Illawarra's transport plan delay

Shellharbour MP Anna Watson claims the NSW government has broken a promise to release the Illawarra's regional transport plan by the end of of 2013.

In Parliament on November 20, Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian told Ms Watson that "the Illawarra regional transport plan will be released by the end of 2013".

But Ms Berejiklian said yesterday that the plan would not be released until "early in 2014" to ensure it was up to date.

The regional transport plans arise out of the government's Long Term Transport Master Plan, released in December last year.

The master plan aimed to develop an integrated transport strategy for the next 20 years. Part of that plan was to develop individual transport plans for 10 regions across NSW, which includes the Illawarra.

The plans aim to provide a more detailed analysis of local transport needs and priorities of each region.

The master plan identified some challenges for the Illawarra, including a limited bus network, a high dependency on cars and freight competing with general traffic on the roads.

Ms Watson initially suggested the government had planned to release the plan late this month to "hide behind Santa Claus".

However, after the government released plans for five regions earlier this week, Ms Watson said the government "had failed to deliver" on its promise.

Even if the plan is released before Wednesday, Mrs Watson isn't expecting it to address the region's needs.

"I'm not expecting much of real value to be in this plan, especially as the minister has already ruled out any improvements to public transport like establishing a Shellharbour shuttle bus," Ms Watson said.

Ms Berejiklian said the region's plan was being finalised.

"The slight delay is to ensure the plan reflects and prioritises planning related to $100 million in funding recently allocated as part of the Illawarra Infrastructure Fund for projects such as the West Dapto access road," Ms Berejiklian said.

She also responded to Ms Watson's criticism of a plan she was yet to see.

"It beggars belief Labor would be whingeing about this given the Illawarra waited 16 years for a comprehensive transport plan from them."

She said unlike Labor, which had ignored the Illawarra when it was in power, the government had put together a comprehensive plan developed with direct community consultation.

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