Labor’s airport policy leaves more questions than answers

State and federal Labor have today announced a rail link to Badgerys Creek airport. While this is a welcome development, the announcement has raised serious questions about the operations at Badgerys Creek and how infrastructure links to the airport would be funded.

Chief Executive of peak national industry body Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF), Margy Osmond, says while TTF welcomes the plan to link the Western Sydney airport to the rail network, Labor must clarify their position on curfews at Badgerys Creek and clearly outline how the link between the South West Rail Link and the Western Line would be funded.

“It is very concerning that Mr Foley has committed to encumbering the new airport at Badgerys Creek with the same rigid restrictions that currently apply at Sydney Airport, many of which are outdated and do not take international best practice into consideration.

“To address these issues Badgerys Creek must be curfew free. There is simply no point in investing billions of dollars in this infrastructure if it cannot be utilised to its maximum potential.

“Western Sydney needs an airport that can attract a broad market from low cost to full service carriers that require later landing times and cater for weather disruptions – all things Sydney Airport struggles to manage because of the strict curfews.

“We welcome Labor’s recognition of the value of a rail link to the airport and the benefit of linking the South West and Western Lines. TTF supported the Baird government’s plan to preserve rail corridors but we have called on the federal and state governments to go further and commit to publically funding the rail link as a priority. There are clear benefits to both to future airport users and the broader western Sydney community.

“However, we are seeking urgent clarity around the funding of this link. Expecting the operator of the airport to pay the full cost of this significant transport upgrade is unreasonable. The cost of linking the South West and Western lines is expected to run into the billions, and should not be borne by the private sector.

“Given the expense of this link and its broader benefit to the region we believe it should be funded by the state and federal governments in the same way that the road package has been jointly funded.”