The Liberal Government has confirmed they will not fund the Maldon Dombarton Rail Link have done nothing to progress the Appin Road upgrade.
In Senate Estimates, departmental officials yesterday confirmed that discussions with the NSW Government about the rail line were on hold and the Commonwealth would not look at the project again at this stage.
The Department acknowledged they were aware of recent truck accidents on Mount Ousley recently which have resulted in the Illawarra’s main arterial transport route being cut off for up to four hours during peak periods and that there will be growing pressures in the region. Even with this knowledge, they have completely ruled out progressing the Maldon Dombarton Rail Link under the Liberal Government.
Departmental officials admitted that, almost nine months after the election, they had done little more than make a couple of phone calls to progress the Appin Road upgrade promised during the Federal Election campaign.
Sharon Bird said it was clear that Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Government is ignoring the Illawarra and the pressures the region is facing when it came to transport.
“The Liberal Government is stifling the region’s growth by their refusal to invest in the region and provide adequate transport links to ensure that we can harness investment and employment opportunities to their full extent.
“We have overcrowded commuter trains, major arterial roads being closed in peak periods due to accidents and the Liberal Government sitting on their hands and refusing to engage with the region to help relieve the pressure on our roads and rail links.
“The completion of the Maldon Dombarton Rail Link has been supported by Labor in government and at subsequent elections, it is supported by the business community and by NSW Labor.
Stephen Jones said building the Maldon-Dombarton was an obvious step for the community.
“Building the Maldon-Dombarton is a no-brainer,” said Jones.
“The Sydney-Wollongong road corridor is the busiest in Australia, with over 45,000 vehicles a day.
“Building the Maldon-Dombarton will free up the passenger train line to run more frequent services to Sydney and alleviate pressure on the roads.
“It will also support jobs at the Port and connect the Illawarra to the lucrative markets of Western Sydney and Western NSW.”
The Maldon-Dombarton rail project has been a major priority for Labor. We provided $25.5 million in 2011 for the planning, geotechnical and engineering studies required. At the 2013 and 2016 elections, Labor also pledged $50 million to build the link and called on the NSW Government to match this funding.