Prime Minister Julia Gillard today announced an additional $25.5 million to advance the Maldon to Dombarton Rail Link project for the Illawarra.
The announcement follows a recent feasibility study which concluded a new rail line would support the rapidly expanding resources sector in New South Wales by giving the mining sector more direct access to Port Kembla.
The study found the railway line would also free up capacity along the existing Illawarra Line for additional passenger services.
The final project would involve laying 35 kilometres of standard gauge track connecting the Main North South Line directly to Port Kembla via Dombarton.
This new piece of rail infrastructure would also consist of two passing loops, bridges over the Nepean and Cordeaux Rivers and one of Australia’s longest tunnels (see attached map).
Commencing this financial year, the pre-construction activities will include:
• preparation of detailed design work for civil, structural, geotechnical and track work necessary for the future construction of the project
• finalisation of a realistic construction timetable and cost estimate for the project.
This preparatory work will ensure that the Illawarra region and NSW more broadly is well positioned to act quickly to meet any increased future freight demand.
The additional $25.5 million in Federal Government funding will ensure that this important project is “shovel ready” for the Illawarra.
Once the pre-construction activities are completed, the project will then be considered for inclusion in the next Nation Building Program.
Confirmation that the project will advance to the next stage is a tribute to the local community’s long running campaign and the tireless lobbying efforts of their elected representatives, Sharon Bird MP and Stephen Jones MP.
First mooted in 1979 and then cancelled in 1988 by the incoming Greiner Liberal Government, the Maldon to Dombarton Rail Link has the potential to further cement the Illawarra’s importance as an industrial powerhouse, central to Australia’s continuing economic success.
The Gillard Labor Government’s investment in this project reflects a broader commitment to the renewal of rail in Australia.
Building a faster, safer and more reliable network will boost national productivity, take pressure off the nation’s highways and reduce carbon pollution.
All up, Federal Labor’s unprecedented $3.4 billion rail freight capital works program is rebuilding and modernising more than a third of the Interstate Rail Network – or some 3,800 kilometres of existing track. The full study and its findings are now available at: www.infrastructure.gov.au