The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) has called on federal leaders to outline their plan for the proposed Western Sydney Airport.
Following ongoing uncertainty around the project, WSROC president and Liverpool deputy mayor Councillor Tony Hadchiti said if there is to be an airport built at Badgerys Creek - it needs to be more than “an unregulated runway in a sheep paddock”.
“An infrastructure plan for a game-changing airport should include more than just roads. It should include public transport connectivity as well as hotels, conference facilities, shopping centres, and entertainment and exhibition facilities so that people don’t need to travel once they arrive,” he said.
“Time and time again we hear claims that Badgerys Creek will solve the West’s problems; it will boost our economy and will create 60,000 jobs over the next thirty years. The uncomfortable truth is, Western Sydney needs well over 200,000 extra jobs, today.
“60,000 jobs over 30 years is a drop in the ocean. With the addition of one million extra residents, it is even less than that.”
Councillor Hadchiti said the developent needed to be more than just an airport it needed to be an “aerotropolis”.
“The Badgerys Creek site is located beside the 10,000 hectares designated as the Western Sydney Employment Lands and can provide direct links to both the North West and South West Priority Growth Areas; soon to be home to half a million new residents,” he said.
“This provides a tremendous opportunity to build an integrated employment and recreation zone close to where residents live. If we do not, then these residents will be forced to join the commute to Eastern Sydney.
“But investment must be proactive. Simply waiting for investment to flow naturally will not create the required job density or industry diversity Western Sydney needs. There must be a coordinated, strategic approach to developing the airport precinct and surrounding employment lands.”
He said a good example of a specialised knowedge precinct was the Luddenham Science Park.
“[It] is a good example of how we could attract investment and get the best return for Australia and for Western Sydney,” Councillor Hadchiti said.
“An independent review funded by Western Sydney councils found that the claims made by the federal government about economic generation and job creation were not explicitly tested as part of the draft EIS or Airport Plan; we believe this is unacceptable.
“Sydney’s second airport should not be built on the basis of economic good will. A project of this calibre (and cost) demands a transparent and well-informed, strategic plan to ensure Western Sydney will see benefits, not just liabilities.”
According to Councillor Hadchiti, Federal leaders have attempted to address local concerns, including flight noise.
“While important, it is just the tip of the Badgerys iceberg,” he said.
“Many questions still remain unanswered including: the full extent of environmental impacts on local residents and on the UNESCO World Heritage Area; how traffic congestion will be mitigated beyond the immediate airport precinct; where and when a rail network will be constructed; how the surrounding employment lands will be activated; and what other supporting infrastructure will be provided.
“Until these questions are sufficiently answered by the federal government, WSROC cannot fully support the proposed Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek.”