Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson has declined to attend a reception in honour of Gareth Ward’s appointment as Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast labelling the event, hosted by the Illawarra Business Chamber (IBC), as slap in the face for the region.

Ms Watson told the IBC in a letter that she had no intention “to be part of congratulating the State Government for downgrading the representation of the Illawarra region by abolishing the position of the Minister for the Illawarra from the State Cabinet.

“I do not consider replacing that position with a Parliamentary Secretary to be satisfactory.

“Given the IBC’s instrumental role in advocating for that position 12-years ago; I remain bemused that it so meekly accepted the Premier’s decision”, she says in the letter.

Ms Watson also noted that the IBC never hosted such an event for any of the previous office-holders who actually held the position of Minister for the Illawarra.

“I reckon if Mr Ward needs to be back-slapped and ego-stroked, he should dig into his own pockets and pay for it rather than relying on Illawarra businesses to subsidise his Parliamentary coronation”, she said.


See Anna Watson’s letter to the Illawarra Business Chamber, dated 7 May 2015.


8 May 2015