Shadow Minister for the Illawarra Ryan Park MP earlier this month requested Premier Mike Baird to put politics aside and inject some bipartisan assistance into the Illawarra region as a matter of urgency.
Mr Park wrote to the Premier about the challenges the region is facing particularly in the steel & mining in the industries and invited him to a meeting to further discuss options for the Illawarra.
“I have great concerns for the Illawarra community, in recent months we have unfortunately seen a significant number of jobs lost in the mining and manufacturing sectors” Ryan Park MP said.
With growing speculation regarding the future of steelmaking at BlueScope and the economic pressures surrounding the coal industry, the Illawarra is facing a number of serious challenges that will significantly impact on jobs and growth in the region.
Mr Park said he was astonished when he received an email from the Premiers office declining the meeting.
“I am extremely disappointed that the Premier has declined to meet with me about some of the biggest challenges facing our region. For him to then suggest I meet with Gareth Ward was simply tokenistic.
"I do meet with Gareth Ward regularly and I respect his role as the Parliamentary Secretary but this issue requires leadership from the Premier and the Cabinet and unfortunately Gareth Ward as the Government's representative is not in Cabinet.
"Cabinet is the only group who can directly influence issues such as procurement policy, training requirements and fast tracking projects and that is why I am deeply disappointed in the Premier.
"I intend on writing again to the Premier expressing my disappointment and asking him to reconsider his decision.
"The Illawarra community rightly expect that the Premier and his Cabinet will stand with us as we face economic challenges. Unfortunately this decision indicates the Premier is not interested in the economic future of our region or the hundreds of jobs already lost in recent months"
“Now is the time for the Government to pay attention to our region and invest in our future” Mr Park emphasised.
“In the spirit of genuine bipartisanship, I am continuing to urge the Government to accelerate current infrastructure projects planned for our region to provide an immediate economic stimulus” Mr Park said.
“I am requesting the Government consider the significance of our steel and manufacturing industries and contemplate large scale infrastructure projects have a local steel component embedded in the procurement arrangements” Mr Park said.