Editorial October 17 2016

Premier Mike Baird has seldom been seen in the city of Wollongong – the third largest city in the state of New South Wales.

Since Mr Baird became Premier he has not visited the city on serious business. 

He’s certainly been to other parts of the Illawarra region but the safely held city seat of Wollongong has probably not been enticing enough to honour with his presence.

This masthead has been intensely critical of Premier Baird this year and his seemingly Sydney-centric ways.

It has not been the greatest of years for the Premier or his government.

You could even describe it as his annus horribilis.

Once regarded as “Teflon Mike”, his personal rating has taken a massive hit this year – most recently with an embarrassing back down on the banning of the greyhound industry.

Mr Baird is here to speak to the annual Local Government NSW conference at the WEC.

He will be speaking to an audience on Monday of hundreds of representatives from local councils, many of whom he has off-sided with the council merger process.

Welcome to Wollongong Premier.

We thought while the Premier was in town it was important to remind him of what he could do to assist this city and the region.

One of the things he could do to engage with this city will become obvious to him if he looks around while delivering his address at the WEC on Monday afternoon.

There has been a strong push for the redevelopment of the WEC into a fully fledged conference centre something the region has been calling for action on for some time.

The Labor Opposition has already committed $50 million to the project as part of the Wollongong byelection.

It would be nice if the NSW Government found a way to match that commitment – even though the Liberals are unlikely to run a candidate in the election.

It’s a simple, straight-forward plan which would, without doubt, add to regional growth.

The Illawarra Mercury has also been campaigning hard for a “fairer deal, for Australian steel’’.

We have been calling for more decisive action from the Baird Government for leveling the playing field for Australian steel for some time now.

As yet nothing, but hopefully the Baird Government can come to the party soon. 

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