Illawarra Rail Line

The member for Cunningham and I would like to warmly welcome over 50 people who have made the long trip to Canberra from the Illawarra today to listen to Labor's budget reply speech. They have come because on Tuesday they listened in horror as the government handed down a budget which put the interests of big business ahead of the needs of battlers.

They watched with jaw-dropping horror as the government confirmed their commitment to deliver an $80 billion tax cut to the big end of town while leaving over 90,000 elderly Australians without the home-care packages that they need.

We have a rail crisis in the Illawarra. The New South Wales government concedes that the rail link between Sydney and the Illawarra will be at full capacity by 2021. That's just three years away. But not only does the New South Wales government, like the federal government, not have a plan; they are part of the problem. They are part of the problem because they've done nothing for over six years. In fact, they've made services worse. But they are also the government parties which cancelled the Maldon to Dombarton rail link, which means we don't have the capacity to get freight rail off the passenger rail system. We need a better deal for the Illawarra than the deal this government is giving us.