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A Bill Shorten-led Labor Government would provide $50 million in funding to work on completing the Maldon to Dombarton rail link in the Illawarra region of New South Wales.
Labor announced on Monday it would push for the completion of the link, one of Australia’s longest-discussed and longest-stalled freight rail projects.
The project would provide a 35-kilometre link between Sydney’s southwest and Port Kembla, the Wollongong region’s major port.
The rail link would include a four-kilometre tunnel, which would be one of the longest freight tunnels in Australia if built. It would also require high bridges over the Cordeaux and Nepean Rivers, along with a crossing under the Hume Highway.
In making the funding announcement, Labor pointed to a NSW Government business case for the Maldon-Dombarton Rail Link, which suggested by 2031, additional passenger train activity could confine freight movements on the existing Illawarra line to “night time only”.
“Connecting the line from the port through to the Main South Line at Picton would be a boon for freight logistics in Illawarra and south-western Sydney, expanding business opportunities and creating new jobs across the region,” shadow infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese said.
“The Maldon-Dombarton Link would also benefit commuters on overcrowded trains moving between the Illawarra and Sydney on the South Coast line by taking freight rail off the line and clearing the way for more commuter passenger services.”
The previous Federal Labor Government committed $25.5 million for planning, geotechnical and engineering studies into the project, but the LNP has “shown no leadership” at the federal level, and “refused to progress” the project at the state level, Albanese said.
This article first appeared on www.railexpress.com.au
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