Prime Minister Tony Abbott has urged quick action on the development of Sydney’s second airport at Badgerys Creek.
Ladies and gentlemen welcome to Sydney’s Badgerys Creek Airport.
The federal government has ended decades of indecision about Sydney’s second airport, confirming work will begin in 2016 at the site, 56km west of the CBD.
But please remain seated – flights aren’t due to touch down until the mid-2020s.
“There’s been decades of procrastination here so we do want to get cracking,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.
Private sector investment will cover the $2.5 billion bill for construction, including a 2.5km runway through paddocks, while the commonwealth will pick up planning and design costs.
In its initial stages the government forecasts a “modest” operation with a single runway and mix of intra-state, interstate, international and cargo flights.
Billions of dollars and some 60,000 jobs are expected to flow from the airport development by 2060, which has the in-principle support of Labor.
“When we see the detail we will be out there examining it,” opposition transport spokesman Anthony Albanese told Sky News, while offering support for the announcement.
But Mr Abbott faces possible internal party dissidence over his hints at a curfew-free airport.
“We deserve what’s best for our community and I don’t support a 24-hour airport,” Western Sydney Liberal MP Fiona Scott said.
Community consultation will be a compulsory part of the planning process, with concerns about aircraft noise and air pollution already being voiced.
The operator of Sydney Airport has first dibs on running the new facility, with two years to confirm their interest.
“Let’s hope that they have a look at this and don’t beat around the bush but quickly decide,” an eager Mr Abbott told Fairfax Radio.
If Sydney Airport declines, the government will swiftly approach the open market and is confident of attracting strong interest.
Sydney Airport acknowledged the announcement, but pointed to the need for improved transport links and fuel lines for the Badgerys Creek site.
“The government’s approach will be roads first, airport second,” Mr Abbott said, adding that light rail services would be a state government responsibility.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell is expected to meet with the prime minister on Wednesday to reveal further details of transport upgrades for the region.
Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss told ABC TV he expects the NSW government will build a rail line offering improved service to Western Sydney.
“Perhaps there could be a station at Badgerys Creek in due course,” he said, but added that a rail line to the airport in the early stages is unnecessary.
Caltex, which supplies fuel to Kingsford Smith Airport, has a pipeline which runs from Botany via Silverwater, nearby Badgerys Creek.
Airlines will decide which of the Sydney airports they will use.
Qantas boss Alan Joyce welcomed news of the “vital” facility for Sydney and Australia and hoped the airline will be involved in the planning process.