Badgerys Creek airport moves a big step closer
Plans for rail link not yet finalised but first stage of development cleared for takeoff
A GROUP known for lambasting the Turnbull Government’s airport policies has admitted it may be time to accept Badgerys Creek airport is really coming.
“It’s no good shrugging your shoulders about it any more,” Residents Against Western Sydney Airport vice-president Paul Goleby said.
His comments come on the back of the State Government’s approval of the western Sydney airport on Friday.
Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg announced conditions for the stage 1 development of the airport via a media release. The announcement included more than 40 “strict” environmental conditions.
“With these conditions and the existing regulatory regime already in place, I am confident the first stage of this development can now proceed,” he said.
Mr Frydenberg said Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher “will now be in a position to finalise the Airport Plan and authorise stage 1 of the development”.
Stage 1 will see one runway catering for 10 million passengers a year, five years after opening.
But Macquarie federal Labor MP Susan Templeman said the approval came despite flight paths still not being locked in.
Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils president Cr Stephen Bali said the plan also lacked a “commitment to a rail line” and “a solid plan for jobs”.
Three rail lines — two of them new — between St Marys and the future Badgerys Creek airport had been flagged in a scoping paper released by Mr Fletcher.
Penrith Council and the Western Sydney Rail Alliance, of which council is a member, also championed a new rail line — one that runs north-south across outer western Sydney.
“We are looking at the conditions now and how they fit with council’s position,” Penrith Mayor John Thain said.
Early figures commissioned by the alliance suggest construction of a northsouth rail line, from Rouse Hill to Campbelltown, could create between 43,800 to 65,800 direct jobs and up to 98,600 indirect jobs.
“We commend the Government’s comprehensive rail scoping study for the western Sydney region, but the reality is there is still no assurance that Badgerys will have a rail link from the outset,” Cr Bali said.
Mr Frydenberg said the conditions governing the construction and operation of Badgerys Creek airport will ensure the airspace design addresses a range of environmental factors.
A 2014 artist’s impression of the proposed western Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek.