The Illawarra and South Coast are in a "sweet spot" to get a better deal from state and federal governments.
Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and Shoalhaven councils have joined forces to pursue a City Deal for the Illawarra and Shoalhaven region.
A City Deal sees three levels of government - local, state and federal - working together to ensure investment, planning and governance decisions that will speed up growth and job creation.
The councils have been working with RDA Illawarra for three years to get the policy framework to the prospectus stage - which was released on Friday.
RDA Illawarra has worked with the councils to fine-tune the prospectus to include 10 projects - from the Mt Ousley interchange to the development of the Albatross Aviation Technology Park - which it claims could create 12,550 new jobs and millions of dollars in investment.
RDA Illawarra CEO Debra Murphy said, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, now was the right time to pursue the deal.
With the recently released federal budget including a lot of big spending initiatives and the NSW government - which has already flagged infrastructure spending as a way to rejuvenate the economy after COVID-19 - due to hand down its own budget next month - she said the time could be right for the region to make a deal.
"We don't normally see that much money come out of the federal government," Ms Murphy said.
"What they need to do then is find smart ways to actually spend that money. There's $1.2 billion in road projects - the state government is looking for projects that they will then hand down to local governments to do.
"So we're actually in what I think is a sweet spot between the federal budget just being handed down with a heap of money in it and the state budget coming on the 17th of November."
Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba said the councils realised that a project didn't need to be in its area to provide a benefit.
"This is about councils being co-operative and getting really good outcomes," Cr Saliba said.
"We recognise if Mt Ousley is upgraded it would benefit the people of Shellharbour and beyond. We recognise that if there's employment opportunities provided in our region, our community gets the benefit of that as well."
She also felt the city deal allowed state and federal governments to connect with them as a region, rather than four separate councils.
Kiama Mayor Mark Honey felt joining the local government areas together put the region on par with other major areas like Newcastle.
And it also gave Kiama a bit of strength.
"For a small council like Kiama, if we wanted something done from the state government they could say 'we're not going to spend the money on Kiama'," Cr Honey said.
"But as a region we come up and say we want this ... we've got the scale we need."
Wollongong is the biggest LGA of the four, though Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said there was "synergy" between the councils with people working in one but living in another.
He also pointed out this prospectus was what other levels of government had been asking for.
"The federal government and state government often criticise us - it's been a common theme since I've been Lord Mayor - that we need to come up with a set of priorities," he said.
"Well, we've come to the party. This document is a document that's been sought by the federal and state governments. We've identified where we want them to spend the money."
Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley said being part of the group of four meant more focus could be directed to that area's needs.
"We're excited about being part of the deal that could bring funding and jobs forward for the Shoalhaven," she said.
"If we were left on our own to try and complete on our own we may not be able to rise above the greater projects from elsewhere in the region."
It will take several months for state and federal governments to make a decision on the City Deal.
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