O'Farrell calls for high-speed trains instead of second Sydney airport
IF THE federal government gets around to nominating and building a second airport for Sydney, the achievement would fly in the face of more than 60 years of botched plans and broken promises.
The federal Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese, and the Premier, Barry O'Farrell, are already at odds on the issue. Mr O'Farrell said yesterday that his preference was for a fast rail link down the eastern seaboard.
After the Herald reported analysis suggesting a lack of space at Sydney Airport would lead to longer delays for passengers, Mr O'Farrell said he could not see where you would put a second airport in the Sydney basin.
''Whether the central coast, the south-west or the western suburbs, find me an area that is not going to end up causing enormous grief to people who currently live around it,'' Mr O'Farrell said. He advocated high-speed rail lines to Melbourne and Brisbane instead.
Mr Albanese has instigated an independent study to report on an airport site later this year, but did not put a time frame on responding to it.
He said a second airport was necessary and ruled out flexibility for Sydney Airport on the limit of 80 movements an hour and the 11pm to 6am curfew.
The federal government first looked to Towra Point at Kurnell as a second airport site for Sydney in 1946.
Sydney councils that host air facilities oppose any expansion of passenger services.
Hawkesbury City Council wants Richmond RAAF base to stay permanently as a defence facility.
Camden Council said the flood-prone site of its airport could not support expansion.
The mayor of Bankstown, Tania Mihailuk, said the council ''unequivocally opposes Bankstown Airport becoming Sydney's second passenger airport terminal''.
The idea has a warmer reception in Canberra, where the Chief Minister of the ACT, Jon Stanhope, has again encouraged the federal government to divert flights from Sydney to Canberra.
''Increasing demands on Sydney Airport will lead to growing delays for passengers and airlines, and a second airport is needed to relieve this pressure.
''Diverting freight traffic to Canberra would allow for more passenger flights at Sydney and provide more economic opportunities for the capital region. Canberra Airport is also well positioned to act as a back-up for overflow and bypass traffic from Sydney.''