Editorial June 21 2017

It came as no surprise the 2017 NSW State budget did not include any surprises.

Road projects in region are taking shape and that is a good thing.

The day will be celebrated long and hard when the Albion Park Rail bypass comes to pass, but it’s a step closer.

Work on the upgrade of the Princes Highway from Berry to Bomaderry is expected to take place in the early part of next year and be completed by 2021.

South Coast Labor Council secretary Arthur Rorris was his straight-shooting self when he summed up the latest NSW Government budget for the region.

“It’s great to see some money finally being spent on our social and transport infrastructure in NSW,” Mr Rorris said.

“It’s just a shame we’re not going to see any of it in the Illawarra.

“Sometimes I think we live in a different country here.

“We see announcements about this great state of NSW that seem to stop at Waterfall and start again at the Kiama bends.”

Indeed, history shows the Illawarra has long been neglected by all forms of government and it is high time that changed.

It is time to get the Illawarra on track.

The Illawarra Business Chamber is calling for a greater vision of the region to include rail.

It is calling for “a substantial commitment and greater co-operation between the NSW and Australian Government to improve transport connectivity between the Illawarra and Australia’s first and third largest economies in Australia (Sydney and Western Sydney)”.

“There is an opportunity following the receipt of funds from the lease of polls and wires to fund a once in a generation improvement to transport connectivity and this must include rail,”  Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director Chris Lamont said.

“The Australian Government has also put funding on the table to assist state governments improve rail connectivity for both freight and passengers.”

In terms of the political landscape, the stars are aligning for this region to make a difference.

Over coming weeks and months we will continue to put the case that local, state and the federal governments need to come together.

It is high time they recognised a vision for rail in this region.