Illawarra First

Illawarra First champions the strategic interests of the Illawarra based on a foundation of solid evidence and first-class thought leadership.


Illawarra First is the peak leadership forum in our region, championing the interests of the Illawarra economy to unlock the region’s enormous potential and comprising the heads of its leading organisations as part of a dialogue that incorporates senior decision makers from across government and the private sector.

We work to stimulate our region’s growth with a strong united voice, based on a foundation of solid evidence and first-class thought leadership to progress key priorities including improving connectivity with Sydney, realising greater value from existing strategic infrastructure and leveraging competitive advantages to bolster economic growth.

Wollongong city and Illawarra escarpment
Port Kembla sea port


Illawarra First membership is by invitation only and membership fees are reinvested into the development of further initiatives based on the interests of members and the region.

Our members are deeply involved in our policy development and have the opportunity to influence our research priorities and inform our advocacy efforts to government and key stakeholders.

Through a close engagement with all levels of government and leaders in business, Illawarra First presents a united and sophisticated voice for the region with a clear emphasis on outcomes.

Effective public policy must be evidence based, and so a fund comprising $1 million has been established to support Illawarra First’s thought leadership and advocacy work. The fund is being used to advance research and advocacy projects of region-wide economic significance and influence the reputation of the Illawarra for the better.


Illawarra First members comprise a select group of leading businesses in the Illawarra, sharing a commitment to driving the development and prosperity of the region.

Membership affords access to senior politicians, public servants and business leaders through CEO roundtables and executive forums, which provide a platform for the business leadership group to shape government thinking and policy development.

Members are entitled to a range of benefits including:

  • shaping the policy agenda and advancing ideas that contribute to our region’s economic activity and growth
  • reducing the barriers that threaten competitiveness and long-term development
  • driving advocacy of these policies and strategies to key decision-makers and stakeholders
  • exclusive executive forums, CEO roundtables and consultative briefings providing a unique opportunity to engage with all levels of government, including senior ministers and parliamentarians, bureaucrats and statutory office holders
  • access to all My Business services and events.
Amy Harper, Kells Lawyers (President)

Illawarra First Members


Find out more about how the Illawarra First fund is being used to support our thought leadership and advance research and advocacy projects of region-wide economic significance.