On 23 October, the NSW Government released the draft Future Transport 2056 Strategy with feedback due on 3 December. The strategy includes services to regional NSW and Infrastructure Plans aimed at renewing regional connectivity.
The Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director, Chris Lamont, said it is important key infrastructure priorities for the Illawarra be committed to and funded in the short to medium term and not be subject to endless hypothetical planning assessments. Improved transport connectivity is crucial for the region’s economic prosperity and employment opportunities, particularly youth employment, and liveability.
“Business, investment and tourist opportunities are being lost due to existing congestion pressures and a lack of affordable and efficient public transport links,” said Chris Lamont.
The NSW Government has committed to the following projects within the next 10 years and these are supported by the Chamber:
- Princes Motorway interchange at the base of Mount Ousley
- Princes Motorway upgrade – Bulli Tops to Picton Road Intersection
- Albion Park Rail bypass
- Berry to Bomaderry upgrade
- Burrill Lake Bridge replacement
- New Nowra Bridge over the Shoalhaven River
In its submission to the NSW Government, the Chamber has recommended:
- Duplication of Picton Road should commence within the next five years
- Comprehensive studies, within the next five years, into the feasibility of the connection between Mount Ousley and the Picton Road and the Mount Kembla pass route earlier than the 10-20 year timeframe proposed in the 2056 Strategy
- Investment in park and ride facilities for both rail and bus transport connecting the region to Greater Sydney with priority given to Wollongong and Shellharbour in the short-term
- Construction of the South West Illawarra Rail Link (SWIRL) at an estimated $1.7 billion as a dual freight/passenger rail line within the next 10 years
- Investment within the next 10 years to upgrade the road network supporting residential and development growth in Albion Park and West Dapto
- An assessment of the value of constructing new crossing of the escarpment prior to the construction of the M9 Outer Orbital currently envisaged in the 20+ year period.
“The NSW Government should also give further consideration to aligning transport investment in NSW to the forecasted commitments of the Australian Government to ensure both alignment and a fair share of funding for the NSW and the Illawarra. Initiatives such as the Australian Government’s $10 billion National Rail Program and the substantial investment at Badgerys Creek are current examples,” said Chris Lamont.
A copy of the Chamber’s submission can be found on the IBC website.