INFRASTRUCTURE Australia, the nation's independent infrastructure advisor, has positively assessed the business case for the Federal Government's proposed Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek, with the project now on the Infrastructure Priority List as a High Priority Project.
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 the nation's 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 Davis said.
"As Australia's primary aviation gateway, Sydney accounts for around 40% of international services, 43% of domestic services, and 45% 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.
"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.
"Western Sydney Airport shows how preserving land and corridors to meet future infrastructure needs can 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.
"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 proposed Western Sydney Airport will occupy an approximate 1,780-hectare site at Badgerys Creek, following an assessment of 80 sites across 18 locations in the Greater Sydney region as part of the 2012 Joint Study on aviation capacity in the Sydney region.
Operations at the airport are expected to start in the mid-2020s, with a single, 3.7-kilometre runway in the north of the site positioned on a north-east/south-west alignment. The runway will be capable of handling the full range of international and domestic passenger and freight aircraft.
The terminal and associated infrastructure would be designed to accommodate up to 10 million passengers a year, a similar size to Adelaide Airport today.
The proposed airport would also include a business park, parking and cargo facilities, along with environmental conservation zones to reduce the airport's environmental impact and manage native vegetation and heritage values along creek corridors.
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.
The business case evaluation summary for the Western Sydney Airport, and the updated Infrastructure Priority List are available from the Infrastructure Australia website at <http://infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/>.