Greater Illawarra: The Smart Growth Agenda

The Property Council of Australia has released the results of a major research project looking at the value of the Illawarra as a region and the key policy and infrastructure changes needed to unlock the region’s economic potential and provide for optimum levels of liveability.

The Property Council of Australia commissioned the research conducted by Judith Stubbs and Associates late last year and the resulting research report, Greater Illawarra: The Smart Growth Agenda is now released below.

The Illawarra is one of Australia’s most connected regional communities, with more than 5 million people living within a three hour drive. However the region’s current growth initiatives are haphazard and tend to undervalue the potential for growth in the Illawarra. While investment is starting to flow in major commercial, retail and residential projects, the Illawarra needs the strategic framework, coordination and resources to build this region’s resilience and enhance its contribution to NSW.

The Property Council’s critical Greater Illawarra research seeks to provide a strategic framework for growth and builds a compelling case for stronger Government investment in the Illawarra. The Greater Illawarra research shows what is possible beyond current growth analysis, geographic boundaries and government policy restrictions.

The key recommendations included in the report set a clear path toward the stronger population and economic growth needed to increase quality of life in the Illawarra where residents have access to jobs, housing they can afford, transport, cultural opportunities and higher order services such as education and medical facilities.

A key finding of the research is the need for increased focus on urban centres in the Illawarra supported by critical planning reform to deliver density and diversity in urban centres. As part of the research a detailed audit was conducted into local council planning controls across the four councils that comprise the Illawarra – Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and Shoalhaven councils. This audit identifies necessary amendments to local planning schemes and instruments to support density and therefore growth.

Another key area of the research looks at the issue of housing affordability in the Illawarra – an issue of importance in the region due to high rates of housing stress. The research sets out a number of specific recommendations to support housing affordability. Importantly the research also considers the infrastructure projects needed to support and stimulate growth in the Illawarra and sets out the business case for the critical infrastructure needed to support connectivity between the Illawarra and Greater Sydney and between LGAs in the region.

The Greater Illawarra research will be the focus of the Property Council of Australia’s next Illawarra Lunch to be held on 5 June at the Novotel Northbeach Hotel, Wollongong.