The Kembla Grange rail derailment should be a "wake-up call" for government, Whitlam MP Stephen Jones told federal parliament yesterday.
Mr Jones said despite a burgeoning population, the West Dapto area was lacking vital infrastructure including adequate rail and road systems.
He gave a shout out to the emergency services, and acknowledged the "harrowing experience" of the train driver who was trapped in the wreckage for some time.
"The sight of a four-car train flipped onto its side is going to be confronting and concerning for the thousands of Illawarra residents who use that same service every week," Mr Jones said.
"...Given that the derailment happened at 4am in the morning we can only shudder to think what would have happened if this incident had occurred just an hour or two later when the trains are packed.
"While we can be thankful that the loss of life and serious injury have been avoided in this instance, this is a wake-up call.
"Our community is growing quickly .. unfortunately the pace of infrastructure growth has not kept up with population growth."
Mr Jones said while he would not pre-empt the outcome of the police investigation, it was clear that better infrastructure was needed.
"The place where this incident occurred, just a few years ago these were cow paddocks," he said, "and the roads and infrastructure that service these communities are fit for cow paddocks but not for a growing urban area."
".. It's not too early to observe that clearly there is a need to provide better infrastructure in this area, we need to improve the roads and the rail crossings. There are three level rail crossings serving the roads into the West Dapto area, they are not fit for purpose.
"We cannot just plonk suburbs in the middle of cow paddocks and think that these incidents will not occur. This is a wake-up call. We must listen to it. Better roads, better schools, safer crossings."