Julia wows The Gong

Any trawl through my entries on Julia Gillard will show I am not a fully paid up fan, but I have to say she went down well in Wollongong yesterday.

A Wollongong IT firm which does much of its business with remote and international clients says bringing the National Broadband Network to Wollongong would instantly make it more competitive with larger companies in capital cities.

IQmultimedia, which employs 24 people at its Wollongong City and Unanderra facilities, will be one of the earliest adopters when the NBN is turned on in Wollongong, and it can see immediate benefits for its work with clients as far afield as Western Australia’s Pilbara region, South Africa, and the United States.

Managing director Mario Scanu said he needed to see more details before he could make a judgment about how the network would work for his company, but as IQmultimedia did a lot of its work remotely, it was a case of the sooner the better…

But the rail link story remains more than a bit vague:

A $25.5 million Federal Government pledge to further the Maldon-Dombarton rail link would move the "great unfinished story" in Australian infrastructure a step closer, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said yesterday.

But she stopped short of committing to build the long-awaited project, saying the Government would take a "prudent" approach to its development.

As the Mercury revealed yesterday, the funding will move the rail line into the "pre-construction" phase, consisting of detailed design of civil, structural, geotechnical and track work.

The Government will also finalise a construction timetable and cost estimate.

It follows a $3 million, 18-month feasibility study which found a new rail line would support western NSW’s rapidly booming mining sector.

Ms Gillard said the announcement would ensure the project became "shovel ready".

"If there is one great unfinished story in the history of Australian infrastructure it is right here in the Illawarra," she told an appreciative crowd at the summit yesterday.

"[The funds] will position this project … to meet all the conditions of major construction."

She said the project, which was shelved in the 1980s, made more sense today than when it was first conceived….

South Coast Labour Council secretary Arthur Rorris said Ms Gillard’s announcement was "the biggest expression of confidence I’ve seen in this project to date … the job now is to get on and build it."


From today’s Mercury. I am also much taken with the change this photo represents since I taught at The Illawarra Grammar School 40 years ago.