Mayor, Gash disappointed after funding announcement
December 05, 2013
Shoalhaven City Council Mayor, Joanna Gash has expressed her disappointment after the area was allocated only $2.5 million from the Restart NSW Illawarra Infrastructure Fund.
The $100 million fund, which had been set up using proceeds from the long term lease of Port Kembla, was created to support new infrastructure projects in the Illawarra.
The Shoalhaven had three projects shortlisted for funding under the scheme, however only the South Nowra Employment Precinct (provision of safe access roads) and the Noah’s Shoalhaven Early Intervention Family Support Centre applications were successful.
Mayor, Joanna Gash said she was extremely disappointed to see the area’s third shortlisted project, the Nowra CBD multi deck car park, excluded from the final list.
“Considering the Shoalhaven makes up a quarter of the population of the Illawarra I find it extremely surprising that the area qualified for just over two percent of the total available funding,” said Clr Gash.
“Given that the Restart NSW Illawarra Infrastructure Fund was created to drive economic growth and create employment opportunities I am mystified as to why the Shoalhaven, an area with the highest unemployment rate in the region, received such a small cut of the funding.
“The proposed Berry/Worrigee car park would have provided the area with over 600 car parking spaces in close proximity to local businesses, providing the area with a much needed economic stimulus.”
“Through today’s announcement, the NSW State Government has missed the perfect opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to recognising the Shoalhaven as part of the Illawarra.”
Mayor, Joanna Gash said while she was extremely pleased to see Noah’s Shoalhaven receive funding for their Early Intervention Family Support Centre she believed the South Nowra Employment Precinct project could have been otherwise funded by the RMS.
“I would certainly like to congratulate Noah’s Shoalhaven on their successful application,” said Clr Gash.
“Noah’s play a vital role within the local community and the creation of the Early Intervention Family Support Centre will provide major benefits for the entire region.
“While I am also pleased to see the South Nowra Employment Precinct receive funding for the provision of safer access points, this is a project that could have come under the auspices of the RMS.”
“As it stands now, today’s funding announcement is basically a case of the State Government providing funding for a State Government project.”
Mayor, Joanna Gash said that she had already spoken to Minister for the Illawarra, John Ajaka who had indicated that the Shoalhaven would be next cab off the rank for any future regional infrastructure funds that may become available.
The Mayor said that an appointment had been set up with the Minister to discuss further proposals.
“I would certainly like to thank Minister Ajaka for recognising the concerns of Shoalhaven City,” said Clr Gash.