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MISSION ACCOMPLISHED – GONG SHUTTLE REMAINS FREE

June 26, 2018

Illawarra Labor MPs Ryan Park and Paul Scully have today welcomed the official signing of a deal that will keep the Gong Shuttle free labelling it a “victory for people power”.

 

Mr Park and Mr Scully have been involved in months of behind-the-scenes negotiations aimed at keeping the Gong Shuttle service free.

 

The two MPs spearheaded a community campaign to oppose the Berejiklian Government’s surprise plan, announced last November, to impose Opal fares on the free Shuttle service from 1 January this year.

 

Thousands of local residents signed a petition supported by the Illawarra Mercury and held a community protest in the Crown Street Mall.

 

Mr Park and Mr Scully worked with the University of Wollongong, Wollongong City Council and Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast, Gareth Ward MP, in developing the funding arrangement, which was finally signed today.

 

Under the arrangement, Transport for NSW will continue to meet 75 per cent of the Shuttle service’s operational cost, while the University of Wollongong and Wollongong City Council contribute the remainder of funds over the next three years.

 

While there are minor changes to the timetable, the Gong Shuttle service will remain free, operate 7 days a week  and continue on its existing major route of stops at the University of Wollongong, Innovation Campus, Wollongong CBD and Wollongong Hospital.

 

Comments attributable to Ryan Park:

 

“After months and months of hard work, we can finally say its “Mission Accomplished”!

 

“Paul Scully and I set out – along with our local community – to save the Gong Shuttle service from Opal fares.

 

“Today, with this signed arrangement, we have all achieved our objective – keeping the Gong Shuttle free!”

 

Comments attributable to Paul Scully MP:

 

“This is a victory for people power.

 

“It shows that with a bit of thinking outside the box, and some willing partners, we can nail any unfair plan by the Berejikilian Government to disadvantage our community and its services.

 

“I want to thank the thousands of people in our community – in Wollongong and across the Illawarra – who stood with Ryan Park and me, and loudly told the Government that we wouldn’t cop their plans to scuttle the Gong Shuttle.”

 

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