Ian Brusasco, was a born and bred Queenslander, the product of hard working Italian migrants.
His mother and father were part of the rapid influx of Italians into Australia in the 1920’s, with his father having been a political prisoner under Mussolini.
And like many Italian migrants they headed for the cane fields of North Queensland for new life.
Ian was born soon after in 1928.
After spending the first years of his life in and around Ingham, Ian ended up down in Brisbane and enrolled into Nudgee College.
He was a keen rugby player but after a bout of illness, he had to forego his union career, instead trying his hand at pharmacy.
That was the thing about Ian, anything he tried, he did bloody well.
There were no half measures.
Ian met his wife Patsy in his pharmacy years, who helped him run their fast growing collection of stores across Brisbane.
He was a very successful businessman, but Ian wanted more, he wanted to be part of change.
In 1960 he joined the Australian Labor party.
He ran for state elections in the 60’s and 70’s with no success but that didn’t deter him.
After some encouragement from Brisbane’s then Lord Mayor Clem Jones, Ian ran for the ALP in Brisbane City Council in 1970.
He was an Alderman for 14 years, representing the residents of the Toombul, Lutwyche and Spring Hill Wards.
He Chaired the Health Committee and Planning Committees in his time.
Ian was also instrumental in the Labor Party’s financial management in Queensland and was awarded a life membership of the ALP in recognition of his numerous contributions.
Ian was also big on sport, pushing for Brisbane to have world class sporting facilities and to host the 1982 Commonwealth games.
Football was his greatest passion.
He devoted years of his life to the game as president of the Australian and Queensland Soccer Federations.
He was in charge of the Brisbane Strikers in 1997 when the team won the National Soccer League Grand Final.
In recognition of his service to soccer, Ian was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in 1988.
He was also an inaugural member of the Queensland Academy of Sport which nurtured the talents of Grant Hackett, Susie O’Neill and Sam Stosur.
Outside of sports, politics and pharmacy, Ian was also Chair of the Gladstone Ports Corporation and Port of Brisbane Corporation.
He was a board member for the Queensland Investment Corporation and their Bio Capital Funds Board.
As Chair of WorkCover Queensland for more than a decade – we have Ian to thank for the great work that organisation does today – protecting the rights and interests of workers right across this state.
In 2001, he was awarded a Centenary Medal for his distinguished services to business and commerce.
Ian was a man of charity too.
Arguably one of his greatest achievements was founding Foodbank Queensland with Clem Jones.
A charity which now feeds a quarter of a million people every single month.
Ian Brusasco positively impacted so many people’s lives in so many ways in his 92 years.
He was a generous man with a big Labor heart, he loved sport, he was one of the old school, a true gentleman and a true leader.
On behalf of the Labor team in City Hall, we extend our thoughts and condolences to Ian’s wife Patsy, his family and friends.
He’ll forever be remembered and cherished as one of Queensland’s greats.