Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director, Chris Lamont, said there are a number of projects across the Illawarra that could be funded with revenue collected from proceeds from the lease of poles and wires. While one third of funds collected are earmarked for regions, the definition of ‘regional’ and identification of priorities requires urgent attention.
The Chamber is concerned the gap between the two-speed economy of NSW – Sydney vs Regional is growing and that an investment in major projects in regional centres, such as the Illawarra can help address this concern and assist with the provision of essential infrastructure.
“Proceeds from asset recycling could be put to great use across the Illawarra providing multi-generational assets and infrastructure. Importantly, these assets would also provide significant benefits to greater Sydney. Investing in major initiatives that improve infrastructure connectivity, health and education in regions reduces the congestion and pressures on Sydney,” said Chris Lamont.
Improving connectivity with the first and third largest economies in Australia (Sydney and Western Sydney) will unlock productivity gains, increase job opportunities, help address skill shortages and leverage the competitive advantages of both urban and regional centres.
“Regional centres, like the Illawarra, face a real infrastructure deficit that is holding back economic development for the region and NSW. This deficit is most noticeably associated with transport connections between the Illawarra, Western and Greater Sydney,” said Chris Lamont.
Ahead of the NSW State Budget, the Chamber has again highlighted the capacity of Regional Economic Centres in generating improved employment outcomes, reduce cost of living pressures and boost productivity.
“Regional Economic Centres such as the Illawarra should be prioritised for this spend given the substantial and immediate benefits that flow for NSW, the community and business from this investment,” said Chris Lamont.