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Illawarra Shoalhaven Regional Plan 2041

Overview of Illawarra Shoalhaven Regional Plan

The Illawarra Shoalhaven Regional Plan 2041 (PDF, 15.0 MB) is the NSW Government’s strategic blueprint for the region. It will guide decisions about how land is used in the Illawarra Shoalhaven region for the next 20 years.

The regional plan comprises 4 themes and 30 objectives. The objectives are supported by 9 actions and 9 collaboration activities that will help to deliver the vision for the Illawarra Shoalhaven region. Priorities for the Illawarra Shoalhaven are economic and jobs growth, providing a variety of housing choice to meet demand, and environmental protection.

The re-established Coordination and Monitoring Committee (CMC) is overseeing the implementation of the regional plan, as set out in the Implementation Plan 2021 to 2026 (PDF, 1.6 MB). The CMC gives advice and guidance. It also plays a reporting role to ensure relevant stakeholders are informed and included in the completion of each action and collaboration activity. The Department of Planning and Environment coordinates the CMC.

This reporting dashboard will be updated annually, or where identified as an action by the CMC.

Summary of actions

Action 1: Develop a Metro Wollongong health precinct strategy

Status: In progress

Project update: the project will be completed in 2 stages. The first stage, which involved scoping, creating a baseline and engagement with key stakeholders, has been completed. The department is now progressing the Health Precinct Strategy for completion over the next 24 months.

A strategy for the health precinct can help to strengthen metropolitan Wollongong as a connected, innovative and progressive city, and improve its potential for growth.

The department, NSW Health, Transport for NSW, Wollongong City Council and other relevant stakeholders will work together to transform the health precinct. It will change from an area with a collection of health and medical-related uses into a nationally significant health precinct, supporting prosperity and attracting private sector investment and business.

A strategy for metropolitan Wollongong’s health precinct will consider and identify: 

  • Growth needs of the Wollongong Public Hospital.
  • Opportunities for a central meeting place that incorporates green infrastructure (a network of green spaces and natural systems).
  • Ways to improve the safety and amenity of connections between the health precinct, Wollongong train station and the commercial core.
  • Ways to encourage a mix of health and medical uses and higher density living future opportunities for health and medical industry innovation that builds on Wollongong’s research capabilities.
Action 2: Develop Nowra’s city centre strategic roadmap to set a vision, identify actions and guide interagency and intergovernmental collaboration

Status: In progress

Project update: initial baseline analysis is underway, which will include stakeholder engagement and visioning for the Nowra Strategic Centre.

The department, together with Shoalhaven City Council, Transport for NSW, NSW Health, Regional NSW and other relevant stakeholders will develop a strategic roadmap to set a vision and associated actions to guide interagency and intergovernmental collaboration for Nowra City Centre. 

The strategic roadmap for Nowra’s city centre will identify:

  • Opportunities to build on and coordinate investments into the Nowra Bridge, Riverfront Precinct, and Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital.
  • The capacity for growth of Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital, including opportunities for expansion, and complementary land uses around the hospital.
  • Clear planning and approval pathways and remove planning barriers that may be inhibiting increased residential development.
  • Options to improve walking and cycling connections between the Nowra Bridge, Riverfront Precinct, hospital and commercial area.
  • Guidance on decision-making for infrastructure and service delivery, including public domain improvements, green infrastructure, open space and walking and cycling connections.

Collaboration Activity 5 partly supports the completion of this action. It relates to the Nowra Riverfront Activation Taskforce’s planning for the Nowra Riverfront.

Action 3: Develop precinct profiles for the regionally significant employment lands and where required, establish precinct collaboration teams to activate land for economic growth

Status: In progress

Project update: the Port Kembla Regionally Significant Employment Precinct Profile (PDF, 3.0 MB) has been completed. The department is scoping other profiles including Shellharbour Airport and South Nowra Employment Precinct.

Precinct profiles can help promote development in the region’s regionally significant employment precincts to support new and innovative economic enterprises. Regionally significant employment precincts include: 

  • Port Kembla 
  • West Dapto Employment Lands 
  • Tallawarra Employment Lands 
  • Shellharbour Airport Employment Precinct 
  • Shell Cove Business and Technology Park 
  • South Nowra Employment Precinct
  • Albatross Aviation Technology Park

The department, together with councils, relevant state agencies, landholders and the development industry, will develop precinct profiles that identify each area’s:

  • future role
  • land requirements to support targeted industries 
  • infrastructure and servicing requirements 
  • existing land constraints 
  • enabling and simplified planning controls 
  • potential pathways for planning approvals to support simplification.

Precinct profiles will identify key stakeholders and, where required, a precinct collaboration team to activate the precinct.

Action 4: Develop a resilience benchmarking matrix tool to identify where councils can increase resilience in the land-use planning system

Status: Completed

Project update: this action has been completed. The department has developed a resilience benchmarking matrix tool (PDF, 52.7 KB) .

A tool to benchmark resilience can help build communities and places that can withstand and recover from natural hazards and disasters.

Councils can use this to identify how they can become more resilient and progress from baseline-level resilience through to best practice. The benchmarking tool will:

  • Help councils to increase their resilience, identifying where they can increase their communities’ resilience to shocks and stresses within the land-use planning system.
  • Guide and support councils to build on projects and programs they may already have underway to increase resilience.
Action 5: Develop the Illawarra–Shoalhaven Green Grid to identify priority projects for enhancement

Status: Not commenced

Project update: the department will give an update within the next reporting period. 

A green grid – a network of open public spaces – can enhance and connect parks, open spaces and bushland with walking and cycling paths.

The department, together with councils and Transport for NSW, will develop a green grid to give a spatial understanding of the open space network within the region. This will identify how to improve and better connect existing open spaces, allowing the NSW Government and councils to identify long-term and large-scale open space priorities.

Action 6: Develop a Illawarra–Shoalhaven sustainability roadmap that identifies innovative initiatives that can be delivered through an ecosystem of collaboration

Status: In progress

Project update: the department is currently undertaking relevant research, case studies and stakeholder engagement to inform the strategic roadmap.

A sustainability roadmap can help in planning for a region with net zero emissions by 2050.

The department will work closely with relevant stakeholders to establish a roadmap of initiatives. These will support business and industry to improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions and encourage the use of renewables.

Action 7: Develop a sustainability framework for regionally significant precincts to promote carbon-neutral, sustainable growth and development

Status: Not commenced

Project update: the department will give an update within the next reporting period.

A sustainability framework can help in planning for a region with net zero emissions by 2050.

The department, in consultation with councils, relevant state agencies and the development industry, will develop a sustainability framework for regionally significant precincts. This will identify opportunities specific to particular employment precincts, growth areas and centres, which may include:

  • renewable energy 
  • water cycling management
  • building design 
  • circular economy
  • transport
  • smart technology 
  • connection to Country
  • green or public spaces
  • climate change adaptation.

Councils and agencies can use the framework to encourage the planning, design and operation of the precinct over time to incorporate more opportunities for sustainability.

Action 8: Establish the Illawarra Shoalhaven Affordable Housing Roundtable with councils, community housing providers, the development industry and the NSW Government

Status: Completed

Project update: the Affordable Housing Roundtable has been established to collaborate, build knowledge and identify barriers to increasing the supply of affordable housing and is operating under an agreed Terms of Reference. The roundtable will continue to meet as part of an ongoing program. 

A roundtable will support collaboration and knowledge-building to increase the supply of more diverse and affordable housing.

The department will establish the Illawarra Shoalhaven Affordable Housing Roundtable, a collaborative, multi-stakeholder forum to share and build on stakeholder knowledge and expertise. Its aim will be to increase the supply of affordable housing in the region. The department will investigate affordable housing targets in consultation with the Illawarra Shoalhaven Affordable Housing Roundtable.

To learn more, read the Illawarra Shoalhaven Affordable Housing Roundtable terms of reference (PDF, 153 KB).

Action 9: Develop a shared vision for the future of Bombo Quarry, in collaboration with Kiama Municipal Council, landowners and the community

Status: Not commenced

Project update: this action is being scoped to understand project timelines and how to best engage with identified stakeholders.

The future use of the Bombo Quarry site requires a shared vision.

The department, in collaboration with council, Transport for NSW, landholders and the community, will develop a vision for the quarry. This will inform its future use and the quarry’s transition as its operational life comes to an end. This will include:

  • Understanding the remaining operational lifespan of the quarry.
  • Investigating the mix of future employment, housing and recreational use.
  • Considering opportunities to contribute to the open space network.
  • Evaluating how best to connect the site with surrounding areas.


Summary of collaboration activities

Collaboration activities include important initiatives led by state agencies, local councils or other bodies. These are key activities that will help the region achieve the objectives of the regional plan, and in which the department’s Local and Regional Planning team will actively participate.

Activity Summary Activity status
1 Work with Venues NSW, Wollongong City Council and Department of Regional NSW on the revitalisation and activation of the Metro Wollongong Sports and Entertainment Precinct and foreshore. In progress
2 Engage with University of Wollongong as it leads a review and refresh of the Innovation Campus Masterplan. In progress
3 Work with Transport for NSW and Wollongong City Council on a place based transport plan for Wollongong. Not commenced
4 Work with Transport for NSW and Shoalhaven City Council on a place based transport plan for Nowra City Centre. Not commenced
5 Work with Shoalhaven City Council, Department of Regional NSW, Transport for NSW, Department of Health and other relevant stakeholders to drive the revitalisation of the Nowra Riverfront and assist in fast-tracking development of the precinct. In progress
6 Work with councils, Transport for NSW, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Regional NSW, Destination NSW and community groups to identify opportunities to improve connections between existing coastal walks throughout the region. In progress
7 Work with the Energy Corporation of NSW, the Renewable Energy Sector Board, councils, Aboriginal and community stakeholders to develop the Illawarra Renewable Energy Zone. In progress
8 Work with Kiama Municipal Council on the development of a local housing strategy. In progress
9 Work with Transport for NSW on the NSW Fast Rail Network Strategy and identify opportunities to build on investment at a regional and local scale. In progress