Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher today signed the final piece of paperwork greenlighting work to begin on Badgery’s Creek Airport, situated on Darug land 50km west of Sydney’s CBD.
Set to open in the mid 2020’s, and expecting at least ten million passengers a year, the airport has been a topic of debate since it was first proposed in 1946.
“All the approvals are now in place,” the Prime Minister said in a statement. “This is the most significant step taken by any government on this project. We can now get on with building the airport”.
The 2020 plan, with its 3.7 kilometre runway, is just stage one. A second runway is planned for 2050, with an expected 37 million passengers a year. In it’s final form, expected in 2063, Badgery’s Creek Airport will take 82 million passengers a year.
While there aren’t any formal plans included to run a rail line to the airport, Fletcher said the airport will be “rail ready” with space set aside for a station corridor and railway tracks. Extending the South West Rail Link and building a separate airport express rail service are being considered as options.
Road upgrades are being made too, including widening The Northern Road between Narellan and Penrith to allow for the extra road traffic, at a cost of $3.5 billion.
Environmental impacts were one of the final hurdles to overcome before the plan could be signed off on, and The Blue Mountains Council still isn’t convinced the airport is being managed effectively, with Mayor Mark Greenhill calling plans “incomplete” without details on water, flora, fauna, noise, air quality or flight paths.
Badgery’s Creek Airport will be operating 24 hours a day. Sydney’s Mascot airport operates 16 hours a day.
Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said the Airport Plan had been developed with the findings of the Environmental Impact Statement in mind, and “strict conditions” on the airport’s development were in place.