Transformative program to position region for post-COVID-19 economic and employment recovery

The University of Wollongong’s (UOW) SMART Infrastructure Facility will play a vital role in the new Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal prospectus, which aims to provide a vision and program to drive the transformation of the region and its economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal brings together four councils and eight partner organisations – including UOW and the SMART Infrastructure Facility – in a shared vision for the region.

It is a vision that will deliver transformative change to the region, generating more than 12,000 high value add jobs in areas such as advanced manufacturing, professional services and technology, and enabling a more robust, more diverse Illawarra-Shoalhaven economy.

SMART’s Chief Operating Officer, Tania Brown, said the facility already works closely with industry and local government on projects that enhance the economic value across the region, such as Smart Waterways Management Project and the South West Illawarra Rail Link (SWIRL) report.

“This City Deal states a clear vision moving forward and provides a roadmap for us all to work towards,” she said.

“The prospectus includes a pipeline for implementation and deliver of smart city projects which will deliver high liveability impacts for the region.”

UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings CBE, who is also an RDA Illawarra board member, said the University had long worked with councils and peak bodies to pursue regional development strategies that enhanced community prosperity and was pleased to be doing so again as the region responds to a once-in-a-lifetime health emergency and economic shock.

“The vision and program outlined represent a considered and confident package of initiatives that can drive the transformation of the Illawarra-Shoalhaven and position our region for economic and employment recovery,” Professor Wellings said.

“Considerable effort and collaboration by key organisations, including UOW, has been applied to define and agree on a suite of initiatives that address transport infrastructure, the visitor economy and economic resilience across Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and the Shoalhaven.

“Federal and State Governments rightly encourage regional communities to take charge of defining their aspirations and charting a course of action. Leaders in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven have risen to that challenge. Now we seek the support and investment of Government to work with us to deliver jobs growth and improved liveability for our communities.”

A key component of the Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal is the further strengthening of engagement between the Illawarra-Shoalhaven and Greater Western Sydney, leveraging the enormous opportunities unlocked by the Western Sydney Airport in terms of trade, visitation and business growth.

“Having observed the progress of the landmark Western Sydney City Deal, and being active in the agenda for Western Sydney through our South Western Sydney Campus and our involvement in the Aerotropolis Multiversity project, UOW is very much in favour of the enhanced links with Western Sydney that the Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal will deliver,” Professor Wellings said.

“The proposed Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal initiative provides an opportunity to build from the existing Western Sydney City Deal to accelerate this growth relationship while also delivering important local infrastructure, facilities and jobs for the 420,000 people who live right here in our wonderful coastal region.”

In addition to delivering 12,550 jobs over the next decade, the Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal:

  • Creates growth for the Illawarra-Shoalhaven economy, and supports the growth of Greater and Western Sydney;
  • Provides targeted transformative infrastructure projects that support a connected, diverse and resilient economy;
  • Unlocks a recovery of the bushfire-ravaged visitor-economy for Shoalhaven;
  • Develops the Circular Economy with a world-class waste reduction project;
  • Creates a pipeline of Smart City projects, improving our overall economic resilience;
  • Supports enhanced liveability for 70,000 plus households in the region and to South-Western Sydney, including Wollondilly and Campbelltown.