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The Member for Shellharbour has today responded to comments made by the Member for Kiama over the weekend.

On Saturday, 17 February 2018, the Member for Kiama described the Yallah interchange as ‘a supplementary item’ to the rest of the Albion Park Rail bypass project.

Ms Watson has voiced her opposition to the Member for Kiama’s statement.

“The needs of Dapto and West Dapto residents are not ‘supplementary’ to the needs of the rest of the Illawarra. This Government needs to plan for our region’s future rather than shirk their responsibilities.”

“In his statement, the Member for Kiama has admitted tenderers have been advised to consider this critical element of the project in their costings, but that if it doesn’t fit within the Government’s budget to just cut the interchange and hang Dapto out to dry.”

In September 2017, it was revealed the NSW Government had not allocated funding for the northern interchange of the bypass and are effectively considering excluding Dapto and West Dapto residents from accessing the completed project.

This proposal was being considered in spite of ABS statistics that showed the population of Dapto and West Dapto exceeded 22,000 residents in 2016, whilst the population of Albion Park and Albion Park Rail sat at just over 20,000 people.

“The Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra has abandoned his neighbours, and residents of the region he’s responsible for.”

“The residents of Albion Park, a suburb which just happens to fall within the Member for Kiama’s electorate, have rightly been provided with access to the Bypass. I’m just asking for equal treatment for the residents of Dapto and West Dapto.”

In his statement the Member for Kiama also declared ‘This is not the Dapto bypass, it’s the Albion Park Rail Bypass’.

“I remind the Member for Kiama, that the name of the bypass is drawn from the area it bypasses, not the suburbs he believes deserve access to the project. Every single resident of our region should benefit from this project: not just those in his own electorate.”

The Member for Shellharbour is still collecting signatures for her petition calling on the Government to ‘Give Dapto and West Dapto residents access to the Albion Park Rail bypass’.

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