Transport hub to boost Ipswichs future: Queensland Premier

By: Graham Gardiner

The Queensland Government today unveiled a bold plan to revitalise the Ipswich city heart including development of a transport hub

The Queensland Government today unveiled a bold plan to revitalise the Ipswich city heart including development of a transport hub that will replace the existing transit centre, rail station and the Bell St bus interchange.

"The sleeping giant of the Ipswich CBD is about to be awakened. This exciting development will potentially include community space, and residential facilities, as well as office space for more than 1200 State Government and other workers," Premier Anna Bligh says.

"To begin with the State will spend $5 million to kick-start detailed planning for this combined transport, business and residential precinct in the heart of Ipswich."

The timeline is compact.

Firstly, the business case will be developed for Cabinet's consideration in August. Expressions of interest from the private sector to build the project will then be called by November, with selection of the preferred developer early in 2009.

Speaking at the award-winning Workshops Railway Museum in North Ipswich, the Premier says the funding will help deliver the recently released Ipswich Integrated Strategy and Action Plan.

"That Plan highlighted 17 projects that were vital to help Ipswich continue to grow into a world-class city," Bligh says.

"Adding that many office workers to the middle of town daily will give great confidence to major retailers to then help further support and revitalise the Ipswich CBD.

"We're building a better future for Ipswich and surrounds."

Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Paul Lucas says the State's Coordinator-General is proposing to make the area around the project a State Development Area to help deliver the proposal.

"The majority of the area around the planned development is currently under-utilised, which is quite different from the integrated transport, community space, residential, office and retail use that's being proposed," Lucas says.

"Declaring a State Development Area would let the state, through the Coordinator-General, carry out the master planning for the area, which would help streamline the development process."

Lucas says that the Coordinator-General is considering a State Development Area bounded by the Bremer River, the existing car parking area at River Heart Parklands, the Queensland Rail-owned land on Ellenborough Street, Brisbane Street as far as Marsden Parade and the existing Ipswich rail station car parking area on Marsden Parade to the river bank.

The Coordinator-General will seek public comment on the boundaries of the proposed State Development Area, and will make his decision in the next few weeks.

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