According to Gareth Ward, the Illawarra is a regional area – well, some of it at least.
The issue of whether or not the government considered the Illawarra a regional area flared up over allocation of the $4.1 billion from the sale of Snowy Hydro to the federal government.
The state government said the money would be spent on infrastructure in regional areas – by which it did not mean Wollongong.
Or Shellharbour – at least not yet.
But parts of the Illlawarra are regional, said the Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra Mr Ward.
“The NSW Government does consider the Illawarra a region,” Mr Ward said.
“However, for the purposes of this fund, Kiama and Shoalhaven are eligible.
“I have made representations to the Deputy Premier to include Shellharbour in this fund.”
Mr Ward said that while the Illawarra was a region, not all of its Local Government Areas were regional.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made comments that suggested he felt the Illawarra was a regional area, but Mr Ward said that did not contradict the state government’s position.
“The Illawarra-Shoalhaven is a region which comprises four Local Government Areas,” he said.
“Both the (NSW) government and Labor opposition have excluded Wollongong and Newcastle LGAs from the definition of ‘regional’ – however, the NSW government has included Kiama and Shoalhaven in the definition of what is regional.”
Mr Ward added that the three Labor seats in the Illawarra were receiving more funds from the Liberals than they ever did under a Labor government.