Shellharbour residents have aired concerns about the region's hospitals, infrastructure priorities and local government amalgamation at a meeting that brought together representatives from all three tiers of government.
Held at midday yesterday, the meeting drew 19 people - mostly retirees - into a question-and-answer session with the area's local, state and federal representatives: Marianne Saliba, Anna Watson and Stephen Jones.
Warilla resident Richard Cannan raised concerns about elective surgery waiting times, after undergoing surgery at Wollongong Hospital to repair cartilage in his knees "12 months too late".
Mr Cannan said he later required a knee replacement because of the deterioration that occurred while he was on the waiting list.
When his wife needed eye surgery, her surgeon said she would wait six times as long for the procedure in Wollongong than in Sydney, Mr Cannan said.
"[The surgeon said] it takes 18 months in Wollongong, but if you want to go to Sydney he will personally operate within three months."
State Labor MP Anna Watson said the story was an example of the region's hospital patients being treated like "second class citizens" and said she would agitate for greater health spending, but she added "health is something that's not going to be solved easily".
Lake Illawarra mum Jan Whitton attended to lobby for more resources for people with eating disorders, including her daughter Chloe Swinfield.
Another questioner asked Throsby MP Stephen Jones where he stood on euthanasia.
Mr Jones said he had some concerns about people "having their hand forced".
"There will be a good community debate over it in the next few years," he predicted.
Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba was questioned over rates increases and the concentration of spending commitments in developing parts of the city at the expense of established suburbs "that have made this city what it is today".