Illawarra Labor MPs Sharon Bird and Paul Scully have challenged Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast, Gareth Ward to ‘show us the money’ if his support for the Maldon-Dombarton project is to have any credibility.
The comments follow Mr Ward claiming in an Illawarra Mercury online article published this afternoon that he’ll “sort out” the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey MP, after she indicated last week that the Maldon-Dombarton rail project was not a “high priority” for the State Government.
Infrastructure Australia failed to list the Maldon-Dombarton rail project on the 2017 Infrastructure Priority List a week ago.
Senate Estimates Committee hearings in Canberra recently revealed that Federal and State bureaucrats involved in transport and infrastructure had only had a couple of phone calls to discuss progressing the Maldon-Dombarton project for a significant period of time.
The last time the State Government dealt with the Maldon-Dombarton project was after a failed 12 month long Register of Interest (ROI) process in which two bids from two consortiums were rejected in 2015.
Wollongong MP, Paul Scully delivered a speech in State Parliament last week on the Maldon-Dombarton project highlighting that Federal and State Labor had pledged $50 million each in foundation capital at the 2013 and 2016 Federal elections, and the Wollongong by-election campaign last November.
Comments attributable to Hon Sharon Bird MP:
“I’m happy to see Gareth Ward indicate he supports the Maldon-Dombarton project because we’ve seen precious little action from his Government over the last six years.
“The Maldon-Dombarton rail project has been a major priority for Federal 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.”
Comments attributable to Paul Scully MP:
“Talk is cheap and Gareth Ward’s comments will only have credibility if he puts money on the table in support of the Maldon-Dombarton rail project.
“Sharon Bird and I obtained election funding pledges of $50 million from Federal and State Labor to invest foundation capital to get this important rail infrastructure linking the Illawarra and South-West and Western Sydney started again.
“We’re happy to work with Mr Ward to convince his Government that Maldon-Dombarton is a crucial missing link in the region’s infrastructure puzzle, but he has to show us the money.
“Choreographing a fake fight with your own side will never make up for the last six years where the NSW Government has done zero to put a shovel in the ground for this project.”