NSW Department of Planning and Environment

The Plan


Image of University of Wollongong Yarning Circle students and teachers chatting in an outdoor setting

The Illawarra Shoalhaven is a dynamic and vibrant region that makes a crucial economic contribution to NSW.

In the last two decades, the region has transformed from its traditional industrial and steel-making base into a place with an innovative service, creative and knowledge economy.

Aligned state and local government strategic planning will underpin the region’s ongoing prosperity and growth. This Illawarra Shoalhaven Regional Plan represents a strategic vision and direction for how we will plan for the region’s future housing, jobs, infrastructure, and a healthy environment. It is premised on a place where people have easy access to green spaces and live in connected communities. 

The past 18 months in particular have shown us how our strategic planning must adapt to meet changing circumstances and needs. Planning evolves, places and circumstances change. This is why we must review and update regional plans every five years. 

When the first Illawarra Shoalhaven Regional Plan was released in late 2015, it was the State’s first Regional Plan. Together, we have achieved the original priorities and in reviewing the previous Regional Plan have identified new priorities for the next 5 years. 

This Illawarra Shoalhaven Regional Plan resets priorities for the area and ensures continued progress and prosperity for the Illawarra Shoalhaven community for the next 20 years. 

We’ve collaborated closely with the four local councils and consulted widely with the community and a broad array of stakeholders to develop the updated plan.

It's a Regional Plan that builds on our previous efforts for a more prosperous and resilient Illawarra Shoalhaven. This Regional Plan improves access to public spaces, enhances biodiversity and recognises the coastal, urban and rural lifestyles that people so highly value. 

It has a strong focus on tourism with specific objectives to harness the region’s enormous potential in many ways, including working with government agencies, councils and community groups to better connect the network of stunning coastal walks into a spectacular visitor and recreational experience. 

This is also a plan that recognises opportunities for the Illawarra Shoalhaven to be a leading region in terms of responding to climate change and embracing innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset to drive sustainable growth.