Key driver for Illawarra growth is attitude

KPMG Wollongong partner Peter Fitzgerald called for a change in attitude last week to help the Illawarra region achieve all it could economically.

But he said that required the business community and politicians not just to talk about what needed to change but to actually make it happen.

Speaking at a clients and business partners function, Mr Fitzgerald said more could be done to untap greater economic potential.

"A significant thing I want to see is a change in attitude among the business community ... where there is a real commitment to actually try and take our region out of where we are to a better place," he said.

"Clearly, there is a need for a lot of transitioning. Some of that has started but it is far from finished.

"Our reliance on manufacturing will necessarily decline, compared to how it has been previously, and other sectors will pick that up.

"The university has been a big driver of that and that will continue."

But Mr Fitzgerald said there were a number of people in the business community who recognised the need for those drivers, and others to be more about doing.

"So there is quite a discussion about an Illawarra Development Corporation which is a doing body and not a talking body," he said.

"Personally, I think if we were able to get the politicians and others ... to help make that happen, then that would be a huge boost for us."

Mr Fitzgerald said in his view the region was quite unique and that was both a positive and a weakness.

"There are very few areas I am aware of that have manufacturing, mining, retail, tourism and health, education and construction as significant parts of their economy."

He said Wollongong was past the fallout from the ICAC inquiry and BlueScope's downsizing.

It had not only survived but was poised for economic growth, he said.

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