipswich on Limestone St, right across the road from established restaurants Tomato Brothers and Aaliya’s on Limestone.
About one kilometre west, on d’Arcy Doyle Place, Raj Sharma’s India Mehfil has recently undergone a major renovation and has been doing a roaring trade.
Boasting 72 beer taps, the new Tap’d Bar at the Prince Alfred Hotel has also been enjoying some big Friday and Saturday nights since opening in the latter half of last year.
Next door, the adjoining Char’d Restaurant is often packed out on weekends.
The chain of pubs and restaurants heading east is about to gain another link.
Passionate Italian chef Mario Grimaldi is taking a leap of faith by giving some much needed TLC to an old favourite on Brisbane Rd at Suicide Bend.
Formerly the Pancake Manor, many older Ipswich residents would recognise it as the old Bodega Restaurant.
Mr Grimaldi spent an entire month renovating the run-down building. He has come a long way and the restaurant has done strong trade in its first few weeks – but he still has a long way to go.
“When I first came here it looked as though the last tenants just picked up and left in a hurry,” Mr Grimaldi said.
“It needed a lot of TLC, but I was drawn to this place because before I moved to Ipswich I had a dream that I would find a place just like this on the road to Brisbane.”
Over four stages he hopes to build a fully insulated outdoor function area, as well as open up the old alley way back entrance for a cafe section.
With a Japanese restaurant and massage shop set to move into the adjoining building across the alley, Mr Grimaldi said he hoped his new restaurant, Casa Mia, would become a precinct of its own.
“As far as I’m concerned there is no competition,” he said.
Originally Published On: http://www.qt.com.au/
Australian Mortgage Arrears At Decade Lows
Fitch Ratings says Australian mortgage arrears have reached a decade low after declining 18bp to 0.91 per cent during 3Q15 according to its latest report.
Two-thirds of the improvement was due to the inclusion of AUD$8.7bn worth of new issuance from 1Q15. Fitch’s Dinkum Index would still have reached a decade low, even after removing the impact of thesetransactions.
House prices in Australia’s capital cities have strengthened 11.02 per cent yoy to September 2015 and have had a two-fold impact on mortgage performance. Strong house prices have enabled borrowers to sell their properties to cure arrears, reducing the 90+ days to 0.41 per cent – the lowest level since February 2006. Additionally, prices served to reduce principal losses on sale, maintaining the annualised loss rate unchanged qoq at a low 0.02 per cent.
Self- employed borrowers continue to experience financial difficulties; Low-Doc 30+ arrears increased to 6.97 per cent in 3Q15 from 5.72 per cent in 2Q15. This is despite serviceability factors being as a good as it gets with stable unemployment over the quarter, a low stable cash rate and standard variable rate, and low CPI.
Fitch believes material improvements in 2016 are unlikely and in the current borrower environment, arrears can be attributed to factors outside the economy such as divorce, extraordinary expenses and illness.
Fitch’s Dinkum RMBS Index tracks the arrears and performance of the mortgages underlying Australianresidential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS).
The full report entitled, ‘The Dinkum RMBS Index – 3Q15′ is available at www.fitchratings.com
Graffiti on Ipswich trains will be history thanks to depot
GRAFFITI on Ipswich trains will have a short life span once the $190 million maintenance facility at Wulkuraka is in full swing.
Those who engage in defacing trains will be wasting their time due to high tech detection capabilities and a state-of-the-art high pressure cleaning facility at the depot.
Figures released last year showed that graffiti was costing Queensland Rail $5.5 million to remove from trains.
When the trains come in to the bi-directional depot, from either the Rosewood or Ipswich direction, they will go through what is known as the MRX Shed, or colloquially as ‘The Giraffe Hut’, where state of the art equipment picks up any defects in the train including graffiti.
There are 10 tracks, known as roads, at the facility.
Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) NGR program director Stuart Langan said down the end of one of those roads was where all graffiti would be eradicated before trains leave the depot pristine clean.
“Down the end of the six road are three high pressure cleaning machines and before a train goes back into service it will be cleaned,” he said.
“We have got the technology to pick up graffiti on the outside automatically.
“The message for graffiti artists is that any train leaving Wulkuraka will not have any graffiti on it.”
Detection equipment at the eastern and western end of the depot will pick up whether graffiti is on each train that comes into the depot.
“There is automatic detection of graffiti on the outside of the trains and that is something we are very keen to tackle with early detection,” Mr Langan said.
The ultra modern depot has already employed hundreds of people in the construction phase with the facility now just six months from being operational.
The depot will see global giant Bombardier maintain the latest generation trains with approximately 150 people set to be employed once the operational phase kicks in.
Mr Langan said the facility had been “purpose built to maintain the 75 six-car trains that we are getting from Bombardier”.
$2.7M training boost for 670 of Ipswich’s job seekers
ABOUT 670 job seekers in the Ipswich region will benefit from nearly $2.8 million for work skills training.
Eight organisations will target a range of industries including retail, hospitality, automotive, construction and the general business sector. (more…)