Thursday, 3 December 2020
Ipswich Show: Thomas, Mr David (Rusty)
Previously, the Ipswich Show had been cancelled only twice before—both times during World War II and World War I—but, sadly, this year it was cancelled. While the show is not run to make a profit, it contributes more than $1 million to the Ipswich economy every year. In my electorate, there are seven agricultural and rural shows, and I am pleased to support all of them. Next year will be the first Ipswich Show in 55 years without David Thomas, widely known as Rusty. Rusty was the president of the Ipswich Show Society. Sadly, he passed away suddenly last month, aged 76 years of age. Rusty had been involved in the Ipswich Show since 1966. He was a larger than life, colourful character and a true showman. His company, Kay-Dee Promotions, provided rides and sideshow attractions to agricultural shows right across Queensland.
The 2020 show was meant to showcase the new upgrades to the indoor sports centre and an extension to the exhibits pavilion at the Ipswich Showgrounds. The work was modernising the facility and increasing the floor space by 40 per cent, providing greater capacity as an evacuation centre. The showgrounds is the major evacuation centre in the region and provided an evacuation centre in 2011 and 2013. These upgrades are part of a larger upgrade which received $8.9 million in federal government funding. Once completed, the showgrounds will be home to a world-class convention and exhibition centre. Importantly, it will be able to provide accommodation for 300 people as an evacuation centre, with bathrooms and showers and kitchen and sleeping facilities. Rusty was passionate about the project. He was very much a salt-of-the-earth character and was never afraid to lobby all levels of government.
Rusty understood that there was more work to be done around the city as a whole, and one of those things was the Ipswich to Springfield rail line, which, once built, would benefit the Ipswich Showgrounds and the Show Society. The proposal would connect Ipswich and Springfield via Ripley. Ipswich's population is expected to grow from 230,000 to 558,000 people by 2041, with 70 per cent of that growth in the corridor between Ipswich and Springfield. The proposal would provide a passenger station right behind the showgrounds and the University of Southern Queensland Ipswich campus—a vital public transport corridor—and reduce congestion on the roads. The Queensland government has contributed $1 million towards the $2.5 million business case required, and I'm calling on the Morrison government to match it. This would provide opportunities for growth and jobs in the region—and it would be a great legacy for Rusty Thomas. My sincere condolences to his wife Kay and his three children and grandchildren and to the Ipswich Show Society and vice-president and good mate Darren Zanow. Vale Rusty.