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July 02, 2018

The NSW Labor Conference yesterday resolved that a NSW Labor Government will develop and use a consistent definition for Wollongong and other major centres outside of Sydney.


Member for Wollongong Paul Scully’s motion was supported by Member for Newcastle, Tim Crakenthorp.


Over nearly eight years under the Berejiklian Government, Wollongong, Newcastle other major centres outside of Sydney have been ruled ineligible for some programs and not others, often with little consistency in the decision-making.


This has led to Wollongong being included in some funding programs and excluded from others and recently, in the case of sports infrastructure funding, left out of all funding opportunities entirely.


Mr Scully told the NSW Labor Conference that this was an issue that had united community leaders, business leaders, the labour movement and the general public in both Wollongong and Newcastle, who were frustrated by their confused and inconsistent treatment.


Mr Scully has previously suggested that it is time for a third category for funding programs that recognises the relative size of major centres like Wollongong and Newcastle compared to smaller regional and rural areas but also the relative size of these cities compared to the size of greater Sydney.


The issues created through the inconsistent eligibility for funding programs is also impacting on other areas including the Blue Mountains and Port Macquarie which also find themselves inexplicable excluded from many funding opportunities under the Berejiklian Government


Comments attributable to Paul Scully MP:


“The inconsistent treatment that major centres like Wollongong have experienced over the last eight years can be solved with the development and use of a consistent definition.


“I am not asking for special treatment, just consistent treatment that allows us to have a fair shot at getting our fair share from relevant funding programs.


“I have raised this in Parliament but also wanted to bring the matter before the NSW Labor Conference in my continued advocacy for the use of a consistent, needs-based approach to the treatment of places like Wollongong.


“I’m sick and tired of us missing out through definitions of convenience and think that it’s time for a new category for use in funding programs that reflects our size and needs.


“I am very pleased that the nearly 1000 delegates at the NSW Labor Conference agreed with me and the next NSW Labor Government will give Wollongong a fair go.”