According to reports, Tony Abbott’s new government won’t delay a decision regarding a new Sydney airport, and Badgerys Creek, located 50 kilometres west of Sydney’s CBD, is being touted as a likely site.
Incoming Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said the decision would be based on major analysis completed last year by the federal and state governments.
These reports showed there could be annual demand for 17.1 million passenger movements across all service types by the year 2035, a figure that could increase to 44.2 million passenger movements per year in 2060.
They also highlighted significant economic and employment benefits including an estimated $5 billion additional direct expenditure in 2035, increasing to $20 billion in 2060; 4,500 construction jobs, and opportunities in various support industries such as freight, maintenance and retail.
Badgerys Creek was cited as the best option to support this with the existing Royal Australian Air Force Base at Richmond in northwest Sydney potentially used for limited commercial aviation before Badgerys is built. Opening RAAF Base Richmond to civil aviation as a temporary solution could ultimately allow 5 million passengers to pass through the airport each year.
“I don’t envisage starting another study process to delay it for more years,” Truss said.
He said, however, that he would need to look at the information in the Mascot airport masterplan and at how the RAAF Base could be used.
Wilton was ruled out as an alternative due to the complex engineering challenges it would entail. To build at Wilton would require extensive earthworks and site clearing – approximately 91 million cubic metres of cut and fill.
Mine subsidence has also been identified as a major safety risk for any future development at Wilton, while over 60 protected species were identified in the study area. Significant engineering solutions would also be required to ensure discharge of runoff and waste water does not contaminate Sydney’s water supply.
Truss also said the Abbott government wanted to see work start soon on the proposed WestConnex motorway between Parramatta and Sydney Airport.