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Business welcomes the Premier’s commitment to $550 million Albion Park Bypass

Release Date: 16/03/2015
The Illawarra Business Chamber (IBC) welcomed the Premier’s commitment to the Albion Park Bypass as a win for tourism and improved inter-regional road connections.
The IBC, alongside a consortium of peak business bodies, local government and community stakeholder groups called on the Government to commence construction of the Albion Park Rail Bypass by 2017. Today the Government listened and has committed $550 million to the construction of the Albion Park Rail Bypass.
“The Albion Park Rail Bypass is needed in order to address heavy congestion, safety and flooding concerns along this section of the M1. The bypass will improve the capacity the road, reduce travel times, and maximise the benefits of upgrades along the M1 by bypassing the only traffic lights on the route between Heathcote and Bombaderry,” said IBC Chief Executive Debra Murphy.
The IBC’s  Linking the Illawarra study completed by PwC found in comparison to four other benchmark regions, the Illawarra has the lowest overall connectivity (2.4 out of 5), which is 25-30% is lower than the scores in the other regions. Shellharbour to Wollongong connectivity is equally poor and also rated just 2.4 out of 5.
“Motorists on the existing Princes Highway / Princes Motorway at Albion Park Rail experience substantial congestion in the morning and afternoon peaks. The Bypass will dramatically reduce direct and opportunity travel costs for the many North and South bound Illawarra commuters.
The South Coast is one of NSW’s most popular tourist destinations, with the region receiving 18% of visitors to regional NSW, or more than 3 million domestic overnight visitors per annum. In addition to the leisure and holiday market, there has also been an increase in business events and conferences.
“Motorists currently experience extended delays and queuing during holiday peak periods which negatively impacts tourism demand and experience. The Albion Park Rail Bypass will unlock the South Coast tourism corridor maximising the regions tourism potential.
“The NSW Government should adopt strategic procurement policies when delivering the Albion Park Rail Bypass that minimise bidding costs, support the use of local competitive contractors where possible, and include targets for the use of local apprentices.
“The challenge for the State Opposition will be to demonstrate how  by maintaining inefficient business taxes and modest ‘infrastructure’ plans can deliver the infrastructure the Illawarra region needs in a time frame that matches the government’s commitments,” said Ms Murphy.
Media Contact:         Julia Frith 0417 135 858

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