Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully, told Parliament that the Government needed to address falling jobs growth, job security and wages in the Wollongong economy.
“In 2021 the ‘new normal’ for this Government must be supporting Wollongong rather than ignoring or excluding it”, he said.
Mr Scully said he was very concerned that Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) labour market figures released in January show that substantial jobs are being lost in the region due to the COVID recession, particularly among male workers.
“The trend in employed and unemployed persons alone is worrying but a longer term issue is highlighted by the fact that nearly 2500 men left the Illawarra’s labour force – a reduction of nearly 2 per cent for men”, he said.
Mr Scully told Parliament, “I am demanding the Government get on with the job of making investments in the region that we has been seeking for years.
“There are plenty to choose from – or better yet, do them all”, he said.
The projects outlined include:
- Awarding tenders to build the Unanderra Station and Towradgi Station lifts using local suppliers;
- Upgrading the Wollongong Entertainment Centre (WEC) to attract events, conferences and entertainment that will help to create more local jobs;
- Using locally produced, high quality steel at Port Kembla on government and renewable energy infrastructure;
- Infrastructure improvements to Wollongong Hospital;
- Replacing the ageing Port Kembla Hospital with a new purpose-built health facility at Warrawong;
- Reducing commuter travel times on the Wollongong-Sydney rail corridor and a rail connection between Wollongong and Sydney’s second airport at Badgerys Creek;
- A raft of small projects relating to the 2022 UCI World Road Cycling Championships to be held in Wollongong – the ‘bike city’ of the southern hemisphere and;
- Backing Port Kembla as a hydrogen hub.
Mr Scully said he was pleased the Government had adopted his idea to implement a “Work from Wollongong” strategy, which he proposed in May last year amid the COVID restrictions.
“…adopting my “Work from Wollongong” plan which will see NSW public servants spend less time commuting and more time in Wollongong and it’s a start.
“There are opportunities aplenty for this Government to support existing jobs, help create new jobs, and help to attract investment that will help set Wollongong up for a secure long term future.
“We have the capacity.
“We are ready to go”, Mr Scully told Parliament.