Member for Wollongong Paul Scully Scully said, during a Private Members Statement last night that over the last 10 years the Government’s initiatives on improving the South Coast Line had yielded a faster journey time of just 2 minutes and 12 seconds from Wollongong to Sydney.
Mr Scully said the Government could improve and upgrade the South Coast Line by:
- Starting to untangle the passenger and freight rail task by undertaking work on the Coniston crossovers;
- Committing to the detailed planning work to duplicate the track south of Unanderra to allow for greater frequency of passenger services and cater for the growing population of Dapto;
- Committing to the detailed planning for the completion of the Maldon-Dombarton link, including a passenger component, that would properly connect the Illawarra with south-west Sydney;
- Undertaking timetabling improvements to better connect public transport services within the Illawarra – this will also help reduce private car demand, and;
- Fixing the communications black spots on the South Coast Line.
Mr Scully called on the Minister for Transport and Roads, Andrew Constance to release the McNaughton Report into Faster Rail, which the Government has kept secret.
“I tried to get a copy through freedom of information and was denied – apparently it had been walked over the cabinet room threshold so it could be kept secret.
“...it is time that report was released to the taxpayers who paid for it”, he said.
He said that the Wollongong to Sydney rail corridor suffered from constant wi-fi connectivity drop outs which caused problems keeping in contact with family or undertaking work while travelling.
“Right now we have the capacity to view images and video from the Mars Curiosity Rover but cannot remain connected to communication services the entire distance of a train trip from Sydney to Wollongong”, Mr Scully said.
“The Illawarra risks being isolated unless our rail transport challenge is taken seriously.
“We will have a congested rail line to travel north.
“We won’t have a means of travelling by rail to Sydney’s west and southwest.
“And we will have a population to Wollongong’s immediate south that won’t be catered for at all.
“All these will combine to artificially limit the Illawarra’s economic, jobs and social future and that’s simply not good enough”, Mr Scully said.