Maldon Dombarton Rail Line - Too good to be true?

August 20

Local Federal Members, Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones, today have indicated that they would be writing to State Minister for Roads and Freight, Duncan Gay, to confirm and clarify his comments on ABC Illawarra this morning that the State Government will be seeking private sector interest for the Maldon Dombarton Rail Line.

While welcoming this new information, if it is accurate, the Federal MPs said that they would like to see the details and information on the funding for this next step in the process.

“I have been campaigning to get the Maldon Dombarton Rail Link built for almost a decade.  When I first put forward the idea and started the campaign, people thought it was a waste of time and would never get support,” Sharon Bird said. 

“I am very pleased to hear that the NSW Government is approaching the private sector in an effort to get the rail line built.  This is in stark contrast to the Abbott Government who recently ripped $50 million of seed funding for the Maldon Dombarton line from the Budget. 

“Labor had previously invested $25.5 million for preparatory work to get the project shovel ready.  We then committed an additional $50 million in seed funding,” Stephen Jones said.

“The rail link will mean fewer freight trains on the South Coast Line which will then take the pressure off the commuter rail line.  It will also mean a direct rail link from Port Kembla to south-west Sydney which will open up new opportunities for employment.

Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones will write to Duncan Gay today seeking further details of this announcement.


Bill Shorten: Condolence statement on MH17

July 18

- Parliament House, Canberra, 18 July 2014.

Madam Speaker

I rise to support the words of the Prime Minister – and I thank him for the conversations that we have had this morning.

This news that we woke up to this morning is worse than shocking; it is debilitating, bewildering, with bewildering losses.

Travelling at six miles height, this is unimaginable. This is a violation of the rules of civilisation. It is a tyrannical, wild act.

And I appreciate that when I rang the Prime Minister this morning, he has been most forthcoming and, in a time when international events require one to put aside partisan issues,  I greatly appreciate it.  

I acknowledge too the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and my colleague Tanya Plibersek, who have also been working on this.

As this Parliament convenes, right now and throughout today there will be anxious families having their worst fears confirmed.

3 kilometres from the town of Grabove, near the Russian-Ukranian border, on a patch of disputed ground currently controlled by separatist terrorists, lies the scattered ruin of MH17. 


Abbott Government sends Australia back on climate action

July 18

The only election promise Tony Abbott intends to keep – the repeal of the carbon tax – was passed today by the Senate.

It came after an ordeal of frustration and embarrassment for the Government but will ultimately be an even bigger embarrassment for Australia, which is now the only country in the world to reverse action on climate change.

“History will judge this Government harshly for its refusal to believe that action is needed on climate change”, said Stephen Jones.

“Tony Abbott will do anything to ignore the science of climate change and send Australia backwards. It’s clear that he still thinks it is – in his own words – a “so-called science” and “absolute crap”.

“He has said world leaders shouldn’t bother themselves with tackling climate change. Perhaps the PM should listen to the advice of US President Barack Obama, who said last month:

We have to all shoulder the responsibility for keeping the planet habitable, or we're going to suffer the consequences – together.

-      Barack Obama, June 25, 2014.

“There is no doubt our earth is warming and our seas rising – or that humankind is the cause.


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