Western Sydney Airport made high priority

The federal government’s proposed Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek has been added to Infrastructure Australia’s priority list as a high priority project.

The Infrastructure Priority List identifies nationally significant projects and initiatives in every state and territory, and is regularly updated as the Infrastructure Australia Board receives and assesses new business cases from project proponents.

Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive, Philip Davies, said, “The business case presented for Western Sydney Airport shows the value in protecting strategically important sites and corridors to meet our future infrastructure needs.

“The Badgerys Creek site was acquired and reserved for a second Sydney airport more than 30 years ago.

“Australia is reaping the benefits of this strategically important site being protected including being able to future-proof Sydney’s aviation capacity in the face of increasing demand and enhancing our economic productivity.”

Mr Davies said Sydney Airport was Australia’s primary aviation gateway, accounting for around 40 per cent of international services, 43 per cent of domestic services, and 45 per cent of international air freight.

“Demand for Sydney’s airport services will grow significantly in coming years. Passenger numbers are expected to reach 76 million per year by 2030 – increasing to 165 million by 2060,” Mr Davies said.

“Kingsford Smith Airport alone would not be able to service this growth. Capacity constraints would increase the cost of doing business, hinder international trade and have adverse impacts on export-driven industries such as agriculture and manufacturing which are major employers in our regions.”

Mr Davies said Western Sydney Airport showed how preserving land and corridors to meet future infrastructure needs could deliver the best outcomes for both infrastructure users and the broader economy.

“We are the beneficiaries of past decisions and we should do the same for future generations.

“That is why the Infrastructure Priority List also recommends preserving the corridors for a Western Sydney Airport rail connection and fuel pipeline. Both are recognised as High Priority Initiatives and should be progressed.”

A Western Sydney Airport would be developed in stages in response to passenger demand and would be a full-service airport, catering for all types of domestic and international passenger and freight services.

When the proposed airport opens in the mid-2020s, it will have a single runway around 3.7km in length.

Mr Davies said, “The proposed airport has the potential to be a transformational infrastructure project for Western Sydney. Western Sydney is one of Australia’s fastest growing economies, and building Sydney’s second airport at Badgerys Creek will accelerate this growth.

“The airport will attract investment, unlock the region’s potential as a tourism destination and create more jobs for people closer to where they live.

“Given its national economic significance, all Australians benefit from the difficult decisions made in the past to preserve land for the Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek. Long-term, strategic planning must remain front of mind if we are to do the same for future generations,” Mr Davies said.

The Stage 1 airport will include terminal and runway areas, as well as cargo facilities, dedicated maintenance areas, a public transport hub and easy-access parking.

The airport is expected to service around five million passengers a year, similar to Gold Coast Airport. The Stage 1 development will be designed to be flexible enough to accommodate expansions required for anticipated growth in demand.

The proponent has undertaken an economic appraisal for all stages of the airport development to 2075, which produced a stated benefit-cost ratio of 1.9.

The business case notes that all off-site supporting infrastructure, including road and public transport infrastructure to link Western Sydney Airport with Sydney’s ground transport system, would be provided by the NSW Government in consultation with the Australian Government.

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