The NSW government needs to come up with a better definition for Wollongong, local MP Paul Scully has told the Premier.
In a letter to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Mr Scully said the current funding definitions of "regional" and "metropolitan" just didn't work for Wollongong.
Classing the city as metropolitan meant trying to compete against Sydney and western Sydney - and losing, Mr Scully wrote
While a regional classification might mean more wins for the city, it would come at the expense of smaller towns.
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"It is time therefore that the government considered developing a third definition and third funding category for funding programs accounting for areas like the Wollongong local government area so we can fairly apply for and equitably share in funding for local products," Mr Scully wrote.
As you would appreciate for the third-largest city in NSW to be consistently left out is unfair.Paul Scully in a letter to Premier Gladys Berejiklian
"As you would appreciate for the third-largest city in NSW to be consistently left out is unfair, and fails to meet your own self-imposed policy and funding objective to spread the benefits of the government to all parts of NSW."
The letter comes after Mr Scully lodged questions on notice with no fewer that eight ministers - and Ms Berejiklian - to enquire how their department classified the Illawarra.
In what Mr Scully described as "a co-ordinated response" all ministers sent back the same answer.
"The government considers individual community needs and characteristics as they relate to specific programs or projects," the government response read in part.
It's a response that Mr Scully said gave community groups "no clearer understanding or clarification" as to whether they are eligible to apply for funding under various programs.
It was why there needed to be a third definition, he said.
"I have previously offered to meet with you and departmental representatives to further discuss this important matter," Mr Scully wrote.
"My attempts have not been successful. I would hope that this may change."
The Mercury approached Ms Berejiklian's office for comment but was told the Premier had not received the letter.