The Maldon-Dombarton line "stacked up" more than a decade ago, and it's even more important now, said federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese.
The leader visited the Illawarra on Tuesday and spent the morning talking with the Illawarra Business Chamber, RDA Illawarra, Wollongong City Council and the South Coast Labour Council.
The Maldon-Dombarton line has long been a key issue for Labor in the Illawarra and Mr Albanese said it was still on the agenda.
"We committed $50 million in the lead-up to the last election," Mr Albanese said.
"The federal government, the state government should work with the private sector to ensure this project happens.
"It's even more important now because it can link up with passenger movements as well, going to the southwest growth centre around the Aerotropolis at Badgerys Creek airport.
"This is a project that has stacked up for a long period of time and what we know is there were private sector investors coming forward to us when we were in government."
Along with the freight line, other important infrastructure projects included bringing Appin and Picton roads up to motorway standard - which would provide both safety benefits and an economic boost.
He criticised the Coalition over a 2016 promise to fund improvements to Appin Road. Another election has taken place and the work has still not begun.
"I'm perplexed as to why it has taken so long on Appin Road," he said.
"We made a commitment before the 2016 election, so did the Coalition. They got elected and nothing's happened."
The Labor leader was also asked about Wollongong City Council's decision to declare a climate emergency and whether a Labor government would do likewise.
"What we would do is actually act on climate change," he said.
"It's not surprising that other levels of government are trying to step in to make a statement, because what we see is a failure of government action."