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Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Page: 7680

Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (21:35): The coalition has neglected Ipswich—always. Each time the coalition has occupied the Treasury benches, its attitude has been to ignore the needs of the city and frustrate the wishes of its people. From its appalling refusal for 11½ years to upgrade the most vital transport link for the city—the Ipswich Motorway, used by more than 80,000 vehicles daily—to its failure to fund the local schools and hospitals and its lack of commitment to important community infras­tructure—the coalition has ignored Ipswich again and again. It took the election of a federal Labor government in 2007 for the Ipswich Motorway to be upgraded from Dinmore to Goodna after years of opp­osition, truculence and stubbornness from the previous Howard coalition government. For the nearly four years I have had the honour of being the federal member for Blair, the coalition has voted against funding for Ipswich repeatedly. Whether it was nation building projects such as the Ipswich Motorway and other local road projects, the Building the Education Revolution fund­ing—which has delivered in Blair almost $109 million, in new libraries, multipurpose halls and school classroom upgrades in 65 local schools—to all our regional and community infrastructure projects, the coalition has opposed it all, again and again and again. Even during the last federal election, despite much talking about it, the coalition refused again to commit itself to funding for the most pressing, unfunded and needed road priority: the Blacksoil Inter­change, which is located at the intersection of the Warrego and Brisbane Valley Highways in Ipswich and which serves as the gateway for the Somerset Region, the Lockyer Valley and the Darling Downs. Only Labor committed itself to upgrading the Blacksoil Interchange with a flyover. It was a $70 million project with $54 million from the federal Labor government budgeted in 2011-12 in partnership with the state Labor government which is committing $16 million. The Blacksoil Interchange was not done during the 11½ years of coalition neglect despite, like the Ipswich Motorway, having the support of all local councils regardless of their political complexion. It will be under construction in early 2012 and is another great partnership between the federal and state Labor governments.

Until the election of this federal Labor government the missing link in funding for the City of Ipswich was federal funding. This is a point made often by Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale and I agree. I have spoken in this House on numerous occasions on the benefits of the Ipswich Motorway upgrade to the lives and lifestyles of the people of Ipswich. The upgrade to six lanes, with service roads and bike and pedestrian paths, has had up to 10,000 people working on it. It has created apprenticeships for dozens of local Ipswich residents and has improved the connectivity for Ipswichians to the capital of Queensland, Brisbane, where so many people work and play.

With my couple of minutes left I want to talk about partnerships and how, by working with the local Ipswich City Council and the state Labor government, this federal Labor government is making a difference in the heart of Ipswich. In the 2007 campaign we made a commitment at my urging of $10 million to the revitalisation of the Ipswich CBD under our Better Regions Program, which has and will continue to make a difference in the redevelopment of the heart of Ipswich.

There has been $3.3 million for the performing arts. There has been a partnership for an upgrade to the Ipswich Civic Centre—an icon created by the Whitlam Labor government in the mid-seventies. There was an upgrade of $300,000 to the Terrace Sails Cafe at the Civic Centre. There has been a refurbishment of over $1 million to the Civic Centre. There will be a study for an Ipswich performing arts centre, known as IPAC, which is a $97 million project and will have my support. There will be 300 jobs directly and a further 500 jobs indirectly created. A 1,500 seat IPAC would connect a second chamber seating about 500. I can guarantee to the people of Ipswich that as the member for Blair I will argue, advocate and agitate for funding from the federal government for IPAC.

This is another component of the federal Labor government's commitment, not just $3.3 million for performing arts in Ipswich, but $3.3 million for the upgrade of the corporate centre and the Ipswich Rugby League Reserve at North Ipswich. This is together with funding, which we have provided for the aquatic recreational reserve, to extend the riverside parklands hundreds of metres to the Bob Gamble Park.

In the two previous coalition campaigns there was not one word about these matters. There was no money from the Better Regions Funding. There has been $3.4 million committed by the Labor government on the aquatic recreation reserve and not a word has been said by the coalition. They do not care about the heart of the Ipswich. They do not care about the people of Ipswich and it is only this federal Labor government that has invested in Ipswich. It is only Labor that cares about Ipswich, it is only Labor that cares about the people of Ipswich and it is only Labor that has put life back into the heart of Ipswich CBD. (Time expired)