Wran remembered by Illawarra pollies

Neville Wran shares a laugh at the opening of the Port Kembla grain terminal in 1985.

Neville Wran shares a laugh at the opening of the Port Kembla grain terminal in 1985.

Illawarra Labor politicians on Monday described former premier Neville Wran as one of the party's greats.

Mr Wran died in Sydney on Sunday, aged 87, after a long battle with dementia.

He was premier of NSW from 1976 to 1986, coming to power at a time when the federal Labor Party was in disarray following the dismissal of Gough Whitlam's government in 1975.

He went on to win another three elections in a row before making the surprise decision to step aside as premier.

Federal Member for Throsby Stephen Jones MP described Mr Wran as "a giant for the NSW labour movement".

Neville Wran takes the controls of the new XPT train in 1981.

Neville Wran takes the controls of the new XPT train in 1981.

"He was one of our finest premiers, perhaps our greatest," Mr Jones said.

"After we lost the 1975 federal election, he showed a way forward for the party."

Mr Jones said the many infrastructure projects started under Mr Wran stood as testimony to his leadership.

"He left a great legacy of public works," he said.

"He was responsible for Darling Harbour and he also got work going on the Sydney Harbour Tunnel, which was built with steel from the Port Kembla steelworks."

Federal Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird MP said the Illawarra was still benefiting from projects undertaken by the Wran government.

Neville Wran sets off the charges to start work on the Maldon-Dombarton line in 1983 .

Neville Wran sets off the charges to start work on the Maldon-Dombarton line in 1983 .

"Neville Wran was a leader who really looked to invest in infrastructure and who put a focus on the regions," she said.

"He left an enormous legacy for the Illawarra in public transport, in the expansion of the port at Port Kembla and in starting work on the Maldon-Dombarton line.

"The Wran government initiated the Maldon-Dombarton line and then, unfortunately, when [Nick] Greiner was elected he put a stop to it and we've been trying to get it started again ever since.

"People will remember him as a great Labor leader, as someone who was dedicated to employment, to health and to education."

State Member for Keira Ryan Park MP pointed to the electrification of the South Coast rail line as one of Mr Wran's lasting achievements.

"He was proven right in undertaking that and it's an accomplishment that Illawarra commuters can still be thankful for today," he said.

"It's a very sad day."

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