Illawarra's never been better off, says Ward

Kiama MP Gareth Ward has hit out at Labor suggestions that the NSW Liberal Government has failed the Illawarra.

He said the region had "never been better off ".

"We've never seen the sorts of investments in our roads, our schools and in our healthcare system than what we've seen in the last three years - the Illawarra has never been better off," Mr Ward said on Sunday.

"Look at the cranes and construction work going on, funded by the NSW state government, the upgrades to our railway stations at Dapto, Albion Park, Gerringong and the new train station at Shellharbour.

"People are smart enough to have a look around and see what's happening."

Mr Ward listed road upgrades at Gerringong and Berry, the 186 additional nurses in Illawarra hospitals and additional police officers on the streets among the region's gains.

The fight to get a PET scanner at Wollongong Hospital and to keep the aeromedical services were also significant wins, he said.

The statements come after Labor Member for Keira Ryan Park suggested the state government has failed to follow through on commitments to the region, including a ban on coal seam gas mining in water catchment areas.

He said the government was "moving away" from a pre-election commitment to place 60 literacy and numeracy teachers in Illawarra schools.

"It's very disappointing because we all know that literacy and numeracy are perhaps the most important fundamental skills that children learn," Mr Park said.

"Those teachers won't be in schools in place in time to meet that election commitment."

Train timetables were another area in which the government had failed, Mr Park said, citing the hundreds of complaints he received each week as proof.

"My petition to try and urge the government to change this is now up to 5000 signatures - this is something that has really affected people in an area that is home to one of the largest commuter populations in the state," he said.

Mr Ward labelled Labor's complaints about the government's stance on coal seam gas mining in catchment areas as hypocritical, noting all of the licences were issued by the former Labor government.

It was also his understanding that the 60 literacy and numeracy teachers would be placed by 2015, as promised.

Friday marked a year until the next state election.

Liberal Kiama MP Gareth Ward and Labor Keira MP Ryan Park.

Liberal Kiama MP Gareth Ward and Labor Keira MP Ryan Park.


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