Eddy De Gabriele will retain his role as head of a group that aims to act as a "neutral broker" to influence the long-term growth and development of the Illawarra.
The Ministerial reappointment of Mr De Gabriele as chair of Regional Development Australia Illawarra will result in 20 years of community service to the region.
"I am pleased to announce the reappointment of Eddy De Gabriele to June 30, 2025," Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories Nola Marino said.
The Shellharbour resident began his role as chair of RDA Illawarra in 2005.
RDA Illawarra aims to grow a strong and confident regional economy.
The group is an independent organisation with a board of 14 local leaders.
They are part of a national network of 55 RDAs, largely funded by the federal government.
"Eddy has provided strong leadership for RDA Illawarra during his time as chair, having successfully steered the board through the challenges of 2020 and, along with the board members and staff, provided great support for the region's business community and future economic development," Ms Marino said.
"Eddy will lead RDA Illawarra under a refreshed Charter that focuses on driving investment and local procurement opportunities and through this, creating jobs and economic growth for the region."
Mr De Gabriele said the news was a "big surprise - I wasn't expecting it to go right through until 2025".
"I think it says volumes for the RDA Illawarra, particularly the outcomes that we've been able to achieve," he said. "The goal for 2021 is to continue to roll out the projects within the City Deal proposal."
City Deals are a partnership between the three levels of government and the community, to work towards a shared vision for productive and liveable cities.
Mr De Gabriele said he was looking forward to continuing to work with Ms Marino, alongside Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and Federal MPs to deliver under the federal government's Charter.
"The RDA Illawarra board and team have been proud to develop the Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal initiative over the last few years, alongside local government, ISJO and peak bodies such as the Property Council, Illawarra Business Chamber and Urban Development Institute of Australia," he said.
"Our sustained and collaborative advocacy on the City Deal has already achieved funding for eight per cent of proposed projects, and I am proud of our ability to collaborate as a neutral broker to influence the long-term growth and development of the Illawarra region."
City Deal-related projects that RDA Illawarra has helped lobby for that have received funding include $4.2 million for the off-ramp access to the M1 extension via Tripoli Way at Albion Park; $44 million for the Picton Road duplication project; and $21 million for the Mount Ousley interchange.
The lack of 'ego' crucial to success
Eddy De Gabriele has outlined some of RDA Illawarra's other key achievements.
The Leadership Illawarra program
This is a two-year experiential learning program for emerging leaders.
"We're always pushing for buildings, roads, footpaths, bike tracks, parks," he said.
"We went to the government and said, 'what about building people infrastructure, the next generation of community leaders?"
Maldon to Dombarton Railway
"With the rollout led by the Illawarra Business Chamber, we've been able to keep that project smouldering, to the point where it's now called the South West Illawarra Rail Link," Mr De Gabriele said.
"This will come to fruition, because the Western Sydney link is really important to us... All of a sudden you're linking the Western Sydney airport to the port of Port Kembla."
"The success of RDA is based on our credibility, and ability to collaborate without ego," he said. "We did this by making sure the community stakeholders were all on the same page."
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