Wollongong Council could take the lead in setting up a taskforce to navigate the region's economy out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Deputy Lord Mayor Tania Brown has put forward a motion calling on council to create a post-COVID peak bodies taskforce.
The body would include councillors and council executives as well as representatives from groups like the Illawarra Business Chamber, Destination Wollongong, Property Council and Regional Development Australia (Illawarra).
Cr Brown said the taskforce would work to help the region's economy recover from COVID-19.
"I know personally working at the university there's job cuts, there are other companies in town that have had to lay people off," she said.
"So I started to think about once we get through this period, the vaccine comes into place - what do we need to be saying to government to convince them that we need additional investment?"
The taskforce would take the same approach as the proposed Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal, which saw the region's four councils unite to decide on a single set of priorities to take to state and federal governments.
"It's to build that cohesive argument, build that evidence base so we have it all on a page and as a region we go to government and say this is what we see as our priorities," she said.
"I think that just starts to cut through.
"Over the years we have had it said to us we don't sing from the same song sheet. Through the City Deal collaborative we showed that as a region we can speak with one voice - and when we do government listens."
Cr Brown also said it would not help matters to get caught up in the debate of what classification the government puts on the Illawarra.
"Too often we go through the whole, 'am I rural? Am I regional?', and now we're Greater Sydney," she said.
"At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what you call us as long as we know where the buckets of money are that we can apply for.
"Then it's on us to build the evidence case to say to government 'this is what we need'."
Cr Brown put forward a few ideas of what the region needed - extending government assistance to troubled industries and relocating public sector jobs to the Illawarra.
"I think as a region we know tourism, hospitality and the arts have been heavily impacted - perhaps it's calling for an extension of JobKeeper in those key areas," she said.
"I've moved previously calling for the decentralisation of government jobs. Again it's having that one voice that goes to government - together we can say we know there's 50,000sqm of A-grade office space in the pipeline, what do you need from us to get you over the line?"