The Illawarra Business Chamber has called on Wollongong City Council to deliver an Entertainment Precinct Masterplan and establish a Major Projects Unit in its submission to Council’s draft Economic Development Strategy, as part of a consultation process that came to a close this morning.

“Council should be commended for its honest assessment of the City’s economic challenges; mainly a jobs deficit and a lack of both A-grade commercial real estate and available industrial employment lands,” said Adam Zarth, Executive Director of the Illawarra Business Chamber.
“In response, Council is committing itself to an interventionist approach to economic development which includes setting a jobs target of 10,500 new jobs and targeting high-paying sectors that offer permanent full-time roles.”
“Councils play a vital role in attracting businesses to the region and ensuring that investment is not lost through overzealous regulation and burdensome approval processes.”
“Therefore we have recommended that Council establish a Major Projects Unit to expedite Development Applications for significant commercial and industrial developments and implement processing times of less than 6 months.”
“We have also proposed that Council lead the development of an Entertainment Precinct Masterplan to examine redevelopment opportunities for the area comprising the Wollongong Entertainment Centre, WIN Stadium, Illawarra Performing Arts Centre and broad surrounds.”
“Council should consider an all-encompassing public-private partnership, which could deliver a modern convention centre and conferencing facility, a much-needed hotel and an appropriate mix of residential and commercial developments as part of an integrated precinct that incorporates the existing entertainment assets.”
“Game-changing infrastructure is a key measure that Council has identified to enable Wollongong to meet its economic potential, and I am very pleased that the projects identified align entirely with those championed by the Illawarra Business Chamber, based on the independent research we have commissioned.”
“I look forward to working closely with Council in advancing the economic cause of Wollongong and the broader region, and this strategy gives us a strong blueprint to work to.” said Mr Zarth.
Media Contact: James Newton (0417 135 858)
Source: IBC Submission – Draft Economic Development Strategy 2019-2029

Summary of recommendations:

The IBC recommends that Wollongong City Council:
  • Recommendation 1 Adopt the draft Economic Development Strategy 2019-2020, with consideration of the recommendations contained in this submission.
  • Recommendation 2 Introduce a dedicated Major Projects Unit within Council and expedited processing times (<6 months) for significant commercial Development Applications.
  • Recommendation 3 Undertake necessary efforts to connect under-developed employment lands to sewerage, water and power and publicise these efforts to attract commercial and industrial property development.
  • Recommendation 4 Lead an Entertainment Precinct Masterplan that incorporates the broadest zone available and examines opportunities to be derived through a public-private partnership.
  • Recommendation 5 Consider revisions to the Local Environment Plan, or other planning measures, to protect the commercial core from increased residential encroachment.
  • Recommendation 6 Create greater opportunities for local businesses by reviewing Council’s procurement policy with a view to implementing a target for local procurement.
  • Recommendation 7 Consider the impact of salary, diversity of opportunity and career progression on employees’ decisions to work locally, and the impacts on the assumed talent pool.
  • Recommendation 8 Consider opportunities to leverage the expected growth of the Health Care and Social Assistance sector.
  • Recommendation 9 Continue strong advocacy in support of key infrastructure priorities and ensure they are ‘shovel-ready’ at a local planning level.
Recommendation 10 Support measures to realise the potential of Port Kembla in the short-to-medium term, such as projects like the LNG terminal and other expanded uses.