A Shorten Labor Government would provide $50 million in investment to work on the completion of the long-stalled Maldon-Dombarton rail link to boost productivity and promote growth in the Illawarra region.
Federal Labor calls on the NSW Government to match this commitment.
Completing the Maldon-Dombarton rail project, which is part-built, would provide a 35 kilometre rail link between Port Kembla and south-west Sydney.
The NSW Government’s Maldon-Dombarton Rail Link Final Business Case detailed a damning assessment of the region’s current infrastructure capability. It made clear that freight train paths on the Illawarra Line will be cut dramatically from 60 to just eight paths per day.
By 2031, freight operations could be confined solely to “night time only”.
Connecting the line from the port through to the Main South Line at Picton would be a boon for freight logistics in Illawarra and south-western Sydney, expanding business opportunities and creating new jobs across the region.
The project would also create hundreds of local jobs in its construction phase.
Completing the rail link would involve building a 4 kilometre tunnel – one of the longest freight rail tunnels in Australia, high bridges over the Cordeaux and Nepean Rivers, a crossing beneath the Hume Highway, road overbridges, track construction, signalling systems and ancillary infrastructure.
The Maldon-Dombarton Link would also benefit commuters on overcrowded trains moving between the Illawarra and Sydney on the South Coast Line by taking freight rail off the line and clearing the way for more commuter passenger services.
Federal Labor is determined to promote economic development in regional Australia by backing projects such as the Maldon-Dombarton line.
Indeed, the former Federal Labor Government provided $25.5 million for the planning, geotechnical and engineering studies required.
But the NSW Government has refused to progress this important project and the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has shown no leadership to deliver this vital piece of infrastructure in the interests of regional economic development.
It will take a Shorten Labor Government to get this important infrastructure project back on track for the Illawarra and surrounding region.