Freight debate has taken off

Surprises in store: Bringelly resident Pauline Rowe says locals who support an airport at Badgerys Creek will be very disappointed when they discover that it will be a facility primarily focused on freight. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale

Surprises in store: Bringelly resident Pauline Rowe says locals who support an airport at Badgerys Creek will be very disappointed when they discover that it will be a facility primarily focused on freight. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale

SOME critics have argued that an airport at Badgerys Creek could soon become the destination for much of the freight bound for Sydney, but airport supporters dispute the view.

Bringelly resident Pauline Rowe said some of her neighbours are excited about the planned airport because they expect that it will allow them to catch international flights from close to home.

"They don't understand what they're actually getting: it will be a 24 hour freight airport and probably just domestic," Ms Rowe said.

"Tourists coming to visit Australia won't want to come 60 kilometres from Sydney, this will be an industrial airport, to connect with the intermodal freight terminal network planned for western Sydney.

"It would be great if the government could be honest about what's actually going there; they haven't consulted the community about this at all."

But David Borger, spokesman for the Western Sydney Airport Alliance, which has been campaigning for the airport to be built, said Australia doesn't really need a freight airport.

"Most freight is transported in the underbelly of passenger aircraft," Mr Borger said.

"It is far more lucrative to transport freight that way rather than in dedicated aircraft."

He said the airport would not have a curfew because the area surrounding it was more sparsely populated than the suburbs surrounding Sydney airport.

"Most airports internationally and around Australia are open around the clock," he said.

"But there aren't as many flights at night, because most people don't want to arrive somewhere at 3am."

However, Fowler MP Chris Hayes said it was clear that to be profitable the airport would have to take the overflow from Sydney airport between the hours of 11pm and 6am.

"It will inherit the freight movements that come in to Mascot during the curfew period," Mr Hayes said.

Liverpool Chamber of Commerce president Harry Hunt, on the other hand, said he did not believe that the airport would be used primarily to transport freight.

"To be viable it has to be a 24-hour international airport," Mr Hunt said.

"It won't necessarily be open around the clock straight up, but it should be planned that way."

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