By Paul McKenzie :
Sydney Airport at Mascot is running at 85% capacity and the demand for a second airport will come in the next 15-20 years. Mascot is limited to its geographical location, closeness to the city and the curfew in place. Melbourne has two airports, Tullamarine and Avalon. Tullamarine is the main big airport for Melbourne, with international and domestic passengers. Avalon is the second airport, out towards Geelong, which acts as a secondary supportive airport, in which most passengers still prefer Tullamarine.
Looking at the Sydney situation, the demand for a second airport is there, mainly to service Western Sydney, in which the rest of Sydney, depends where they live, most would still use Mascot. Passengers coming from Newcastle and Wollongong likely to remain using Mascot Airport. Sydney second airport would attract further industry (further investment and jobs) around the airport, which the second airport would be ideal for freight, imports, exports etc.
Badgery’s Creek back for consideration after 20 years. Yet another Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is expected to be given to the federal government in 2016. Then, Macquarie Bank, owner of Sydney Airport, has first right of refusal. Question, do they have the money? Does the federal government have to money either for related infrastructure? What alternative sites can be considered and what alternative public/private partnerships can be considered? Badgery’s Creek has hit a hurdle with the new federal government’ aircraft noise guidelines, excluding residential development from 55 square KM radius to 395 KM. “At least 10,000 proposed new homes could be stopped if the new standard is adopted,” said Chris Johnson, from the Urban Taskforce. This would stop residential development, affecting developers, in the almost 400 square KM radius zone, across Western Sydney. That area encompasses two of Sydney’s planned major centres of population growth, to the airport’s north and south around the suburbs of Austral and Marsden Park. It also takes in existing homes in Blacktown.
As Sydney’s population is growing, 30,000 new homes per year are required to keep up demand and a bulk of this demand is in Western Sydney. The NSW Government is working with the federal government on the new aircraft noise guidelines, which it says will focus firstly on creating new jobs for Western Sydney. Part of the Badgery’s Creek is a railway link, going from the north west line at Rouse Hill (under construction) through the south west line at Edmondson Park. The debate on Badgery’s Creek is mixed in the community and with our parliamentary representatives. Yoghan Sharma, Western Sydney resident, says “That is a very good idea. The fast train line to the CBD from Badgerys is scheduled to take 45 minutes. You can also run the Airport and train lines 24/7, because they are away from major conurbations. This idea could have been built with the mining royalties when we were having the same debate under John Howard.”. Then again Western Sydney resident Taj Gupta says “How about Richmond instead, build a fast rail link. The airport is already there for goodness sake. The only people wanting this is stupid Badgery’s Creek proposal to come to fruition, is the people cashing in on the land the Government needs that they own.”
State member for Parramatta and Parliamentary Secretary, Dr Geoff Lee MP, says “I’m all for Badgery’s Creek with jobs and industry for Western Sydney. It is important for transport and infrastructure. Rail must be put in at the start of the project and not the end.” State member for Prospect, Dr Hugh McDermott MP, says “Badgery’s Creek is great for jobs, tourism and industry. At the same, we need the right balance with the quality of life in Western Sydney, with the right flight paths and curfew in for Badgery’s Creek. Infrastructure and rail are very important, especially cargo going from Badgery’s Creek to local industrial estates, such as Smithfield and Wetherill Park. Benefits of Badgery’s Creek needs a good balance.”
Greens NSW MLC Mehreen Faruqi – “Badgerys Creek Airport does not stack up on transport, economic nor environmental grounds. Spending years and billions of dollars building the airport will distract from more sustainable solutions that would not result in air and noise pollution, or threaten the environmental value and quality of the Greater Blue Mountains Heritage area. The proportion of flights connecting Sydney with Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra justify urgently building an east coast High Speed Rail link to connect these cities instead of a second airport. High speed rail would also reduce total aircraft movements in and out of Sydney. Most flights and major airlines would still operate out of Mascot under the current plans”.
The Airport Rail link from Badgery’s Creek is another hot subject under debate.
For now, at least before the Airport, certainly the controversies have taken off.