Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has promised a $6 billion cash splash to build the Sydney Metro West and the rail line to Sydney’s second airport at Badgerys Creek.
Mr Shorten made the announcement at the annual NSW Labor Party conference, in a speech aimed at wooing voters in the crucial electoral battleground of western Sydney.
He told the conference that a federal Labor government would commit $3 billion to the Metro West line, which would double rail capacity from the CBD to Parramatta.
State Opposition Leader Luke Foley has promised to prioritise the project if he is elected in March.
Mr Shorten also said a federal Labor government would spend another $3 billion on the western Sydney rail line to Badgerys Creek airport, boosting its previous commitment of $400 million.
He said it would include a new connection from MacArthur to St Marys and a new line from St Marys to the Sydney Metro at Rouse Hill.
Mr Shorten said the public transport boost would bring jobs, economic development and a better quality of life for the people of western Sydney.
“I want people to get home in time to help with dinner, or your kids homework … to rediscover a bit of the work-life balance that gets lost if you’re spending hours every week going to and from your job,” he said.
Mr Shorten’s address to the conference came after a difficult week in which he was forced to back down on his plan to scrap tax cuts for medium-sized businesses.
But he was given a rapturous reception by the party faithful at the Sydney Town Hall, where he urged the party to get ready for the next election.
“We can win this election,” he told the crowd. “Are we ready?”
“Yes,” the delegates chanted in unison.
After speculation that his leadership could come under pressure if Labor performs poorly in next month’s byelections, Mr Shorten also urged the party not to dwell on itself at the conference.
“This is when Labor is at its best — when we look outwards,” he said.