Illawarra residents have say on future

More than 100 residents made a submission to the Illawarra Over the Next 20 Years discussion paper, covering a wide range of issues.

The paper looked at a range of issues, including population growth, housing, infrastructure and employment.

The deadline for submissions was November 11 and officials from the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure have been combing through them as they prepare the draft Illawarra growth plan.

Department of Planning and Infrastructure southern region general manager Brett Whitworth said the draft plan should be on public exhibition by April-May next year.

Mr Whitworth said the level of submission received was high.

"We've received over 100 submissions and a lot of those are really good," Mr Whitworth said. "You tend to see a lot of these things where people make the same sort of submission, but we've had more than a hundred very thoughtful submissions, so it's people taking the time to think about it."

He added that there was no single striking issue that arose from the public submissions which would help guide the direction of the draft growth plan.

"They give us a pretty good solid base and they actually help us to identify things that people want us to investigate," he said.

"So you've had certain people say, we want to make sure that, if we're going to talk about greenfield development, that we also need to be talking about protection of land for agriculture.

"Or people are saying, if we're going to have urban infill development, these are the sorts of areas where we want to have it.

"I think looking around the Kiama areas, there were concerns about the extent of population growth that was being suggested. So the submissions will help us look into that and say well these are the different implications of low, medium and high growth population scenarios - if we do something different here are the implications of that."

Mr Whitworth said, once adopted the Illawarra's growth plan will be used to guide councils in their zoning and infrastructure plans and the way the NSW government allocates its spending on infrastructure as well as impacting on other areas.

"It's not necessarily set in stone because all good strategic plans need to regularly be reviewed," he said. "But what it does is give everyone enough of a strategic direction."

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