Premier Mike Baird will be told in State Parliament this evening to ditch the political advice of Gareth Ward because he’s planning on abandoning the seat of Kiama to run for Federal Parliament in 2019.

Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson will use a Private Members Statement this evening to tell the Premier holding off on delivering $800 million in election promises for the southern Illawarra until a few weeks before the next state election is a flawed political strategy.

The State Budget handed down on Tuesday has been widely panned in the Illawarra for not delivering any real funding for infrastructure projects.

Ms Watson will highlight the strongly critical coverage published in the Illawarra Mercury over the last three days as evidence of the poor reception of the Government’s sixth budget in the Illawarra region.

Ms Watson will say that Government has one last chance to deliver on the upgrade of Shellharbour Hospital and construction of the Albion Park Rail Bypass in next year’s budget.


Excerpts from Ms Watson’s Private Members Statement:

The Government is very misguided if it thinks – as it clearly does right now – that delivering the $800 million in infrastructure investments it promised in March 2015 a few weeks from the next election in 2019 will be welcomed by the people of the Illawarra.

The people of the southern Illawarra in particular will only question why the Government was prepared to let them wait long hours at the Shellharbour Hospital ED, or let them stew in traffic congestion for the last four years.

And let’s also be clear: by the time the Government delivers these two projects on its current political timetable, it will be nudging nearly a decade in office. 

I will continue to pressure and shame the Government into using the budget next year to deliver the promises it made to the people in the southern Illawarra.  It’s time to get a move on.  It’s time to put fresh meat on the platter as the Illawarra Mercury editorial said yesterday.

It’s time for the Member for Kiama to ditch his cynical political strategy of advising the Government to wait until a few weeks before the 2019 election to stick a shovel in the ground to deliver on infrastructure investment for Shellharbour Hospital and the Albion Park Rail Bypass.

I say to the Premier: ignore Gareth’s political advice because he’s already planning to move to Canberra and ditch your Government at the next election.


23 June 2016