Ryan Park will be both Treasurer and Minister for the Illawarra in a Labor government

meet and greet: Labor leader Luke Foley and Wollongong candidate Paul Scully talk with UOW Professor Chris Cook at Monday's community cabinet. Picture: Robert Peet

meet and greet: Labor leader Luke Foley and Wollongong candidate Paul Scully talk with UOW Professor Chris Cook at Monday's community cabinet. Picture: Robert Peet

Keira MP Ryan Park will hold the purse-strings of the state while also keeping his Illawarra ministerial job, Labor leader Luke Foley said on Monday.

Mr Foley and his shadow cabinet were in Wollongong on Monday to hold a community forum involving around 70 individuals and groups.

It was the latest in a series of visits by Mr Foley ahead of the upcoming by-election in the seat of Wollongong.

The Labor leader said the visits proved that his party cared about the Illawarra, as did the double role Mr Park would hold should they win the next state election.

“The Illawarra will always be important to us,” Mr Foley said.

“I’m very proud that the next Labor government of NSW will see a Treasurer of NSW who’s from Wollongong. Ryan Park will serve as both treasurer of the state and Minister for the Illawarra.

“What kind of message does that send about Labor’s commitment to this region? The Illawarra and its people matter to us.”

Paul Scully, the Labor candidate for Wollongong, will be running against lord mayor Gordon Bradbery who almost took the seat from Noreen Hay in  2011.

Five years later Cr Bradbery has a much higher profile but the only thing Mr Foley would say about the independent was that “I respect him”.

He also said the high number of visits to the region by a party leader was not a sign the party was concerned it could lose the seat.

“What you can take it as a sign of is Labor’s commitment to Wollongong and the Illawarra,” he said.

“This region’s important to us, it’s not important to Mr Baird and the current state government. The people of Wollongong will only get a fair go when there’s a state Labor government that cares about this region.”

Mr Foley appeared to dismiss the idea that the party had done polling to gauge the party’s form ahead of the by-election.

“The best polling I can do is talk to the local community,” he said.

“That for me is a more reliable barometer of what the community thinks and feels than some opinion poll.”

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