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Labor pledges $2m to Ipswich-Springfield rail line

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Federal Labor has pledged $2 million towards a business plan to construct a much-needed rail line between Ipswich and Springfield if it wins the next federal election.

The project is considered critical to the Ipswich region with the latest figures showing a 25 per cent growth in the southern suburbs of Redbank Plains, Ripley Valley, Deebing Heights and Springfield.

At this stage, Labor State Government is committing $1 million, with Ipswich City Council stumping up $500,000 for an options analysis document.

The next stage of delivery for the Ipswch to Springfield rail corridor is a detailed business case, a more detailed proposal required before shovels hit the ground.

It is currently unfunded at a cost of $7.5 million, according to the council.

The Federal Government did not commit any funding to the project in this year's budget despite calls from local MPs.

But the project was added to Infrastructure Australia’s 2021 Infrastructure Priority List in February this year, the nation's independent infrastructure advisor.

Blair MP Shayne Neumann has described the Ipswich to Springfield rail line as critical to the growth of the region.

"Ipswich has had no major infrastructure work over the last eight years," he says.

"Ipswich is the fastest growing city in southeast Queensland. We'll have more than a half a million people by 2040.

"We're talking about a 25 per cent growth in the southern suburbs of Ipswich, which is well above the state average of 1.7 per cent."

Federal Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers visited Springfield on Friday to make the election pledge.

“Federal Labor believes in investing in nation-building infrastructure to create jobs and grow local economies in Queensland," Mr Chalmers says.

“Ipswich is one of fastest-growing regions in the country, so we need to plan for this growth now.

“Public transport infrastructure will be a key priority of an Albanese Labor Government and the Springfield to Ipswich transport corridor will be a game-changing investment for the region.”

Mayor Teresa Harding says the announcement shows all levels of government recognise just how quickly Ipswich is growing.

“The numbers speak for themselves: another 325,000 community members are projected to move to Ipswich by 2041. We are Queensland’s fastest growing city,” Mayor Harding said.

“With approximately 70 per cent of the population growth in Ipswich occurring between Ipswich and Springfield, this public transport corridor is vital to easing the burden on our road network and keeping our community moving.

“Council has been ramping up calls for government investment in essential infrastructure projects for our city and it is fantastic that Federal Labor has come to the table."

 

Image: Federal Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers with Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese. AAP/Lukas Coch