In a budget that is heroic in some of its assumptions and lacking in detail on many of its initiatives, Wollongong residents can at least be pleased that their voices have finally been heard when it comes to tackling the 72-step challenge that is the Unanderra Station.
Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully said, “This is the moment that so many people have been fighting for but few ever believed would happen.
“I said during the 2016 Wollongong by-election that I was determined to secure funding to upgrade this station and I have delivered”.
Mr Scully said that his efforts over the last four years have been strongly supported by local community campaigners, Rebecca Schmidt-Lachlan, Richard Kramer, community organisations, disability employers and the general public.
“Upon seeing the commitment for funding in the budget I called Bec and she was thrilled to finally hear that there will be progress.”
Mr Scully expressed concerns about the lack of detail around a number of budget initiatives and was disappointed that there was no timetable on when measures like the Government’s Out and About initiative would available in Wollongong small businesses.
He was also disappointed that despite there being some funding for minor works for the Wollongong Entertainment Centre, the possibility of a significant upgrade remains on the never-never.
Mr Scully said the budget included funding for smaller community projects, including the installation of a pontoon at Wollongong Harbour to improve safety access.
“I note the budget has some funding for the new Shellharbour Hospital, which was achieved after my Parliamentary colleagues, Ryan Park, Anna Watson and I, worked with the Government to negotiate this outcome.
“Similarly there is initial funding for improving the Picton Road – another example of Ryan Park and I working with the Illawarra Business Chamber to deliver this project”, Mr Scully said.
He said he was concerned a number of initiatives in the budget would be funded by continued privatisations, which were promised by the Government would not occur at the election in 2019, and cutting public sector wages, which would flow through to the private sector hindering the economic recovery.