Investing in local health services and preparing for the future
The centrepiece of NSW Labor’s plan is a $22 million investment to improve patient treatment at Wollongong Hospital with a $7.85 million investment enabling the purchase of a new CT scanner and MRI machine.
This new equipment will enhance the flow of patients treated in Wollongong Hospital’s Emergency Department, which currently has the longest wait times than almost anywhere else in New South Wales.
A further $2 million will be invested to improve radiation treatment services for cancer patients. This technology will improve the speed with which targeted cancer treatment plans can be developed and help decisions by clinicians with their patients on the effectiveness of radiation treatment.
NSW Labor will also commence the work needed to prepare Wollongong Hospital for the future – a critical task not undertaken by the Perrottet Government.
NSW Labor will commit $12 million to the future redevelopment of Wollongong Hospital to develop the detailed planning and design work necessary to assess its health services and infrastructure needs to address the substantial population growth challenges the hospital has been facing.
NSW Labor has also announced that Bulli Hospital’s Urgent Care Clinic will be extended to 7-days a week, as well as supporting building a new Warrawong Community Health Facility, new ambulance station at Fairy Meadow, and new Shellharbour Hospital at Dunmore.
$10 million Illawarra Rail Resilience Plan
NSW Labor will invest $10 million to develop an Illawarra Rail Resilience Plan for the South Coast Line following the closure of passenger and freight services at multiple locations during extreme weather events in 2022 and early this year.
East coast storm weather and rainfall has knocked out the South Coast Line several times due to landslips on the track and flooding.
Commuters have been forced to rely on buses between Waterfall and Thirroul during these times, as crews staged temporary repairs to get trains back on track as quickly as possible.
During these occasions passenger services have run to an enhanced weekend timetable where buses have replaced train services in both directions – the latest incident was on 12 February 2023.
Freight transport has also been heavily affected by the rail line closures as supply chains have been disrupted forcing many businesses to resort to road transport so goods could keep moving in and out of the region.
The Illawarra Rail Resilience Plan would examine all infrastructure along the South Coast Line and determine options to improve, upgrade, and rebuild sections of the line to enhance the resilience of connections with Port Kembla, Southwestern Sydney, and the South Coast.
$10 million for M1 Motorway Dapto on/off ramps
NSW Labor will invest $10 million to progress the detailed planning, design and early works to construct new on/off ramps so Dapto residents can more easily access the M1 Motorway to travel south.
Despite a preliminary investigation by Transport for NSW in 2015, work has not been completed that would get these important links underway.
These delays just mean the growing suburbs of Dapto and West Dapto are forced to travel along the Princes Highway through the Dapto CBD adding to significant peak traffic congestion, impacting on local small businesses.
Earlier this week, NSW Labor announced a Minns Labor Government will establish TAFE Domestic Manufacturing Centres of Excellence to help rebuild TAFE and our state’s domestic manufacturing capacity and capabilities, as well as boosting skills, apprentices, and creating new jobs in the Illawarra.
NSW Labor will also immediately stop the NSW Liberals’ planned privatisation of 8.2 hectares of public land along King Street at Warrawong and turn it into one of the iconic public spaces in the Illawarra.
Chris Minns, NSW Labor Leader said:
“The Illawarra is an important region and has been largely neglected by the Liberals.
“A Government that I lead will invest in the rail, roads and hospitals because that is what is needed.
Jo Haylen, NSW Shadow Minister for Transport said:
“Passengers in the Illawarra and the South Coast have had a gutful of the Liberals’ neglect of the region’s old rail infrastructure. They’re sick of the congestion and they’re sick of the whole line shutting down when the weather’s bad.”
“The passenger and freight lines have been tangled up in the Illawarra for more than a century. Labor will begin the work to separate them by delivering an initial review of the whole Illawarra Rail Network, followed by a more detailed business case.”
“This is a growing region. The people of the Illawarra and South Coast deserve a modern rail connection to Sydney. It’s time to begin upgrading this century old infrastructure so they can have better train services and a more resilient train network.”
Ryan Park, NSW Shadow Minister for the Illawarra and South Coast said:
“Our local hospitals have been under enormous strain for many years.
“The hospital staff do their very best under difficult and challenging circumstances, but the reality is, additional investment into the hospital is long overdue.
“This announcement is on top of our commitment to introduce safe staffing levels into Wollongong Hospital.
“The Illawarra has a large commuter population, and the Illawarra Rail Resilience Plan will look at all options available and ensure we have an improved commuter corridor.
Paul Scully, Member for Wollongong said:
“Wollongong Hospital has been under pressure for years with the growing demands on services largely being ignored by the Perrottet Government.
“NSW Labor will invest in our region by improving services now with new equipment at Wollongong Hospital and the Centre of Excellence in Domestic Manufacturing, while planning for our future – a commitment to the region that won’t be matched by the NSW Liberals.”
Anna Watson, Member for Shellharbour said:
“Residents of Dapto can see the M1, they can certainly hear the traffic on the M1, but they have been denied full access to this Motorway due to the actions of this Liberal Government.
“When the Liberal Government built the Albion Park Rail bypass, they deliberately excluded residents of Dapto from easily accessing the bypass, by choosing not to build critical entry and exit points at Dapto and Yallah. As it currently stands, motorists travelling from Dapto towards Kiama must use the Old Princes Highway adding significant time to their journeys and causing traffic congestion on local roads.
“That is why a NSW Labor Government will commit $10 million towards additional connections to the M1 Princes Motorway at Dapto.
Maryanne Stuart, Labor Candidate for Heathcote said:
“The top issues that residents in the northern Illawarra suburbs raise with me is health and transport.
“I am proud that Labor has already committed to ensuring Bulli Hospital Urgent Care Centre is operational seven days a week. This announcement for Wollongong is going to ensure we are improving access for all residents to get the health care they need.
“There is a desperate need to look at our rail network and maximise the corridor so that we have improved travel times for commuters who spend hours every week on a train going to and from work.