Local Federal Members, Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones, today welcomed the release of Australia’s Gateway Cities report: Gateways to Growth, which outlines the importance of Wollongong, Newcastle and Geelong in the nation’s economy and how they have been underestimated in terms of public policy.
In launching the report, Minister Tudge, spoke about the importance of infrastructure in the three regions but failed to announce one dollar of investment for infrastructure projects.
The report, compiled by the University of Wollongong, the University of Newcastle and Deakin University, calls on the Federal Government to establish a list of priority projects and apportion revenue streams towards these projects.
In the Illawarra, three major infrastructure projects have already been identified as urgent and are strongly supported by RDA Illawarra, the Illawarra Business Chamber and Wollongong City Council – the Maldon-Dombarton Rail Link, the Picton Road and Appin Road.
The Maldon-Dombarton rail link and upgrades to the Picton Road are listed on Infrastructure Australia’s Priority List.
The NSW Government’s Final Business Case on the Maldon-Dombarton rail link provided very clear warnings that unless the rail project is started and completed, freight transport to and from the Illawarra will simply grind to a halt in as little as a decade. The future viability of the port of Port Kembla depends on the completion of the Maldon-Dombarton rail link.
The Illawarra Business Chamber’s report Upgrading Road Connectivity Between the Illawarra and Greater Sydney (May 2018), forecasts that Mount Ousley and the Picton Road will reach capacity in the mid-2020s.
Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones urged the Minister and the Liberals to stop paying lip service and start providing much needed funding for infrastructure in the Illawarra.
Sharon Bird said that it was time the Liberals put their money where their mouth is and start investing in our regions.
“We have shovel-ready projects that are vital to our region’s economic prosperity. Our transport links from our port to south-western Sydney are strategically important in the development of Western Sydney airport.
“Improved links will also ensure that our local workers can take advantage of the jobs that will be available at the new airport.
Stephen Jones said investment in infrastructure is investment in local jobs.
“Our community shouldn’t miss out just because the Liberals have no plan”.
“We know what the problem is, we know what the solution is and the Government has no excuse but to get on with the job”.