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If planning approval for the Albion Park Rail bypass project is not granted by 5pm today, the NSW Government will have missed their self-imposed deadline for the second year in a row.

Planning approval for the Albion Park Rail bypass project will officially be 365 days overdue.

Planning approval for the project has already been delayed once, with the Government failing to meet a self-imposed deadline of 31 December 2016 last year. Following this failure, the Government guaranteed in early 2017 that planning approval for the project was “on track for late this year”.

In line with the Premier’s Memorandum, all non-front line services in the government sector will close down from today for the Christmas/New Year period and will not reopen until Monday, 8 January 2018.

That means if approval isn’t granted by close of business today, it will be unable to be delivered before early to mid-January.

As recently as 17 October 2017, the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey MP, endorsed the self-imposed deadline by maintaining that approval would be granted this year. Following questioning from the Member for Shellharbour, the Minister insisted “planning approval for the project is targeted for late this year”.

The Member for Shellharbour has not yet received a response to her correspondence sent to the Minister’s office last week, despite the request being labelled as urgent.

The Member for Kiama is also yet to respond to the community’s concerns regarding planning approval for the Bypass, despite only one week ago releasing a statement regarding the tender process for the project.

Quotes Attributable to Anna Watson MP:

“The Government needs to come clean and tell the community why planning approval for this vital piece of infrastructure is constantly delayed.

“While I’m disappointed in this delay, I’m not surprised. The NSW Government has shown time and time again that they are just not serious about this project. The people of the Illawarra should not trust anything this Government says.

“The Member for Kiama owes our community an explanation – this delay has happened on his watch.”

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