The NSW Government is committed to supporting strong communities across the Illawarra-Shoalhaven. 

The Illawarra-Shoalhaven is fast becoming one of the most popular regions to live, work and play.

Governments are judged by the outcomes they deliver for communities.

We have worked hard to build a strong budget and restore NSW to its rightful place as the number one economy in the country. We are rolling out a record-breaking infrastructure program that is already having a positive impact across all parts of the state. Most importantly, we are a government that wants Regional NSW to thrive and feel supported.

Our Regions is a package of materials designed to showcase the work being undertaken in communities across Regional NSW. It is a source for information about the projects we have committed to, that we are building, and that have already been delivered. The material will highlight some of the projects occurring in health, education, transport, roads, sport, the arts, and the community sector.

It paints a clear picture of the progress that is happening around you. More importantly, it shows a government working for you; a government dedicated to people and families in regional communities.

Please take the time to inspect your local Our Regions section on the website, or pick up a copy of your local Our Regions brochure. It is a great way to ensure you are aware and engaged with the work that is occurring in your region.

The information available online will be continually updated, as the investments we make in Regional NSW continue to roll out.

Our government is determined to make sure that every regional community continues to grow, attract more investment, and create an even better quality of life for its citizens not just for tomorrow, but also for decades to come.

Regional service delivery priorities for the Illawarra–Shoalhaven

The NSW Government is committed to ensuring the people of regional NSW have the best access to essential services and infrastructure in regional Australia. We recognise the importance of ensuring all regional communities can access the essential services of a modern economy. We believe our geography brings enormous opportunity, and should not deter people from choosing where they live, work and play.

To help deliver on this commitment, the NSW Government has developed Regional Service Delivery Priorities to improve local services according to each region’s specific needs.

The priorities are based on existing state-wide programs that address local challenges and benefit communities. The NSW Government will provide updates on the priorities’ progress over the next year.

Support student wellbeing in Illawarra-Shoalhaven schools

State-wide target: 100 per cent of schools to have school counselling services by January 2019.

The NSW Government is committed to improving mental health services in regional NSW to tackle loss of life and prevent self harm. School counselling services can improve student mental health, as well as attendance, graduation rates, and reduce discipline issues.

The Supported Students, Successful Students initiative will provide the Illawarra-Shoalhaven schools with new counselling and psychology services, more wellbeing services and graduate scholarships to recruit more school counsellors.

Improve connectivity in Illawarra-Shoalhaven

State-wide target: 174 new or upgraded mobile base stations to be delivered in regional NSW by 2019.

Mobile phone coverage along major transport routes and in smaller communities is a significant challenge. Across NSW in 2016 there were over 3,200 reported regional blackspot locations affecting businesses, services and assistance during natural disasters.

The NSW Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program will deliver new and upgraded mobile base stations for the Illawarra-Shoalhaven, reducing blackspot locations, improving lives and potentially even saving them.

Deliver quality community infrastructure in Illawarra-Shoalhaven

State-wide target: Local amenity projects to have commenced implementation in target regions by 2019.

The Stronger Country Communities Fund is investing $200 million over in NSW the next two years on local infrastructure projects, to improve the lives of residents and make the Illawarra-Shoalhaven a more vibrant place to live and work.

The fund will help boost productivity and make the region a more attractive place for individuals and businesses looking to re-locate.

Works underway

Explore the map below to find out more about the projects happening in your area.

Berry bypass creates quicker, safer travel

The new Foxground and Berry bypass improves road safety and travel times along NSW’s South Coast, while returning peace to the residents of Berry.

Berry bypass creates quicker, safer travel

Drawing out the leaders on the South Coast

A region needs leadership to flourish. On NSW’s South Coast a new program is showing what’s possible when you give people the capacity to create change in their community.

South East Local Leaders Program

Region overview

The Illawarra-Shoalhaven region is framed by a spectacular escarpment and is home to part of the Sydney Drinking Water Catchment Area.

Rich natural resources, including coal and minerals, support traditional mining and manufacturing sectors. The major urban centres of Kiama, Nowra, Shellharbour and Wollongong provide residents with access to quality services, housing and employment options. Towns and villages including Berry and Kangaroo Valley are prime tourist hotspots featuring rolling agricultural landscapes and dairy industries.

Drivers — economic, social and environmental

The Illawarra-Shoalhaven is the third-largest regional economy in NSW, with a mix of traditional and emerging industries. While manufacturing is the largest contributor to regional economic output, healthcare and social assistance and retail trade are the region’s largest employers.

Freight and logistics have emerged as priority growth sectors, driven by the increase in export activity and supported by the upgrade and expansion of Port Kembla — one of four major deep water commercial ports in New South Wales.

The region’s defence sector is anticipated to expand due to increased federal defence spending and the presence of two naval bases and other military support facilities in the Shoalhaven. Anchored by the University of Wollongong’s research and commercialisation precinct expansion — the Innovation Campus—education will join the region’s other sectors in contributing to increased business investment activity and job creation.

Population growth means demand for quality health, infrastructure and transport so community services will increase. The NSW Government has a significant infrastructure investment program to support the growth of the region’s service-based industries.

The region’s natural beauty, diverse economy and relaxed coastal lifestyle make it an attractive place for people to live, work and play. Close proximity to Sydney allows for industry, business and residents to connect with metropolitan economic and employment opportunities. By 2036, the region’s population is forecast to reach almost 472,000, representing growth of 17 per cent over the next 20 years. Major housing releases in West Dapto, Calderwood and Nowra-Bomaderry will ensure sufficient housing supply to meet demand over the coming decades.

The Illawarra-Shoalhaven is home to a number of national parks, including the Jervis Bay Marine Park, showcasing the area’s distinctive wildlife and rich biodiversity. Protection and preservation of the pristine natural environment and cultural heritage is important in supporting the region’s identity, character and visitor economy.

Regional Growth Fund

The NSW Government has a new approach to supporting growth and business potential that means all residents of regional NSW will see the benefits of strong economic management. To support this new approach, the $1.7 billion Regional Growth Fund has been created to deliver the infrastructure to help regional economies expand and to improve the amenity of people living in regional NSW. The Regional Growth Fund is designed to activate local economies and create jobs by building and upgrading infrastructure, improving facilities and investing in sports, arts and culture in eligible regional communities.

The Regional Growth Fund includes:

  • Growing Local Economies – Unlocking economic potential by building or upgrading power, transport and telecommunications links and water and sewerage services 
  • Resources for Regions – Supporting the infrastructure needs of mining-affected regional economies
  • Connecting Country Communities – Investing in better mobile phone and internet connectivity to support businesses and families living and working in regional areas and drive regional productivity 
  • Regional Sports Infrastructure – Supporting participation and high achievement in sport for regional NSW communities by improving facilities
  • Regional Cultural Fund – Delivering investment to support bold and exciting regional arts and culture
  • Stronger Country Communities Fund – Supporting councils and community groups to deliver crucial local infrastructure to improve quality of life.

These programs are in addition to the $300 million Regional Growth – Environment and Tourism Fund which supports new environmental assets, tourism infrastructure and attractions to drive greater visitation and spend across regional NSW.

Our actions in the region

We are actively contributing to strong and healthy regional communities in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven through these initiatives.

Creating jobs and growing the regional economy

Increasing business activity and diversify job opportunities beyond mining and manufacturing

Support growth and diversification within the region through increased business investment and job creation initiatives including:

  • developing a 360 Illawarra-Shoalhaven Economic Outlook to identify growth opportunities
  • delivering the Advantage Wollongong strategy to attract new jobs in knowledge services, defence and advanced manufacturing
  • delivering the Shoalhaven Defence Industry Strategy to secure new defence related jobs in Nowra
  • delivering Advantage SME via the Boosting Business Innovation Program
  • supporting businesses to start and grow through the Business Connect program
  • delivering the Refugee Employment Support Program.

Supporting industry to train and employ more young people

  • Work with the Illawarra Business Chamber to improve accredited training and employment outcomes for the region’s youth by partnering with local and Australian governments and industry to deliver the Illawarra Youth Employment Strategy.

Making energy more affordable for small business and low income households

  • Deliver low-income household rebates of $285 and a Family Energy Rebate of $180 via the energy affordability package to support approximately 900,000 customers across NSW struggling to pay energy bills.
  • Deliver more than 17,000 energy efficient fridges and televisions to low-income households through the Appliance Replacement Offer.
  • Deliver more than $8 million worth of energy efficiency upgrades to 2,800 social housing properties across the state.
  • Save small businesses up to $1,900 on their yearly bill through discounts on equipment upgrades.

Revitalising Port Kembla

  • Partner with Wollongong City Council to deliver the Port Kembla 2505 Revitalisation Plan to guide future public and private sector investment.
  • Provide the $1 million per annum Port Kembla Community Investment Fund will focus on alternative ways to use surplus land to create jobs and employment.

Promoting fossicking tourism in the region

  • The NSW Government is supporting regional tourism by declaring fossicking districts across the state. Fossicking is a popular recreational activity, contributing approximately $20 million annually to regional economies across NSW. In 2017, the Shoalhaven was gazetted as a fossicking district.

Improving the way infrastructure supports tourism to our coast

  • Work with local councils to develop a Southern NSW Marine Tourism Strategy.
  • Look at how marine infrastructure from Wollongong to the Port of Eden can be better used to increase the number of tourists visiting southern NSW.

Using new technology to improve transport efficiency and innovation in regional NSW

  • Invite local innovators and industry leaders to collaborate with our Smart Innovation Centre to trial automated vehicles in regional NSW.
  • Trial on demand public transport for regional NSW. Industry and regional transport operators will be invited to partner with the NSW Government in the trials. 
Cows on farm

Delivering infrastructure

Delivering essential infrastructure

  • Deliver key transport, health and community infrastructure to address the current and future needs of the Illawarra-Shoalhaven region.
  • Include the delivery of 12 priority infrastructure projects through the $100 million Restart NSW Illawarra Infrastructure Fund.

Improving education results and growing healthy kids

Reducing overweight and obesity rates of children

  • Reduce childhood obesity in the region by implementing the Go4Fun, Munch & Move, Live Life Well @ School and Healthy Lunchbox competition programs, Healthy School Canteens and the Get Healthy in Pregnancy Service.

Helping kids get active

  • Invest $207 million over four years through the Active Kids program. From 31 January 2018, parents can claim up to $100 per school-enrolled child, per calendar year, as a voucher to reduce the cost of sport registration or membership fees for after-school, weekend and structured fitness or physical activity. 

Improving education and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal children aged 0-9 and families in the Shoalhaven

  • Work with non-government organisations, service providers and the Aboriginal community to establish a Wellbeing Hub at Nowra East Public School offering a range of services to students and their families on school premises.

Continuing to improve education results

  • Commit to improving NAPLAN results.
  • Deliver $332 million across the state under the Start Strong program for early childhood education and preschools from 2017 to 2021.
  • Provide $55 million for government schools in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven under the 2017 Resource Allocation Model, giving principals flexibility to direct funding to local school and individual student needs to improve learning outcomes for all their students.
Nowra East public school

Protecting the vulnerable

Increasing the supply of social housing

  • Deliver additional vibrant mixed social housing under the $22 billion state-wide Communities Plus building program.
  • Include up to 23,000 new and replacement social housing dwellings, 500 affordable housing dwellings, and up to 40,000 private dwellings across NSW in the program.
  • Invest $128.1 million to deliver 318 dwellings across 20 major regional centres including the Illawarra-Shoalhaven.
  • Increase supply in the region through the Social and Affordable Housing Fund.

Addressing domestic and family violence

  • Deliver the Shoalhaven Local Area Command trial of the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme.
  • Implement Safer Pathway to assist victims and children with specialised case management and referral.
  • Provide subsidised rent through Start Safely Private Rental Assistance for up to three years to those escaping domestic violence or at risk of homelessness.
  • Target repeat offenders and expanding the Explore, Question, Understand, Investigate, Practice and Succeed (EQUIPS) program to reduce reoffending.
  • Trial What’s Your Plan?, a world first program to improve compliance with Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders for Aboriginal defendants.
  • Apply the Practice Guide to Intervention to target higher risk offenders already under Community Corrections supervision.
  • Establish a High Intensity Programs Unit at the South Coast correctional centre to reduce reoffending rates of inmates with custodial sentences of less than six months.

Supporting children who are at risk of serious harm

  • Try to keep children and young people safe and improving their wellbeing and welfare by reducing the number at risk of being harmed.
  • Pilot multi-disciplinary approaches in Nowra, Ulladulla, Shellharbour and Wollongong to support children and families experiencing domestic violence.

Keeping our community safe

  • Deliver educational programs to engage the region’s youth and community, addressing anti-social and unsafe behaviours in public spaces, transport and licensed premises, including the NSW Police Force Commanders’ Active Citizen Program at Lake Illawarra and cybercrime and bullying workshops delivered in schools.

Rebuilding strength in socially disadvantaged communities

  • Address social and economic disadvantage experienced by social housing communities; across 13 areas in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven, including Nowra, Wollongong and nearby suburbs, social housing is being improved through the Social Housing Community Improvement Fund. 

Reducing Youth Homelessness

  • Increase support for young people at risk of homelessness.
  • Introduce The Premier’s Youth Initiative that will commit $40 million over four years across targeted locations in NSW to support 70 clients in Illawarra-Shoalhaven and Southern NSW with personal advisors, education and employment mentoring and long-term accommodation to help them gain independence.

Keeping families together

  • Implement better models for keeping families together as part of Their Futures Matter in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven. The models are based on the latest evidence and best practice for treating the underlying causes of harm and trauma. Over 900 places will be available each year for NSW families, with half of the places for Aboriginal families.

Restoring children to families from out-of-home care

  • Help return children in out-of-home care to their parents under the $7 million Newpin Social Benefit Bond, where it is safe to do so. Across NSW, the program has restored 203 children to their families and prevented children from 55 families from entering care since the program began in 2013, representing a restoration rate of 63 per cent. A Newpin Centre has opened in Port Kembla.

Supporting the wellbeing and growth of our regional communities

Increasing housing supply and providing greater housing choice

  • Focus on increasing housing supply, ensuring greater housing choice to meet future needs and rising market demand.
  • Complete a review of planning and development controls within metro Wollongong.

Improving economic, social and cultural outcomes with the Aboriginal community

  • Work with Aboriginal communities in the region to ensure their meaningful input into decisions that affect their lives.
  • Negotiate an accord with the Illawarra Wingecarribee Alliance Aboriginal Corporation to support commitments in education, employment, housing, health and justice.
  • Support Local Aboriginal Land Councils to strategically assess their land to identify opportunities for housing, employment and other uses.

Supporting strong local government

  • Transform local government to ensure communities benefit from modern customer-facing councils, providing better value for ratepayers.
  • Announce legislation to allow councils in regional NSW to voluntarily join Joint Organisations that will focus on issues that matter to regional communities such as building strong businesses, securing water supplies and improving transport, community infrastructure and services.
  • Expand our Local Government Skills Strategy to all NSW councils to improve skills for local government workers and increase job opportunities for young people and unemployed older workers.

Protecting our environment and managing our land & water

Detecting and deterring sharks at Illawarra-Shoalhaven beaches

  • Continue the roll out of our Shark Management Strategy including daily helicopter coastline surveillance flights over the Christmas and Easter school holidays; shark-listening stations at Kiama, Sussex Inlet and Mollymook to monitor tagged sharks; and SMART drumlining to tag and release targeted sharks at Kiama and Ulladulla.
  • Encourage the community to use the SharkSmart mobile app and Twitter to report shark sightings in real time.
  • Extend the Shark Meshing (Bather Protection) Program until 30 April 2018 at Austinmer, Coledale, Garie, North Wollongong, South Wollongong, Thirroul and Wattamolla.

Protecting our coasts from erosion

  • Support local councils through the $83.6 million Coastal Management state-wide reform which addresses coastal erosion, estuary health and floodplain management risks for their communities through the Coastal and Estuary grants program and the Floodplain Management grants program.

Protecting koalas

  • Deliver nearly $800,000 worth of koala conservation projects through Saving our Species across NSW, including satellite tracking, creating habitats, community engagement and reducing threats such as dog attack and vehicles.

Understanding our groundwater supplies

  • Examine the extent and location of potential water resources and groundwater aquifers through a new 3D geological model of the Sydney-Gunnedah Basin.
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