How Seqwater learned to stop worrying and love Ipswich

Despite initial fears about their relocation to Ipswich, it appears many staff of Seqwater, which runs South-East Queensland’s dams such as Wivenhoe and Somerset, have come to embrace the city. The local paper, the Queensland Times, which of course may show some bias toward its home town, has just run a story about how great things are for the relocated public servants (Workers enjoying the ‘Switch). Seqwater workers will certainly benefit from lower retail prices, particularly for food items, in Ipswich compared with Brisbane, as a recent Queensland Government Statistician report Prices across Queensland shows (see the chart I’ve copied and pasted below, which shows the percentage deviation from average Brisbane metro retail prices in each local government area). And the local community is benefitting, too. For example, Seqwater workers, who apparently enjoy their coffee, have signficantly boosted turnover at local cafes (Coffee gives workers and CBD financial hit).

pricesI still question whether relocating public servants to the region is a good idea. I’ve previously commented on this issue:

Move public servants to regions only if cost-effective

Whether it was a sensible move or not, Seqwater is now at home in Ipswich and has added to the momentum of a region that is growing strongly, as I’ve previously posted on:

Coles backs Ipswich – good investment given strong population growth


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2 Responses to How Seqwater learned to stop worrying and love Ipswich

  1. Jim says:

    Gene. If you then add in the cost of housing ownership differential (probably about $200K cheaper in Ipswich for a comparable property), staff Seqwater are probably about $15-20K per annum better off financially if they make the ‘Switch’.

    The test of the ‘Switch’ will come when the labour market improves and people actually have a genuine choice between Brisbane and Ipswich. Then I suspect Seqwater might struggle to attract the best professionals, but won’t struggle to get administrative staff (as many people with that skills base already live in Ipswich).

  2. Gene Tunny says:

    Yes, good point about differential in housing costs. I suspect Seqwater won’t struggle to retain/attract good professional staff, even when the labour market improves. From what I’ve seen, Seqwater staff are very well compensated relative to their work responsibilities and experience levels. Thanks again for commenting, Jim.

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