A NSW Government website

A region that values its people and places

Illawarra Shoalhaven Regional Plan 2041

As the Illawarra Shoalhaven’s population grows and changes, the proportion of older people is increasing, average household size is getting smaller, and there is demand for tourism-related housing.

Population projections are based on what we believe is most likely to happen in the future. However we also know that the future is uncertain. Unexpected events may alter the future levels of population growth. So other population outlooks should be considered. By changing the levels of births, deaths and migration, based on how they varied in recent years, we can get a range of future populations. The NSW Government regularly reviews population projections to remain responsive to changes including expected events.

The region will need at least an additional 58,000 homes by 2041. Councils will outline how housing growth is to be managed and identify the right locations for additional housing supply through local strategic planning statements and local housing strategies. The region will need at least an additional 58,000 homes by 2041. Councils will outline how housing growth is to be managed and identify the right locations for additional housing supply through local strategic planning statements and local housing strategies.

The Regional Plan encourages a diverse and affordable range of housing from apartments in Metro Wollongong, Shellharbour City Centre and Nowra City Centre, to villas and townhouses in strategic centres. New housing will offer a diversity of lot sizes or bedroom numbers to suit seniors, students and people with a disability, as well as being more affordable and sustainable.

More housing choice will meet the needs of the growing population and entice people to relocate to the region to take advantage of the changing nature of work. The regionally significant growth areas of West Lake Illawarra and Nowra Bomaderry have a combined capacity to provide 37,600 new dwellings, with 17,000 currently zoned for development.

To support new communities, local centres will provide shopping services, community services and jobs. These local centres will be developed with active and public transport connections to enhance accessibility to diverse employment opportunities, retail, health and education facilities.

As places grow and change, distinctive local character will be protected, while cultural heritage values will be embraced. Public open space and cultural facilities will be accessible and vibrant, the role of arts and cultural experiences in public spaces will be enhanced, and sufficient space for cemeteries and crematoria will be considered.

An innovative approach to sustainability and resilience will be prioritised as places are developed or revitalised. Councils will incentivise and promote the value of neighbourhood and building design that encourages the take up of solar photovoltaic systems, battery storage, virtual power plants, and water efficiency measures. This includes fully integrated water supply that incorporates wastewater capture and water recycling, harvested stormwater and water sensitive urban design. Resilience to extreme weather will be promoted through climate resilient design including passive cooling, green infrastructure, thermal efficiency and fire and storm resistance.

For further details, read the Illawarra Shoalhaven Regional Plan 2041 (PDF, 15.0 MB)


The following outlines the objectives under theme 3 - A region that values its people and places: 

Provide housing supply in the right locations

To meet the demand for 58,000 new houses to 2041, a balanced approach will provide housing opportunities in urban release areas and existing urban areas.

Deliver housing that is more diverse and affordable

Households in the Illawarra Shoalhaven have varying needs and budgets and as such they require a range of housing types across the housing continuum. Living in an affordable situation means people have more flexibility in where they choose to live, helps them feel part of their community, and leads to a more even distribution of wealth in the community.

Establish a shared vision for the future of Bombo Quarry lands

Bombo Quarry is a 114-hectare regionally significant site long recognised for its potential reuse for employment and residential needs. The Quarry has supplied hard-rock resources to the Illawarra and Sydney construction markets since the 1940s, providing rail ballast, aggregate and road-based products.

Respond to the changing needs of local neighbourhoods

Restrictions introduced to manage COVID-19 forced a shift in working lives. With many people working from home, more people engage with their local neighbourhood centres and walk or shop locally. This presents benefits such as healthier communities and less pressure on transport networks.

Embrace and respect the region’s local character

Neighbourhoods in the Illawarra Shoalhaven are rich in diversity, heritage and character, including rural villages such as Jamberoo, charming historic towns such as Berry, vibrant tourist destinations such as Gerringong, and relaxed villages along the coastline. These places are highly valued and offer a distinct character and lifestyle. They are the places where communities live and spend leisure time, and where people connect and interact.

Celebrate, conserve and reuse cultural heritage

The Illawarra Shoalhaven has a rich and diverse heritage with strong links between Aboriginal communities and the region’s coast and the escarpment, as well as townships associated with early European colonisation, including Mount Kembla. The region’s heritage is part of its identity and character and could generate greater economic value, particularly through cultural tourism.

Support major events, public art and cultural activities

The region is home to the Wollongong Art Gallery, the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, the Shellharbour Civic Centre, the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre, a world-class equestrian centre at Willinga Park, and the Bundanon Trust’s arts and cultural institution at Riversdale.