PM confirms construction of second Sydney airport
After a long gestation period, the controversial plan to build a second airport at Badgerys Creek in Sydney's west has finally taken off from the tarmac with construction set to commence by 2016, Tony Abbott announced in Canberra on Tuesday (15 April).
While the announcement has been welcomed by industry, it has drawn the ire of others.
The initial construction phase is said to generate around 4000 jobs, while the actual development will create 35,000 by 2035, then increasing to 60,000 jobs over time.
AiGroup NSW Director Mark Goodsell spruiked its potential saying the plan now set in stone was well overdue and would provide "enormous benefits for business, the community, and the state", according to a statement released on Tuesday.
"It would also unlock greater global opportunities for Sydney and the case for the project is a compelling one," he said.
"From a business perspective, a second airport will drastically ease congestion, which will result in falls in operating costs and improvements in productivity.
"Not only will such a project result in contracts and jobs in infrastructure, transport links and airport operations – it will also support the economic ecosystem for new industries around aviation and defence logistics in western Sydney.
"To ensure these benefits, business is looking for ongoing consultation with the relevant stakeholders and transparency about the development process.
"NSW and Australian-based companies should also be given a fair opportunity to compete for contracts related to such a major development."
Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said whilst Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport was a valuable economic asset, it would run out of capacity in the long-term future, hence the necessity for a long-term solution to maintain the city's "critical importance" as a major entry into Australia.
"If Sydney is to remain a great place to visit and do business, there needs to be certainty that capacity can grow and expand to meet demand," Westacott said in a statement on Tuesday.
"The federal government deserves credit for meeting its election commitment to make this decision, as while it will not please everyone, kicking it down the road again is simply not an option anymore."
Indeed Blacktown city councillor Stephen Bali, also representing the group No Badgerys Creek Incorporated, remained far from convinced, saying citizens residing in the surrounding areas of the site were being "held to ransom" just so the area could receive the road and rail infrastructure it needed.
"Very little about the 'no case' has come back out and now that there's a decision, the only certainty there is that there will be a fight on," he said.
"They have got to have some type of inquiry, so we'll be fighting it and making sure we get the best outcome for Western Sydney, and obviously that involves stopping the airport."
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