RDA Illawarra is an independent organisation.  We are neutral brokers who advocate across all levels of government for the growth of the Illawarra's economy.

We take a long-term perspective and advocate strategically for the future greater good of the Illawarra region.  We value our people, culture and sustainable development.

We advocate either directly, when commercial or other sensitivities are involved, or publicly through submissions and direct advocacy.

Submissions are made on most matters of economic significance to the Illawarra region.  Our submissions are listed below.

Our Cities

RDA Illawarra made a submission in response to The 'Our Cities' Discussion Paper. RDA Illawarra's vision in the submission was for a sustainable region with cities and regional centres that offer higher quality of life, socially, economically, and environmentally, through high levels of employment with a highly skilled, adaptable, productive and inclusive community operating in a diverse, vibrant and growing economy.

The submission highlights a range of challenges and opportunities in the region.

Navy relocation to Port of Port Kembla

Navy relocation to Port of Port Kembla

In 2015, an Illawarra Consortia developed a report “The Jewel of the East Coast: The Case for Relocation of Royal Australian Navy Fleet Base East to the Port of Port Kembla”.  This report supplemented a submission by Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells (October 2014) to the Defence White Paper. The report found that an historic opportunity exists to engage in a bold initiative in nation building by relocating the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Fleet Base East from its current constrained environs at Garden Island to the Port of Port Kembla with its abundant prospects including enhanced site/works capability, safety and security and personnel requirements. The report builds the case for relocation to the Illawarra as a viable option for the RAN’s Garden Island operations, either in part of full. It highlighted the competitive advantages of the Illawarra, including the fact that it is contiguous with Sydney to the north and incorporates the Shoalhaven district, home to RAN’s existing installations at Jervis Bay, south of Port Kembla.

The proposal outlined in the report represents a “one-voice” expression of views, expertise and passion of regional stakeholders, drawn together by RDA Illawarra.  The key advantages of relocation of Navy to the Port of Port Kembla include:

  • 24/7 maintenance capability
  • Deep water Port, with 14 to 16 metres depth
  • Strategic east coast location
  • Ease of access and logistics connectivity
  • Access to highly skilled workforce and spousal employment opportunities
  • Access to world-class tertiary education facilities and R&D capabilities.


High Speed Rail Network

A Working Group was established by RDA Illawarra to gather evidence for a strategic direction on how the Illawarra could be part of a High Speed Rail network between Brisbane and Melbourne.

The Working Group consulted with key organisations in the Illawarra, and with the local community to determine the level of need for, and local support for, the inclusion of the Illawarra in a High Speed Rail network.

RDA Illawarra concluded that a case could be made for the inclusion of the area with two viable opportunities:

  • Transit point in the Southern Sydney area, with a Park and Ride facility for Illawarra residents; or
  • Upgrade the existing Unanderra - Moss Vale rail link to facilitate a connection to a possible high speed link along the Hume Highway corridor

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