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Ipswich City Council says Planning Minister back-flipped over Ripley Valley

IPSWICH City Council is outraged over what they say is a back-flip  by Infrastructure and Planning Minister Sterling Hinchcliffe.

A rift has developed over the proposed Ripley Valley.

IPSWICH City Council is outraged over what they say is a back-flip by Infrastructure and Planning Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe.

The dispute arose from the State Government's announcement that the Ripley Valley would be one of three new communities master-planned by the Urban Land Development Authority.

The councillors say Mr Hinchcliffe assured them that would not change the council's development application (DA) powers for the Ripley Valley.

However, in a letter to The Queensland Times (see page 25) Mr Hinchcliffe claimed that was not the case.

Ipswich deputy mayor Victor Attwood, who manages the Ripley Valley Master Planning Group, said he was "very angry about the whole thing".

"I was talking to Stirling the other day and he told me all the master planning had already been done and what they were doing was fast-tracking infrastructure development. He said words to the effect of: 'It's nothing for you to worry about'," Cr Attwood said.

"He gave the impression we would be doing all the development applications. I thought they were just trying to bring it forward. Then he came out yesterday and said that's not what he meant. I think it's outrageous.

"I mean, the Ripley Valley master plan was signed off by the State Government a year-and-a-half ago. We got the Ripley Valley to the stage where it's all ready to rock and roll and then he's taken it all off us.

"I think they are trying to take credit for everything the council has done. It's grandstanding.

"We have a very good planning staff who do a great job and it's a real slap in the face to them."

Council planning chairman Paul Tully said he was "very disappointed the Government has back-flipped over this".

"It's essential the local community has a say in the development application process, with the council being the decision-maker," Cr Tully said.

"We have a very good track record with DAs; Springfield is a very good example. Almost all the planning for the Ripley Valley is complete and there isn't any logical reason that we shouldn't be involved in determining every development application."

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said yesterday he was seeking urgent talks with Mr Hinchcliffe.

"Let's put politics aside. All I want to do is work with the Government to find the most expeditious way of getting this project going," Cr Pisasale said.

"The council has a very good record of getting development applications through. We work very hard to get our planning done, and if there is any delay it's with the State Government."