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Why 2018 is a ‘defining moment’ for Ipswich business



YEAR AHEAD: Ipswich Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Phillip Bell is optimistic about business opportunities in the city in 2018.

IT’S going to be a ‘defining year’ for business in Ipswich.

Boutique restaurants and cafes, speciality shops and niche market-based businesses are already cashing in on the CBD facelift but outside the city centre, investors are spying potential in growing markets.

Confidence in the building and construction sector, a $150m cash splash on the Ipswich Mall and healthy competition in food, entertainment and hospitality businesses is sparking a bright 12 months for the city.

Ipswich Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Phillip Bell said he was looking forward to seeing the Ipswich business sector blossom in 2018.

“The city heart precinct is going to feature very strongly but having said that a lot of business will take a little time to settle and build their profile and clientele,” Mr Bell said.

“I think all businesses would accept that takes time. Momentum will continue to build in 2018.

“In particular hospitality and retail types businesses are finding improved opportunities for business in the Ipswich CBD.”

He said the focus on the CBD redevelopment played a significant role in encouraging business confidence.

“I observed local business struggle a few years back but what we are seeing now, particularly with the confidence the council is showing with the $150 million in the CBD, is that people are being drawn back,” Mr Bell said.

“There will always be a strong market for business competing outside the CBD but with the types of entertainment, retail and hospitality type precincts that are being created, the opportunity for small business in retail and hospitality is just going to continue to grow. 2018 is going to be a defining year for business in Ipswich.”

Mr Bell said while many businesses were making the most of the opportunities to strengthen within the city, others were facing challenges not exclusive to Ipswich.

“There are a lot of small businesses that truly operate on the margin. We need to be cautious because we have enjoyed a relatively low cost of debt so small business, in particular, will have to watch their balance sheet in the next 12 to 24 months,” he said. “If we see an asset squeeze and interest rates starting to shift upwards, there is some cause for concern for those in the margin.”

Local business heading overseas

SMALL businesses which have already secured their hold on the Ipswich market are increasingly looking to overseas consumers to sell their goods.

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell predicts 2018 will be a year of strong growth for small business exporters.

Ms Carnell said Australia’s International Business Survey 2017 showed greater confidence among businesses that were already exporting.

In agriculture and wholesaling, two thirds of businesses believe the outlook is better than the previous two years.

China, the United States and United Kingdom have been identified as markets where revenue growth is likely to be strong.

“Australia is seeing increased growth in exports and small businesses are leading the way,” Ms Carnell said.

“Nearly 88 per cent of Australian exporters are small-medium enterprises.

“An increasing number of firms are ‘born global’, which means they’re exporting at the very beginning.”

Ms Carnell said the survey findings matched Efic’s exporter sentiment index from August, which showed two thirds of respondents expected future sales revenue to increase

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Seven figure sales show Ipswich is a property gold mine



Seven figure sales show Ipswich is a property gold mine

MANY Ipswich residents may not realise they are sitting on a property gold mine, with two homes snatching seven figures in the past few months.

A home in Waghorn St in Woodend sold in November for $1.09 million, while just up the road a home in Burnett St sold for $1.11 million this month.

June Frank from Walkers Real Estate believes it is further proof that Ipswich is becoming a destination for home buyers looking for value in their investment.

“The replacement value alone along with the huge block means that they represented great value for money,” Ms Frank, who handled both sales, said.

“If you’d have bought that house in Waghorn St and done all the work that the owners had done over the last 20 years in a short time you’d be looking at a sale price of $1.8 million to get your money back.

“I’m finding families from Brisbane all the time at open homes. You go to the northside of Brisbane and for $700,000 you’re lucky to get a two or three-bedroom home, but here you can buy a palace for $500,000 on a big block.”

Seven figure sales show Ipswich is a property gold mineThe house at 6 Waghorn Street is now one of Ipswich’s ‘Million Dollar Homes’

Local agent and Real Estate Institute of Queensland representative Darren Boettcher believes the fact Ipswich now has million dollar homes it will drive the prices up from the bottom, not the top down.

“A few years ago you could pick up a property for under $100,000,” Mr Boettcher said.

“Then it crept up to $150,000 and I think 18 months from now you won’t get anything in Ipswich for under $250,000 the way things are going. While the average price in Ipswich is now $320,000, it really is a seller’s market.”

“Things are moving up in Ipswich. When I got into this business in 1991, there were two sales people and we had 135 listings. Today we have 135 buyers and one listing, that’s how things are now. There just aren’t enough houses for sale in Ipswich. The population growth and infrastructure has changed things. Eastern Heights for example has gone up 30 per cent in five years.”


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Parts of Ipswich CBD closed to make way for demolition



Parts of Ipswich CBD closed to make way for demolition

PARTS of the Ipswich CBD will be closed to traffic during the day time for the next three months from this week.

Police will block off one lane of Bremer St between Olga St and Ellenborough St and Mansfield Place between East St and Bremer St as heavy equipment move in to continue the Ipswich CBD demolition.

The road closures will be now until July 9 between 9am and 2.30pm Monday to Friday and 8am and 5pm on weekends.

The road closures coincide with the latest phase of the Ipswich CBD redevelopment which includes builders removing the former 30-minute car park, former Woolworths supermarket and adjoining tenancies.

Work started this week on the roof, facade, remaining walls and frames of the building.

The wrecking ball and dozers moved into the derelict site mid last year, demolishing what used to be the heart of the city, ready for a fresh new look to begin evolving in 2018.

Ipswich City Properties Chairman Councillor Paul Tully said visitors to the mall would have noticed the crane removing large concrete panels.

While the entry to P3 of the car park will be closed for a short time during this phase of construction, motorists can still enter the car park via P5 and drive up to P3. There will be no reduction in car parking spaces during this time with all parking remaining available on levels 3, 4, 5 and 6.

To enter the car park via P5, turn into Ellenborough St, turn right onto Bremer Street at the Riverheart Parkland entry and then veer right on the slip road to enter P5.


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Defence contract the best thing for Ipswich since rail began in 1865: Mayor



Defence contract the best thing for Ipswich since rail began in 1865: Mayor

Ipswich mayor Andrew Antoniolli inside a Rheinmetall Boxer armoured vehicle. Photo: supplied.

Talking points

  • Plans for the Redbank Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence have already been lodged with Ipswich City Council.
  • The initial plan is to build 211 new generation armoured personnel carriers for the Australian Army, but the facilities could cover additional vehicles.
  • Rheinmetall at the end of 2017 began talks with Bluescope Steel to be a suppliers of Australian steel for the vehicles which will run off the production line from 2020.

The decision to award a $5 billion contract for 211 high-tech armoured vehicles in Queensland means a new multimillion-dollar Centre of Excellence at Redbank and defence jobs for 40 years.

Ipswich mayor Andrew Antionolli said the decision was the biggest news for Ipswich since Queensland Rail came to town.

Queensland’s first train line was built from Grandchester to Ipswich in 1865, kickstarting the Ipswich railway workshops that employed thousands of people until they closed last decade.

Cr Antoniolli said the Defence contract announced on Wednesday would create more than 330 permanent jobs from the outset, build significant opportunities for local businesses and provide associated work with ongoing delivery and maintenance of the vehicles.

“This is huge for Ipswich, make no mistake,” he said.

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