The Illawarra Shoalhaven Joint Organisation (ISJO) is powering ahead with a series of collaborations aimed at delivering a sustainable and innovative future for the region.

Basing its philosophy on the strength of partnerships to achieve results and reduce project costs, ISJO is adding its expertise to programs as diverse as transport, land use and sustainability.

As an advocate for the Illawarra Shoalhaven, ISJO is collaborating with a diverse group of partners, including state and local politicians and their ministries, business groups, research and educational organisations, and neighbouring regional bodies.

ISJO Chief Executive Leanne Taylor says collaboration is the backbone to creating change and promoting a better future for the Illawarra Shoalhaven.

“It is by bringing together diverse voices with a key interest in progressing local infrastructure and through pooling ideas and resources that we can achieve the best future for our communities,” she said.

“ISJO has the capacity to drive projects and consolidate resources to ensure the best outcomes are achieved for everyone involved.”

One key strategic driver is the strong connection for ongoing engagement with Ministers Stuart Ayres and Andrew Constance developed through the July 2020 Western Sydney Illawarra Shoalhaven Cross Regional Transport Forum.

A major outcome of the forum was the development of a Western Sydney Illawarra Shoalhaven Cross Regional Transport Advisory Group, led by ISJO, which will advocate for increased transport connectivity between Western Sydney, the Illawarra and Shoalhaven. This includes projects such as the Picton Road duplication, Mt Ousley and Wilton interchanges, Maldon-Dombarton rail link (SWIRL) for both passenger and freight, fast rail, orbital extension from the M7 to the Princes Highway and better connection to the Western Sydney Airport and Aerotropolis.

The Cross Regional Transport Advisory Group comprises Clr Gordon Bradbery AM and Leanne Taylor (ISJO); Debra Murphy (RDA Illawarra); Adam Zarth (IBC); Greg Walls (NSW Ports); Clr Matthew Deeth and Ben Taylor (Wollondilly Shire Council); Lindy Deitz and Kate Stares (Campbelltown City Council); Nathaniel Smith (local member); and Anthony Body (Regional NSW).

A meeting is scheduled with Minister Constance in October while further meetings with Minister Ayers are being scheduled.

Other major partnership projects underway include the review of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Regional Plan with the NSW Government, progressing planning for a regional cycling strategy in partnership with Transport for NSW’s Regional Planning team, and working with the Canberra Region Joint Organisation (CRJO), the NSW Government’s Regional NSW and the NRMA to explore the potential for an additional 20 electric vehicle charging sites along the Princes Highway.

Ms Taylor says ISJO’s advocacy role helps best allocate resources to projects and ensures all regional stakeholders are working together towards a common goal.

“For a project like the regional cycling strategy we have been sharing research outcomes with the state government which have been undertaken by our member Wollongong City Council which has recently developed the Wollongong Cycling Strategy 2030 and which is currently on exhibition,” she said.

“Our partnerships in this project will enable all regional cycling plans, whether it be undertaken by the state government, local government or ISJO, to be in alignment and designed to support the intent of all.”