The Infrastructure Australia Priority List released today highlights a lack of freight rail access to Port Kembla as a priority in next 5 years, but the Illawarra Business Chamber is concerned that there is currently no commitment from either level of government to addressing it.
The report also lists safety and capacity upgrades to Picton Road as a priority project, but stops short of recommending the major upgrade to motorway standard required by 2025 recommended by the Illawarra First/NRMA Road Connectivity Report from May last year.
Other priority projects highlighted that service the Illawarra economy include the F6 Extension, a major infrastructure priority for the Illawarra Business Chamber, and corridor preservation for the M9 Outer Sydney Orbital road. The NSW Government’s work on these projects is welcome.
“It makes for concerning reading when you have the federal government’s independent infrastructure advisor indicating that a lack of suitable freight rail access to Port Kembla is causing services to be held for up to 11 hours while there is no solution on the table,” said Adam Zarth, Executive Director of the Illawarra Business Chamber.
“Infrastructure Australia considers freight access for Port Kembla as a priority initiative with a problem timescale of 0 to 5 years, and based on the evidence we have produced we have to agree.”
“The construction of the South West Illawarra Rail Link (or SWIRL), linking Port Kembla to Western Sydney along the existing Maldon Dombarton corridor has been assessed as having a Cost-Benefit Ratio of 1.13 and is our key regional priority heading into the state election next month.”
“Yesterday the Opposition restated its commitment to completing the Maldon Dombarton line if elected. I welcome their commitment of $50 million of foundation capital to work with the private sector.”
“Infrastructure Australia have been clear that they expect the NSW Government, listed as the proponent, to identify solutions, and the Illawarra Business Chamber considers it vital that the government outline what it will do to address this looming burden on our existing road and rail networks.”
The call comes as the peak body for the agricultural sector, NSW Farmers, have today called on the NSW Government for greater investment in linking western NSW to ports including Wollongong, as those currently in place act as a significant barrier to the growth of that sector also.
Illawarra Transport Priority List
|Transport upgrade||Required by||Reduction in travel time||Economic benefits (to the Illawarra) per annum||Cost (est.)||Source|
|South West Illawarra Rail Link||2028||(To Campbelltown) 31 minutes
|$74 million||$1.7 billion||Illawarra First Rail Connectivity Study, SMART Infrastructure Facility, University of Wollongong, Aug 2017|
|Mt Ousley Interchange and Widening projects||2025||TBC||$46 million||$220-330 million (widening project)||Illawarra First/NRMA Road Connectivity Study, VLC, May 2018|
|Picton Road Upgrade (dual carriageway)||2025||TBC||$42 million||$180-220 million||Illawarra First/NRMA Road Connectivity Study, VLC, May 2018|
|F6 Extension (Stages 1, 2 & 3 to Loftus)||2025||(To Sydney CBD)
|$67 million||$8.6-10.4 billion||Illawarra First/NRMA Road Connectivity Study, VLC, May 2018|
|South Coast Line upgrade||2030||(To Central Station)
|$55 million||$2 billion||Illawarra First Rail Connectivity Study, SMART Infrastructure Facility, University of Wollongong|
Links to sources