Urgent need to upgrade Illawarra and Macarthur links

Urgent: Wollongong MP Paul Scully and Campbelltown MP have called for upgrades along on Appin Road to sped up. Picture: Courtesy of Greg Warren
Urgent: Wollongong MP Paul Scully and Campbelltown MP have called for upgrades along on Appin Road to sped up. Picture: Courtesy of Greg Warren

A 40-minute drive is all that separates Macarthur and Illawarra – but connecting residents in both regions still remains a big problem.

Campbelltown MP Greg Warren and his Labor colleague, Wollongong MP Paul Scully, have urged the government to focus on upgrading major infrastructure linking the two areas.

The regions are connected by Appin Road (Bulli to Rosemeadow) and Picton Road (Mount Keira to Wilton), however both stretches of bitumen are notorious when it comes to accidents and fatalities.

Roads, Maritime and Freight Minister Melinda Pavey recently gave a 20-year timeframe for the upgrades which she also described as “important”.

Ms Pavey also said there was no timeframe for the completion of the partially constructed Maldon-Dombarton railway line – a freight line which would connect Wollondilly to Port Kembla.

The project was halted in 1988 and in 2014 the state government sought interest from the private sector to complete the final 10 kilometres of work.

Two parties expressed interest however neither was deemed suitable.

Mr Warren urged the state government to invest in the projects sooner rather than later.

“The Macarthur and Illawarra regions are two major engines for economic growth and job creation. This fact alone substantiates the need for government investment in major infrastructure connecting the two regions,” he said.

“The NSW Government is only focused on inner Sydney infrastructure projects and its billion dollar budget blowouts are hindering building better road and rail links between the Illawarra and south west Sydney.”

Mr Scully said the upgrades of the notorious roads and the freight line would be a major boost for both regions.

“It is well recognised in the Illawarra and the Macarthur region that our futures are linked and central to that is good, safe transport links,” he said.

“Because the NSW Government can’t get a handle on its billion dollar budget bungles in Sydney, it is now putting off funding projects like Maldon-Dombarton rail link and upgrading Appin Road into the never-never.”

The federal government promised $50 million towards the upgrade of Appin Road before last year’s July election, however work is still yet to begin.