Paul Fletcher MP

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Op-Ed: 'New airport will help the west fly'

Articles by Paul Thursday, 23 February 2017

If you live in Western Sydney, you are among the worst-served people in Australia when it comes to air travel.

You face a long, expensive journey to get to Sydney’s only airport, located at the far eastern edge of the metropolitan area.

By itself, Western Sydney would be the fourth largest city in Australia. Much smaller centres — such as Adelaide, the Gold Coast and Canberra — today are much lower, so Australians fly more than they did 30 years ago.

But if getting to the airport costs you a lot of time and money, you miss out on much of the benefit of lower airfares. One airline executive told me recently that his airline offers $69 airfares to Melbourne but some customers travelling from Western
Sydney are paying $180 in taxi fares.

That is one reason why Western Sydney Airport, due to open in 2026, is so important. It will end the unfair situation where people in Western Sydney have much poorer access to their nearest airport than people in other parts of Sydney, and other cities
of Australia.

Another way the airport will be fairer for Western Sydney is the jobs it will bring. Airports are proven job generators. Western Sydney Airport will bring jobs to the area — jobs that locals will be well placed to fill.

Typically the majority of people who work at an airport live nearby. At Kingsford Smith Airport, for example, about 80 per cent of workers live within a 30-minute distance. By the early 2030s there are expected to be about 9000 direct jobs at
Western Sydney Airport — and many more at the businesses that the airport attracts to the area.

Some worry that the impact of Western Sydney Airport’s operations on residents in surrounding areas will be greater than the impact of Kingsford Smith Airport.

The facts tell a different story. Thanks to careful planning over many years, residential areas are well away from Western Sydney Airport. The nearest built-up residential areas are 10km away.

By contrast, there are homes just 600m from the runway at Sydney Airport. Australia’s four most densely populated suburbs are all within 10km.

And the government has directed that there will be no single “merge point” for flights to the new airport over any residential area.

For too long Sydney’s only airport has been right on the eastern fringe of the metropolitan area.

As the population of greater Sydney heads beyond five million, such continuing geographic discrimination cannot be justified.

The people of Western Sydney are entitled to an airport of their own — and by 2026 that is what they will have.

Originally published at: 

Authorised by Paul Fletcher MP, Level 2, 280 Pacific Highway Lindfield NSW 2070.

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