A second airport in Sydney’s West should be built at Badgerys Creek, according to a panel of experts who addressed a forum at Parramatta earlier today. The forum, organised by the Western Sydney Community Forum and Western Sydney Business Chamber, included academics, social workers, and consultants as speakers who unanimous backed the proposed airport, arguing it would bring significant economic benefits with only minor noise pollution. The panel also rejected Wilton as an alternative, with a co-author of the recent Joint Study on Aviation Capacity saying that the study did not conclude that the options were “Badgerys or Wilton – the options were Badgerys, Badgerys, Badgerys, Badgerys, Badgerys, or Wilton”.
This is despite the there still technically being bipartisan opposition to an airport at the Badgerys Creek site. This opposition can be traced back to the construction of the third runway at Mascot’s Kingsford-Smith Airport (KSA) in 1994. Chris Brown, a member of the steering committee of the Joint Study on Aviation Capacity, described the campaign against a third runway as a grassroots movement that was responding to huge noise impacts on a large population. Meanwhile, the opposition to Badgerys Creek was led by those at the top, according to Mr Brown. It was argued at the time that Western Sydney should not be the dumping ground for Inner Sydney’s aircraft noise. In addition, the extra capacity provided by this third runway at KSA made politicians complacent on the issue of an airport at Badgerys Creek, according to the former Federal Airports Corporation and Australian Rail and Track Corporation head, Barry Murphy.
The opposition to Badgerys Creek has begun to wane recently, particularly when the issue of the economic benefits that an airport could bring to Western Sydney was raised. Mr Murphy points to cities like Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta, which leveraged a large airport to huge economic benefit. Director of Planning with Cox Richardson, Bob Meyer, argues that Western Sydney’s jobs shortfall of 163,000 jobs is putting a huge strain on the transport network, and that this will only get worse by mid century when that jobs shortfall is projected to rise to 406,000 jobs. He believes Western Sydney has abundant supplies of industrial zoned land that could be used for employment, but that it needs a catalyst such as a new airport in order for this to happen. This would then stem the jobs shortfall afflicting Western Sydney.
The panel also dismissed the impact of aircraft noise on Western Sydney. An A380 makes only half the noise of a 747 jumbo jet on take off, according to Mr Murphy, while the smaller A320 makes 75% less noise than a 747. Mr Meyer showed attendees a map of the hypothetical flight paths from Badgerys Creek, which showed that most of the noise would occur over industrial lands rather than residential. This, along with lower urban densities, means that slightly over 300 homes would be affected by high levels of aircraft noise from Badgerys Creek, compared to almost 30,000 from KSA.