Shadow Minister for the Illawarra Ryan Park MP is joined by Labor Candidate for Heathcote Maryanne Stuart to announce a commitment by NSW Labor to invest $5 million to upgrade walking tracks in the Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area.
Mr Park says a future Labor Government will establish Stage 1 of the proposed Illawarra Escarpment Walking Track stretching from Stanwell Park in the north to Mount Kembla in the south.
The project will create a new link between the Coast Walk in the Royal National Park and walking tracks in the Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area, effectively linking Sydney to the Illawarra for bush walkers. The project will also focus on upgrading and improving existing walking track infrastructure to create a seamless walking experience.
Mr Park says walking tracks in the Illawarra and Heathcote areas are in desperate need of upgrading with infrastructure such as walkways, signage and stairways ageing badly and falling into disrepair.
This announcement comes after years of neglect of national parks infrastructure in the Illawarra and Heathcote areas by the Liberal Government. Mr Park says improving walking tracks will protect our natural assets and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors.
According to Mr Park, walking tracks in the Illawarra Escarpment are popular amongst the local community and are attracting visitors who are seeking walking experiences in the surrounds of Sydney.
Walking tracks in the Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area are iconic and have the potential to be a significant tourism drawcard for Heathcote and the Illawarra Region. According to Mr Park, Illawarra walking tracks have broad appeal locally and nationally, offering a world class walking experience.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Illawarra Ryan Park:
“This is an exciting project that will bring to fruition an iconic holistic walking experience that has been talked about for many years. I am very proud to announce a commitment by a future Daley Government that will bring this walk to life and truly showcase our natural environment.”
“I want to see everyone have the opportunity walk the full length of our stunning Illawarra Escarpment Conservation Area and experience for themselves the unique landscape we have on our doorstep. This walk will provide a fantastic end to end experience for walkers of all abilities.”
“This project will make it possible for people to walk all the way from Sydney to the Illawarra. This is great news for bush walking enthusiasts and anyone who wants get outdoors and enjoy our fantastic natural environment.”
“This government has pledged millions of dollars to upgrade walking tracks in national parks in Sydney, Port Stephens, Tweed-Byron, on the Macleay Valley Coast and the South Coast. We didn't get our fair share here in the Illawarra, that’s why I am making this announcement today.”
“This government has failed to invest in national parks in the Illawarra, depriving us of the resources needed to maintain walking tracks, despite splashing money around in neighbouring regions.”