Cunningham MP Sharon Bird was disappointed that the Maldon-Dombarton rail line didn’t rate a mention in the federal budget.
The 34-kilometre line has been touted as the missing link in the Illawarra rail network as it would take freight trains off the commuter line.
While Treasurer Scott Morrison did announce a $10 billion National Rail Program, the Maldon-Dombarton line didn’t appear.
Ms Bird said she would be following this up with Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester.
“I’ll be writing to him and making it clear that the priorities they’re claiming to be delivering on – getting regional economies moving, getting them connected to markets and ports – the Maldon-Dombarton ticks all of those boxes,” she said.
“It really should be progressed, so I’m going to seek advice on where they may have some capacity to put some money on the table and get that moving.”
State Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward has been actively calling for the federal government to spend more in the region – particularly when it comes to upgrades of the Princes Highway.
He was pleased to see $13.8 million for a road project to connect Illaroo and Moss Vale roads in Nowra, which “will help ease congestion on one of the busiest local roads”.
He also welcomed $4 million for planning the third Shoalhaven River crossing.
But he was concerned there was no funding commitment for the third stage of the Princes Highway upgrades.
Mr Ward said the first two stages, as well as upgrades at South Nowra, Termeil and Burrill Lake had all been funded by the state government.
“From my point of view I think it’s important the federal government realises the potential in this region and that they invest in projects that make a real difference,” Mr Ward said.
“The commonwealth has a bigger chequebook than we do. But all of these projects, the main driver is the NSW government.
“All we want is partnerships and I encourage the federal government to work with us and not ignore us.”
Illawarra Business Chamber CEO Chris Lamont said the $5.3 billion for the Badgery’s Creek airport was good news for the Illawarra.
“The growth of greater Sydney and the potential employment and investment opportunities for the Illawarra from Badgery’s Creek are enormous,” Mr Lamont said.
“This is an asset that will boost tourism, general business investment and provide short-term employment opportunities for the region.”
Mr Lamont said the Maldon-Dombarton rail line should be funded from the federal government’s new National Rail Program.