Consultants overseeing the feasibility study for the Illawarra’s long awaited freight rail link will seek feedback from the local community.
The Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird, and consultants carrying out the Maldon to Dombarton study met for the first time yesterday.
The Commonwealth Government’s feasibility study for the estimated $500 million project is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.
Ms Bird says the consultants, ACIL Tasman and Hyder, want a discussion paper circulated to Illawarra residents by August.
“People [need] to understand what the actual issues are that they’re dealing with [and] what the questions might be that we have to answer,” she said.
“Often there’s some knowledge or other information held in the community more broadly that might be useful to them in putting all their data together.”
Ms Bird says she will tolerate delays in a major freight rail study if it means getting the project right.
The Commonwealth Government has allocated $3 million for the feasibility study.
Ms Bird says a discussion paper will be circulated this year before the completion of the study by next year, but delays are possible.
“If this project is going to stack up, it will stack up because the evidence stacks up,” she said.
“I think it has to have the evidence behind it, so while that is frustrating, I think that in the long run it pays us better to get that quality of information behind our argument.”