May 7, 2017

Budget must fund Port Botany freight rail duplication

Malcolm Turnbull should use Tuesday’s Budget to deliver major productivity gains for Sydney by investing funds to finish the duplication of the freight rail line to Port Botany.

This funding was cut by the Coalition Government in its 2014 Budget. The final section of the Southern Sydney Freight Rail Line from Mascot to Port Botany remains a single line.

This means that if one train is coming in or out of the port, trains travelling in the other direction must wait.

Completing the duplication of the line would reduce delays and boost productivity.

For any Government interested in infrastructure investment as a driver of economic productivity, the Port Botany Freight Line duplication is a no brainer.

That is why the former Labor Government allocated money for planning for the project in its 2013 Budget and also committed funding in the 2016 election campaign.

But the Coalition has failed to back the Port Botany project.

It should also deliver a crossing loop at Warwick Farm near the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal, which would also deliver major productivity benefits.

On Tuesday Mr Turnbull, who talks a lot about connectivity and economic productivity, must match his rhetoric with action.