‘Community to identify Illawarra’s top priorities’

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The Minister for Illawarra, Greg Pearce is seeking feedback from the community leaders on the potential projects to be included in the NSW Government’s 100$ million Restart Illawara Infrastructure Fund.

Greg Pearce said the Restart NSW Illawarra Infrastructure Fund will help to deliver priority infrastructure projects in the region.

“We are inviting project nominations from local councils, community groups, industry and business groups, non-government organisations, educational institutions and government agencies”, said Greg Pearce.

“One of the important part of selecting the right project for the region is consultation. We will meet with local leaders and the community to get their feedback on the Illawarra’s infrastructure priorities and their views will contribute to the decision-making process”, he added.

According to Infrastructure NSW, the objective of the fund is to support new infrastructure projects in the Illawarra is to relieve infrastructure constraints, open new economic opportunities and drive economic growth, making the Illawarra a better place to work, live and do business.

The Eligibilty criteria for funding under the Restart NSW Illawarra Infrastructure is that the proposed projects must be located in one of the five local government areas that make up the Illawarra: Kiama, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Wingecarribee and Wollongong.

Proposals will be assessed and ranked on the degree to which they address a range of criteria, such as net economic benefits, strategic benefits, alignment with government priorities and affordability.

Gareth Ward, Member for Kiama said, “ The funding will boost the local economy by directing money towards projects that diversify the Illawarra’s employment opportunities, create growth or play a role in connecting communities”.

Lee Evans, Member for Heathcote said, “ The aim is to fund projects that will increase economic competitiveness and improve a number of key areas, such as public transport, roads and health services”.

Here is what the various Indian Community leaders and the localities of Illawarra have to say about this :

Neera Srivastava (President of Federation of Australian Indian Association)
I highly commend the Minister for Illawarra region for seeking feedback from community leaders, local councils, business groups, and educational institutions regarding the Restart Illawara Infrastructure Fund.
I believe these projects will contribute for overall better social and economic growth and will surely enhance the business opportunities.

Dr Yadu Singh (Cardiologist and President, Indian Australian Association of NSW)
This is a great initiative for the region. Regions like Illawarra need a lot of investment to bring them in line with Sydney development. I encourage Indian community representatives living in the region to meet, discuss and decide their priorities for infrastructure investment and then advise the minister about their views.

Shubha Kumar( President of India Club)
It is a welcome step. It is a great thing that the government is seeking consultation of the community people in development works. The community will be really happy to participate and to get involved in the development works. It is great initiative . The local people know more about as what and where development is required, so participation of community groups and local councils is really a good initiative.

Mahesh Mehta (Public servant from Illawarra)
Illawarra region has not got much attention . In the last two or three decades, hardly any developmental works have been carried out in this area. If there is some plan for the infrastructural development in Illawarra, it is really appreciable. Getting feedback from the community leaders is a great idea as it will help in identifying the areas where priority should be given.
The funding will boost the local economy and that will be beneficial for the residents . It will also play a role in connecting communities.

Dinesh Khatkat (Resident of Illawarra and a school teacher)
It is really appreciable. If the government will consult the local councils and community leaders, it will surely be easier for them to prioritize the developmental works. Much is required but obviously we have to prioritize the things and there is nothing better than seeking consultation from the local people.

Harish Velji (Chairperson of sub-continent Friends of Labor)
Consultation is a good idea and I really appreciate it. The fact is that the government is in a habit not abiding by its plans. North-west Rail project which was one of the major projects, the communities were not consulted in that. If it happens as it is planned it is really good, but I am not expecting that it will materialize .

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