Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hit the campaign trail with the Illawarra’s Labor candidates today, handing out a bag of goodies for the region ahead of the election.
In Port Kembla, he announced Labor would provide an extra $50 million towards the construction of the long-awaited Maldon Dombarton freight rail line if re-elected.
The ‘‘seed funding’’ would be used to help attract private investors, who would be called on to finance the remainder of the $500 million track.
Throsby MP Stephen Jones welcomed the announcement, saying he already knew of two consortiums who would be interested in funding the line which would link Port Kembla to Picton through the escarpment.
Earlier in the morning, Mr Albanese visited Kiama Library to mark the turning on of the NBN for an extra 4600 houses in the area.
‘‘Kiama is embracing what the NBN has to offer,’’ he said.
‘‘In the first area that was switched on in Kiama, the take-up is the highest anywhere in the world
He met with a group of Kiama Public School students, who were using the fast broadband to have a virtual lesson at the National Museum.
Mr Albanese also announced $1.25 million for the restoration of Gerringong’s School of Arts and a new historial museum and library, and money for works on the Shellharbour foreshore.
These projects are funded through the Regional Development Australia Fund, which means the money has already been included in the budget and will go ahead regardless of which party wins government.
See more in tomorrow’s Mercury.