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Opposition leader Bill Shorten promised a working rail link to the Western Sydney Airport from the day it opens during his second visit to the Macarthur region in a week.
Mr Shorten was joined by opposition transport and infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese at the Dickson Rd Bridge overlooking Leppington Station for the announcement today.
Labor will commit $400 million to extending the South West Rail Link from Leppington to the new airport via Bringelly and will build a new outer orbital train line connecting the airport to Campbelltown and St Marys further north. There are no details as yet on the route from the airport to Campbelltown.
Mr Shorten committed to having the Leppington extension completed on the day the Badgerys Creek airport opens in 2026 if Labor is returned to power at the next federal election.
“We’ll start on our first stage of building a rail link between Leppington via Bringelly to the Western Sydney Airport,” he said.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten and transport spokesman Anthony Albanese promise to establish a rail network by the opening of the Badgerys Creek airport if Labor is elected. Picture: Robert Pozo“We would start the work to build a railway line from Macarthur in the south to St Marys in the North.
“This policy will deliver more jobs and better public transport and less congestion.
“So far the Liberals have not committed to a timetable on western Sydney rail.”
Mr Shorten called on the government to announce its rail plans in the upcoming budget on May 9.
Mr Shorten told the Macarthur Chronicle that he understood residents’ frustrations with roads and public transport in the region.
“The suburbs have expanded but there hasn’t been a lot of thought put into the planning of them and how people move around,” he said.
“There’s been a focus in Sydney on everything running into the CBD, that’s not a sustainable organisation for large mega-communities like Sydney.”
When asked about a lack of infrastructure development under the watch of the previous NSW Labor government, Mr Shorten said today’s government should also be judged on its actions.
“How long have the Liberals been in power for? When do they accept any responsibility for what hasn’t happened on their watch,” he said.
“It’s making sure that we listen to people, you’ve got to travel the roads here and be in the community to understand what people are experiencing and once you do you realise roads are a source of frustration, public transport is a source.”
Labor will commit $400 million to establishing the rail network. Picture: Robert Pozo“It would be a real mistake to open the airport without the rail.”
Mr Albanese said the first priority would be to establish the connection from Leppington before connecting Campbelltown.
“First you’d do the Leppington extension, but then from the airport down to Campbelltown and up to Penrith, you’d sit down and get the private sector financing, you sit down and get the state government who have responsibility for it,’’ he said.
“What we’re saying is that from day one, we have money on the table, the state government have been critical of it today but they’ve got nothing on the table nor does the federal government.
“It should all be connected by the time the airport is opened, day one.”
This article first appeared on www.dailytelegraph.com.au
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