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Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Page: 12898


Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (09:33): In mid-October 2012 it was my privilege to officially open River Heart Parklands stage 2, including the Bob Gamble Park, on the King Edward Parade side of the Bremer River in the City of Ipswich, in Ipswich Central. River Heart Parklands 2 results from $3.4 million of federal government funding under the Better Regions Program. This federal Labor government has invested $171 million towards building critical community infrastructure across regional Australia. This includes $11.17 million for community infrastructure in the Ipswich City Council area in the electorate of Blair. One-hundred and six priority investment projects have been delivered under this program across this country that we call Australia.

This park is particularly important because it was devastated during the 2011 floods. What has been built are water-featured play areas with wet and dry playground equipment, pathways, boardwalks, lookouts, lighting, high-quality native landscaped gardens, seating, picnic tables, barbecues, public amenities and disabled access.

Twenty jobs were created during this process, and three ongoing jobs will continue with Ipswich City Council. It is expected 50,000 people per year will utilise River Heart Parklands stage 2 and Bob Gamble Park. I knew Bob Gamble and his family—they lived in the next street to me. He was a great public servant with Ipswich City Council. He gave sage advice to mayor Paul Pisasale when he was a young councillor. It was great to see his family there to celebrate this wonderful event. There were thousands of people there on the day of the official opening.

I commend the Ipswich City Council because this $8 million project saw $4.6 million contributed by the Ipswich City Council. The council has done a great job in rebuilding Ipswich. This area was totally devastated during the flood in 2011, and seeing young people enjoying this wonderful restoration of the park for the benefit of the people of Ipswich brought a tear to the eyes of a number of people. This whole area around East Ipswich and Basin Pocket was smashed to smithereens by the flood.

This project will encourage tourism in the local area, but I urge the council to consider carefully the need for, say, a coffee van or a cafe in the area. That was clearly something that was missing, and we did see the need for that facility on the night. The council needs to be commended and the federal Labor government needs to be commended—it is funding that has been proposed by us and opposed by those opposite time and time again. (Time expired)