Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson has today tabled a Notice of Motion in the State Parliament calling on the State Government to start construction of the $550 million Albion Park Rail Bypass and $250 million upgrade of Shellharbour Hospital as a matter of urgency.
Ms Watson’s motion calls for the upgrade of Shellharbour Hospital to commence in next year’s budget, and for the Albion Park Rail Bypass construction to start in the 2017-18 budget year.
She has been calling on the State Government to provide a clear and precise timetable for the construction of both projects since the March election.
The State Government has consistently refused to provide a construction timetable for either project.
The State Government even voted against an amendment moved by Ms Watson on 6 August 2015 specifically calling on it to outline a precise timetable for the upgrade of Shellharbour Hospital, including the start and finish of construction.
Ms Watson said that the steel crisis facing the Illawarra warranted the State Government starting construction on the two projects worth $800 million as a matter of urgency.
“We are about to lose a minimum of 500 jobs in the steel industry.
“It may get much worse if BlueScope adopts ‘Option B’ in its strategic review, which could still see the whole steel industry shut down.
“These two projects, according to the State Government’s own budget and election commitments, are both funded.
“There is simply no excuse to not start these two projects as soon as possible given the crisis of confidence the region is facing with the steel industry.
“My motion calls on work to start in both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 budgets”, she said.
Ms Watson said she believed the State Government was planning to delay starting construction on either project until the start of 2019 when the next State election is due.
25 August 2015