The Maldon-Dombarton rail line has received a big setback, after Infrastructure Australia recommended it not receive federal funding.
The partially constructed 35km rail line would allow for the transportation of freight to and from Port Kembla without using the South Coast line or the road network.
In its evaluation, Infrastructure Australia (IA) found the line “would not justify its costs”.
“Given there is sufficient capacity on the existing lines to meet projected rail freight demand in the medium term and, given the project would impose a net cost on the Australian economy and not justify its costs, Infrastructure Australia has not placed the project on the Infrastructure Priority List at this time,” it stated in the evaluation.
It recommended looking for “alternative interventions to improve freight rail access to Port Kembla”.
The government appears to be taking IA’s advice and not funding the freight line
During a Senate Estimates hearing into regional transport on Monday, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development secretary Mike Mrdak said government money would be unlikely.
“I don’t think at this stage the Commonwealth will look at that project again given the IA assessment,” the representative told the Senate hearing.
The federal and state governments have worked together to provide funding for the line.
In 2014 the NSW government looked to the private sector for expressions of interest in building the Maldon-Dombarton rail line but no suitable applicants were found.
When in power, the Labor party put forward funding for the freight rail link and Cunningham’s Sharon Bird was unhappy the project was being overlooked.
“It’s extremely frustrating that we have both a state and federal government who seem oblivious to the transport issues in our region and the importance of the Maldon-Dombarton as a key piece of infrastructure not only to resolving congestion issues but to opening our region for more job creating opportunities,” Ms Bird said.