The Illawarra Business Chamber today expressed concern that Infrastructure Australia’s 2020 Infrastructure Priority List reflects a lack of near-term strategic thinking by both levels of government around the economic and social requirements of the Illawarra.
“While being on the List doesn’t guarantee funding for these priorities, it does make it more likely that government will find resources for them in the future,” said Adam Zarth, Executive Director of the Illawarra Business Chamber.
“As expected, the List contains additional detail and elevates consideration of the Nowra Bridge and Princes Highway upgrades to the Victorian border, which is good news for businesses and residents in the Shoalhaven and South Coast.”
“The List includes future freight rail access to Port Kembla, minor upgrades to Picton Road, and road and rail connectivity to Greater Sydney, but there are no timelines given despite our research indicating that Illawarra road and rail bottlenecks will cost the economy $640 million per annum by 2031.”
“Illawarra First has invested significantly in an evidence base to inform infrastructure considerations by government, specifically the pressing road and rail infrastructure requirements of our region. Corresponding projects are on the drawing board but need to be fast-tracked.”
“Research we conducted with the NRMA found that Picton Road will reach capacity in 2025 and will require an upgrade to a four-lane divided highway. The South Coast Line will reach freight capacity around 2030, which is why the South West Illawarra Rail Link presents as the only viable solution, which would additionally enable residents in the Illawarra and Wollondilly to access employment in Greater Sydney.”
“The Australian and NSW Governments should be considering these fast approaching timelines and advancing planning and investment decisions accordingly.”