SMARTY PANTS: The front page of The Chronicle on Saturday.
SMARTY PANTS: The front page of The Chronicle on Saturday.

Joke is on Toowoomba, says Ipswich mayor

IPSWICH Mayor Paul Pisasale reckons one of the great things about the city is that we've learnt to laugh.

There was plenty to laugh about on the weekend when fellow Mayor Paul Antonio of Toowoomba made the daring suggestion that the Garden City was smarter than Ipswich.

It came after Ipswich took out one of seven finalist spots in the annual international Intelligent Community awards, decided by the Intelligence Community Forum.

On learning of the finalist nod, Cr Antonio told the QT's sister paper The Chronicle in Toowoomba that "poor old Ipswich" had not too long ago been the butt of terrible jokes from pretty much everyone.

"I was interested to see a section of the award criteria recognised that Ipswich is now embracing cutting edge technology - in the past that would have been a pair of safety scissors (because they weren't allowed to touch the grown up ones yet), but good on them," he said.

The joke's on Toowoomba though - Cr Pisasale told the QT he would have to disappoint all those Toowoomba residents who gave him a call on the weekend asking him to swoop in and take over from Cr Antonio.

"I'm in love with Ipswich," he said.

Cr Pisasale warned the fellow Mayor to watch out or he might have to install one of Ipswich's world-renowned Safe City cameras in the Toowoomba CBD to keep an eye on his errant colleague.

He made the polite suggestion that Cr Antonio concentrate his efforts on getting Toowoomba up to scratch to follow Ipswich's lead.

"No other city in Australia, including Toowoomba, has ever been in the top seven (of the Intelligent Community awards)," Cr Pisasale said.

On a more serious note, Ipswich now has the chance of winning the top spot in the awards, which recognises cities across the world who embrace the concept of a broadband economy.

The city made it as a finalist thanks to years of work that has gone into capitalising on the National Broadband Network, the redevelopment of the CBD and developing digital skills in the Ipswich business community.

Even to be a finalist has left Cr Pisasale chuffed, but he is hopeful the city will beat fellow finalists such as Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Columbus in the United States and New Taipei City in Taiwan to be crowned number 1.

"We've won already," he said.

"We've worked really hard in this city."

Head to intelligent to check out how Ipswich made it into the top seven.