Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones today slammed State and Federal governments for the continuing buck passing and inaction on the Maldon Dombarton Rail Link.
The local MPs wrote to NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Duncan Gay, in December seeking clarification as to whether the NSW Government had alternate plans for funding this critically important project.
In his response the Minister has advised that they may be seeking federal government assistance to deliver the project.
“Stephen and I will be writing to Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Warren Truss, seeking a meeting with him to emphasise the importance of the construction of the Maldon Dombarton Rail Link for the lllawarra and strongly convey the frustration of our community about this constant buck-passing,” Sharon Bird said.
“Before the election, Labor committed $25.5 million for preparatory work to get the project shovel ready and then we committed an additional $50 million in seed funding. As soon as the Federal Liberals were elected, they axed the $50 million commitment.
“The rail link is needed to take the pressure off local commuter rail lines and open up a direct rail link from Port Kembla to south-west Sydney providing new opportunities for jobs. This is especially critical given the recent retrenchments in industries such as steel and mining in the Illawarra.
Stephen Jones said that an improved rail service would be a game changer for local communities.
“We have a key economic asset in Pt Kembla but its expansion as a major freight port relies on sorting out the land transport connections.
“This isn’t an indulgence, it is an essential infrastructure project for the region that will pay off in spades for decades to come.
“Fewer freight trains on the South Coast line will make things much easier for commuters.
“We hope the Deputy Prime Minister is able to take the time to meet with us so that he can properly understand the need for the completion of the rail link and new opportunities for employment to grow the economy in the region,” the MPs concluded.