Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher has firmly laid out the options in the government’s forward steps in establishing the Western Sydney Airport – and all will result in its creation.
In a speech to the Committee for Sydney at Deloitte’s office in Parramatta, Mr Fletcher presented the framework of the federal government’s future plans for the new airport.
The government’s main obstacle at the moment is the wait for Sydney Airport Group’s response to a Notice of Intention on its decision on whether it will build and operate the new airport, as Mr Fletcher said the group has the first right of refusal.
But should the Sydney Airport Group knock back the Notice of Intention, Mr Fletcher said there are two options open to the government in this scenario.
“The first would be for the government to build and operate the airport itself,” Mr Fletcher said.
And the second would be for the government to go to the market and choose another private sector party to build and operate the airport, according to Mr Fletcher.
He said the Turnbull government has taken “scrupulous care” to comply with Sydney Airport Group’s rights.
“If it decides to accept the Notice of Intention, we will work co-operatively with Sydney Airport Group as it develops this new airport,” he said.
That said, Mr Fletcher stressed that the government has been “working hard” to prepare for the other scenario.
“Let me leave you in no doubt: either way, we will be getting on with the job of delivering this new airport for Western Sydney, Sydney and the nation,” he said.
The federal government and the New South Wales government have together committed to the creation of the new airport for Western Sydney, which is expected to deliver jobs, infrastructure and tourism for the region.
Although the creation of an airport at Badgerys Creek has attracted criticism and controversy since it was first proposed due to potential noise pollution, Mr Fletcher said over 80 per cent of people in Western Sydney support or are neutral to the new airport, according to the government’s most recent data.
As local governments are the ones who will shoulder the responsibility in delivering their own unique services to the new airport and surrounding properties, Mr Fletcher noted that some councils maintain a “formal position of opposition to the airport”.
Paradoxically, however, he noted that opposition was not the majority sentiment he detected in meetings with Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Liverpool, Penrith and Wollondilly.
“On the contrary, most mayors, councillors and senior council staff I met believe that Western Sydney Airport is definitely going ahead; they see clear economic benefits for Western Sydney; and they expressed a desire to work with the federal and state governments to capture those benefits for their community,” Mr Fletcher said.
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