On Tuesday the 18th October, Prime Minister Julia Gillard visited the port of Port Kembla to deliver some important news for the Illawarra region, announcing an additional $25.5 million to advance the Maldon to Dombarton Rail Link project.
The announcement follows a recent feasibility study which concluded a new rail line would support the rapidly expanding resources sector in New South Wales by giving more direct access to Port Kembla.
The study found the railway line would also free up capacity along the existing Illawarra Line for additional passenger services.
The final project would involve laying 35 kilometres of standard gauge track connecting the main North South Line directly to Port Kembla via Dombarton.
This new piece of rail infrastructure would also consist of two passing loops, bridges over the Nepean and Cordeaux Rivers and one of Australia's longest tunnels.
Commencing this financial year, the pre-construction activities will include:
preparation of detailed design work for civil, structural, geotechnical and track work necessary for the future construction of the project
finalisation of a realistic construction timetable and cost estimate for the project.
This preparatory work will ensure that the Illawarra region and NSW more broadly is well positioned to act quickly to meet any increased future freight demand.
Once the pre-construction activities are completed, the project will then be considered for inclusion in the next Nation Building Program.
Whilst visiting the port, Prime Minister Gillard was joined by Federal Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird, Member for Throsby Stephen Jones, Port Kembla Port Corporation (PKPC) Chairman Nicholas Whitlam and PKPC CEO Dom Figliomeni.