NSW budget submission: Illawarra investment will unlock economic growth

The Illawarra Business Chamber has outlined opportunities for the NSW Government to unlock the potential of the region in the year ahead in its pre-budget submission released today.

The region’s peak business organisation has called on the NSW Government to increase its support for businesses in bushfire-affected regions, revise its commitments to key infrastructure projects in response to compelling evidence, and fund the social and community services sector in line with wage growth.

“The government’s ongoing response to the 2019-20 bushfires will be front-and-centre of this budget, and should continue to adjust to conditions on the ground,” said Adam Zarth, Executive Director of the Illawarra Business Chamber.

“Currently, grant payments are only available to businesses that have suffered property damage, who are in the vast minority. Many indirectly affected businesses do not wish to finance their recovery through low interest loans. There is an opportunity for financial support to be made available to indirectly impacted businesses and the budget should address this,” said Mr Zarth.

“Assistance can be made available to businesses whose income falls sufficiently below set levels, as it was in the NSW Government’s response to the Millennium Drought.”

The IBC is also pressing government to progress with planning for priority regional road and rail infrastructure, to support the concurrent growth of the Illawarra and South-Western Sydney populations and their economies.

“Our research indicates that the Illawarra’s transport constraints will cost the state economy $640 million per annum by 2031, and that the solutions come in the form of a South West Illawarra Rail Link and the upgrade of Picton Road to motorway standard.”

“This budget is an opportunity for the government to commit to undertake business cases to progress these key economic links for the state. Alongside developing freight capacity to alleviate the pressure on a congested Sydney network, these projects would connect people to employment in Greater Sydney and the Western Sydney Airport,” said Mr Zarth.

“Finally, we have asked government to commit funding to the development of a detailed concept plan and strategic business case for a Wollongong Sports and Entertainment Precinct in this Budget,” said Mr Zarth.

A copy of the submission is available online at: https://bit.ly/2P197kv

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