Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones today welcomed the announcement by Infrastructure Australia that the Maldon Dombarton Rail Link was listed as an initiative on the Infrastructure Priority List but indicated they would be seeking an urgent meeting with new Infrastructure Minister, Darren Chester, to ensure that the project progresses.
The Australian Infrastructure Plan has identified that “Port Kembla would face capacity constraints in the absence of any additional rail network improvements”. The Plan also noted that Port Kembla is a significant economic asset.
Sharon Bird expressed her disappointment that the State Government had failed to progress the project.
“I have campaigned on this project for over a decade, and it is frustrating to see the project bounced around between the State and Federal Governments and I just hope that this time we can get the rail link built,” Sharon Bird said.
“Labor spent $25.5 million for preparatory work to get the project shovel ready and then committed an additional $50 million in seed funding – which the Federal Government axed when they were elected in 2013.
“It was then passed by the Liberal Federal Government to the Liberal State Government who then sought funding through the private sector before finding it all too hard.
“I just hope that this time we can move it forward so that the region can benefit from the economic injection of the actual construction of the line and through the benefits that the freight link will bring through a direct connection to south-west Sydney which will open up new opportunities for employment.
Stephen Jones said that with the region suffering job losses in manufacturing and mining, the construction of the Maldon Dombarton Rail Link would provide a much needed economic boost to the region.
“We have seen job losses at BlueScope and closures of coal mines across the Illawarra. Construction of the rail link would provide many much-needed jobs for the region.
“The rail link will also mean fewer freight trains on the South Coast line which will help to take pressure off the commuter rail line.
The Local MPs said that it was vital for the region that the project gets up and running and does not continue to be passed back and forth between the State Government and the Federal Government.