February : Mayor’s message to the business community
Welcome to the New Year, and welcome to 2022. Each new year brings the hope of better times to come, and while it’s been a trying start to the year with the Omicron COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve also had some truly remarkable feats to life our spirits. Springfield’s own Ash Barty, the newly crowned Australian Open women’s tennis champion, has given us a much needed bright start to the year, and is someone we can all be very proud to call Ipswich’s own. It was such an exciting fortnight of tennis and I am sure each and every one of you took delight in seeing our Ash perform so amazingly in Melbourne. Council is currently looking at ways to honour our home-grown champion, and we’ll hopefully have more to say on this soon.
While we celebrate in Ash’s success, we also acknowledge that many of us are still feeling the impacts of COVID more than before, with summer interrupted for many. The effects are being felt in our schools, with an extra two weeks of school holidays, and businesses grappling with staff welfare and impacted supply chains. Council feels for all and we will continue to do our bit and help the community through these tough times.
Financial boost available for local businesses
There’s some good news for small businesses, who can now apply for grants of up to $1,500 to help with growth and development, thanks to a new $150,000 program launched this week by Ipswich City Council.
The Small Business Resilience and Growth Program is another example Council’s commitment to being Queensland’s first Small Business Friendly Council.
Small businesses are the heart of the Ipswich economy, making up over 95 percent of the total businesses registered, and the past couple of years have required them to be nimble and tough to endure an increasingly challenging environment.
This is one way council can assist businesses make operational changes or pivots that will allow them to develop and strengthen their revenue streams.
It builds on a range of support programs we’ve introduced, including a Buy Ipswich policy and publishing our forward procurement program, which opens the order book for local small businesses and locally-based suppliers to tender for Council projects.
The fund operates on a first in, first served basis, so if you’re a small business operator please don’t delay and get onto Council’s website ASAP for further information, applications close at the end of May or when funds are exhausted
Transport infrastructure unlocked by council
At its first Ordinary Council meeting, Councillors decided to repeal a resolution from 2017 that prevented work on upgrades to roads in the booming Ripley Valley development area.
The delivery of trunk infrastructure is technically the responsibility of the Queensland Government, but we know this part of the city is bursting at the seams.
Now we can get to work planning upgrades to Ripley Road, in particular, as it is in urgent need of an upgrade – in particular the section that runs along the old township section of Ripley Valley.
This repeal of a Council resolution is a direct result of community feedback: residents want to move forward and we want to address any safety concerns, facilitate growth and find a way to get this section of road upgraded as quickly as possible.
We’ll now start looking at other work in the area to put onto our three-year capital works program.
Augustine Heights Community Hub
Council has made good use of an old real estate office on newly developed land in Springfield, turning it into a community hub for residents and ratepayers to meet.
The house and land sales office at Christopher Street, Augustine Heights, was transferred to council, with a view to turning it into a community centre, community hall or meeting room.
The area in Jane Gorry Park could have gone to waste – the building was set to be removed and car park space turned into housing lots. Now, it will be known as the Augustine Heights Community Hub and be available to the community for meetings and other gatherings for a small fee.
There is much to look forward to in 2022, and Council is excited about the opportunities for new and existing businesses to grow and succeed, and Council is committed to its role in helping that happen.