Who will fund $200m roads shortfall?

A special state government levy designed to bankroll major roadworks at West Dapto, Calderwood and Tallawarra will raise only half the money required to complete the projects, leaving an Illawarra industry group questioning who will fund the shortfall.

NSW Planning has identified 15 key road upgrades that would be needed to support residential growth west of Lake Illawarra during the next 40 years and has implemented a special one-off developer payment of $6000 per lot to help fund their construction.

However, department figures reveal the levy - called a special infrastructure contribution - will cover only $193.8 million of the estimated $395 million needed to complete the projects.

The question of who will fund the $201 million shortfall will be put to Finance Minister and Minister for the Illawarra, Greg Pearce, at an industry lunch in Wollongong today, hosted by the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) southern chapter.

UDIA deputy chairman Peter Moy yesterday said a prolonged construction life on the road projects could stifle housing development in the region.

He said he wanted to work with the government to identify funding sources to meet the infrastructure funding shortfall.

"I'm keen to hear what he [Mr Pearce] has to say about how we can work with the government to get more infrastructure funding into the Illawarra," he said.

"For us it's about Mr Pearce being able to give confidence to current developers that are putting their money into this region and ones who might be thinking about it in the future."

A spokeswoman for Mr Pearce's office said the minister's address this afternoon would outline the government's commitment to housing and new road projects in the Illawarra.

UDIA has also asked Mr Pearce to give a commitment that the Port Kembla port would remain a "regional asset" once it is leased.

Mr Moy said while UDIA would not take a position on whether the port should or should not be leased, the group strongly believed all funds acquired from a lease should be funnelled into the Illawarra.

"It's a state-owned port but we're the ones who have lived and breathed it and put up with its challenges including road and rail congestion," he said.

"We should get the financial benefits that flow from any lease."

Finance Minister and Minister for the Illawarra Greg Pearce.

Finance Minister and Minister for the Illawarra Greg Pearce.


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