Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson today congratulated the new Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast, Gareth Ward MP, on his new appointment by the Premier.

“I’m pleased that Mr Ward has been appointed to this new position by the Premier.

“It was my view that he should have been appointed to the Minister’s role during the last term of the State Government, but for some reason he was over-looked for it time and time again.

“I look forward to working closely with Mr Ward in his new role.

“I am sure that Mr Ward will respect the fact that the voters have spoken in my electorate and given me increased support from when I was first elected in 2011.

“I am disappointed that the Illawarra region will not have a seat at the Cabinet table however.

“I am surprised that the Illawarra Business Chamber (IBC) should so meekly accept the scrapping of the Illawarra ministry from Cabinet given its prominent role in demanding the position when it was first established by the Carr Government 12-years ago”, she said.

Ms Watson said that she and Mr Ward shared a number of key initiatives for the southern Illawarra, including the construction of the Albion Park Rail Bypass and Shellharbour Hospital upgrade.

“We may disagree on the means of how to get there in terms of funding for these key infrastructure projects, but we certainly share in the overall objectives of providing a new road link and better health care for the people of our electorates”, she said.

Ms Watson said that she was keen to discuss the massive infrastructure requirements for West Dapto with Mr Ward.

“I’ve said for a long time that the State Government must get serious about the infrastructure needs in this massive greenfields development area.

“It is simply impossible to think that Wollongong City Council can shoulder all of the infrastructure burden alone for the explosion in population growth taking place in West Dapto, Tallawarra and Yallah over the next decade”, she said.

Ms Watson said that while she and Mr Ward would continue to have political disagreements on policy issues, she said they could work in a bipartisan manner and looked forward to doing so.


2 April 2015