Labor reaffirms its commitment to Maldon to Dombarton

A re-elected Rudd Labor Government will continue to progress the Maldon to Dombarton Rail Link project, with a further $50 million to be provided as ‘seed’ funding to attract private sector partners to build and operate this important new freight infrastructure.

Only Federal Labor is committed to making this long talked about rail line a reality.

The new funding will add to the investment the Rudd Labor Government is making right now to get this project ‘shovel ready’.  On track to be completed within the next twelve months, this detailed design and planning work will be used to finalise a realistic construction timetable and accurate costings.

After more than two decades of inaction, the progress that’s been made over the past five years is a tribute to the community’s success at keeping the vision alive. I also recognise the tireless lobbying efforts of their local elected representatives, Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones.

We are determined to complete this vital nation building project sooner rather than later.  Doing so would further cement the Illawarra’s status as one of Australia’s most important industrial powerhouses.

However, if Tony Abbott wins, the Illawarra will lose and this rail line will again be put on the backburner.  In fact, Mr Abbott recently declared on local radio (Wave FM, 13 June 2013), “it’s not one of our priorities”.

Let’s not forget the Coalition have form. The project, which commenced under the former NSW Wran Labor Government, was shelved in 1988 by the incoming Liberal Government of Nick Greiner.

The project will involve laying 35 kilometres of standard gauge track connecting Port Kembla to the Main North South Line via Dombarton.  It will also build passing loops and erect bridges over the Nepean and Cordeaux Rivers as well as include one of Australia’s longest tunnels (see attached map).

Since being elected in late 2007, the Federal Labor Government has committed almost $30 million to progress the Maldon to Dombarton Rail Link project, part of our tenfold increase in investment in the nation’s rail infrastructure.  Indeed, we’ve nearly completed rebuilding more than a third of the Interstate Rail Freight Network.

When it comes to infrastructure, Labor always delivers more than the Coalition.

Funding for this project will come from the Nation Building 2 Program, which is already included in the budget.