OPINION | The airport must focus on results for us all

Last month we heard that Western Sydney Airport Co will be based in the Liverpool CBD. This really is fantastic news for the south-west and Western Sydney as a whole.

It’s critical that the company building Western Sydney Airport is based in the west.

This decision shows a commitment to invest in local skills, the local economy, and will, hopefully, provide greater understanding of the needs of our community.

While Badgerys Creek offers significant opportunity for our region, there are still many aspects of the project that must be addressed to achieve the best results for Western Sydney.

First and foremost the airport needs a jobs and procurement plan that will prioritise employment opportunities for Western Sydney residents and maximise economic investment in the region. Minister Fletcher’s promise of 28,000 jobs by 2031 is fantastic but we should be looking to increase this number at every opportunity.

Second, we need a long-term transport plan that maps out and protects the road and rail corridors of the future. And this plan must consider all forms of transport for both freight and commuter needs.

Third, the government must develop a plan to protect residents from aircraft noise.

We need a guarantee that wherever the final flight paths fall, our homes will be protected. Currently there is no such plan.

Fourth, we need strong protections for the internationally significant Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

This is essential for preserving the natural environment and the significant tourism economy it supports.

Fifth, we need to start investigations for a fuel line servicing the airport to reduce the number of fuel trucks travelling between Botany and Badgerys Creek.

The amount of fuel needed to service aircraft will increase significantly as the airport grows.

Now’s the time to plan.

The longer we wait the more difficult and expensive this will be.

These are the basic measures necessary to ensure Western Sydney Airport provides the best possible results for all of Western Sydney.

Basing Western Sydney Airport Co in Liverpool is a great start but for this airport to be a success we need to focus on real projects and ensure we get the details right.

Stephen Bali, President

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils

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