Blueprint for Illawarra on jobs, infrastructure

THE draft Illawarra regional growth and infrastructure plan aims to expand the region’s economy to create new jobs in the wake of cuts at local coal mines.

Lou Caruana

The draft plan, “Your future Illawarra”, would form the blueprint for future planning for the region and had been developed after extensive consultation with the Illawarra community, New South Wales Planning Minister Pru Goward said e said.

“The Illawarra is a fantastic place to live and work, study, raise a family or retire, but we need to prepare now to ensure an even more prosperous and vibrant future,” Goward said.

“By 2031, an additional 65,000 people are expected to call the Illawarra home which means the region will need 45,000 new homes and 32,150 new jobs.

“While activity like the on-going development of Port Kembla is a vote of confidence in the Illawarra, the region has an above-average youth unemployment rate.

“We heard the message from our consultation with the community that you want more local jobs, and not have to travel three hours on a train to a job in Sydney each day.”

Both Illawarra Coal and Wollongong Coal have recently announced job cuts at their operations in the Illawarra.

The draft plan is the product of three months of consultation, which included more than 100 written submissions, including submissions from five local councils; information postcards delivered to more than 118,000 homes and businesses; and Facebook posts with a total reach of more than 8,000 people.

The main issues raised are reflected in the draft plan, with the community calling for a focus on local jobs, housing and infrastructure, according to Goward.

The department will continue to work with local councils, hold community forums, stakeholder workshops and issue a community survey to get feedback on the draft plan, she said.

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