Immediately to the south of the greater Sydney region lies the Illawarra region. This area stretches from Helensburgh in the north to Gerroa in the south and encompasses the three local government areas of Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama and has a population of approximately 283,000 people.
Wollongong is home to the largest population of 192,000 and has at its heart manufacturing centres around Bluescope Steel and Port Kembla. The coal mined in the area is used in production of steel which is exported from Port Kembla. The expansion of Port Kembla is an opportunity for the region because it is a deep water port and presents an alternative to Sydney as a cargo handling facility.
Shellharbour has a population of 63,600 and is immediately adjacent to Wollongong, where a large percentage (almost half) of the people commuting to Wollongong. To the south of Shellharbour lies Kiama with a population of 20,000. Kiama is a net exporter of labour with 55% of the population employed elsewhere.
A key opportunity for the region lies in its proximity to Sydney and whether Sydney workers might opt to reside in the Illawarra and commute to Sydney for work.