Member for Wollongong Paul Scully has this afternoon slammed the State Government for compromising the economic future of the Illawarra by “neglect, inaction and complete lack of ambition” for not progressing with key infrastructure projects, including the Maldon-Dombarton rail link.
Mr Scully’s impassioned speech on the floor of the Legislative Assembly this afternoon followed the release of Infrastructure Australia’s Priority Infrastructure List for 2017 last week, which failed to designate any Illawarra infrastructure project as a priority.
Mr Scully outlined just how important the Maldon-Dombarton rail project was to the economic future of the Illawarra in three key ways:
- A direct link between the Port Kembla to south-west and Western Sydney;
- Potential to untangle the passenger and freight-handling task on the Illawarra and South Coast Lines, and;
- Freeing up and increasing commuter services between Wollongong and Sydney.
Mr Scully’s speech drew attention to the $50 million pledged by both Federal and State Labor towards foundation capital to work with the private sector on building the Maldon-Dombarton rail link.
Key speech excerpts from Private Members Statement by Paul Scully MP:
“…the economic future of the Illawarra region continues to be compromised by the neglect, inaction and complete lack of ambition of the Federal and State Liberal Governments.”
“The Maldon-Dombarton rail link is arguably the most cursed rail infrastructure project in Australia.
“When there is a resources boom everyone starts looking to the Maldon-Dombarton rail project to relieve capacity constraints.
“When the boom busts, interest in the Maldon-Dombarton rail link fades until the next resources boom is underway and the cycle starts all over again.
“This has been the fate of the Maldon-Dombarton rail project for the last 34 years.”
“The Liberals at federal and state level may hate the Maldon-Dombarton project because it competes for funding with other infrastructure projects, mainly in Sydney.
“But Labor can see what the Maldon-Dombarton project means for the Illawarra region in terms of jobs and business opportunities.”
“Improving links between the growing community of south-west Sydney and the Illawarra underpins jobs growth so that people in both communities have a better chance at getting a job close to where they live – allowing them to spend more time with their families and less time on congested transport networks.
“Labor remains ready and willing to invest in the Illawarra’s future but the Liberals seem set in their ways – short changing us at every opportunity.
“It is deeply disappointing that the current federal and state Liberal Governments don’t share the ambition Labor has for the Illawarra’s future.”