Western Sydney Airport plan a good start but risk of a hitchhiker’s airport without rail line

A 24-hour Western Sydney Airport will deliver jobs and economic growth for the region but a rail link must be prioritised, said peak industry body Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF).

Chief Executive Margy Osmond said today’s release of the Western Sydney Airport Plan and the draft EIS is a positive step forward but the reluctance of the Federal Government to commit to a rail connection from day one is short-sighted.

“The Federal and NSW Government’s commitment to building this game-changing project will be recorded as one of the most important economic decisions since the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge – it will be a boon for the tourism industry and economy in Western Sydney,” said Ms Osmond.

“It is positive to see that the Federal Government has laid out an initial plan that does not place artificial restrictions on the airport. This sets it on a path to become a transformative economic asset for Western Sydney and Australia.

“But without a strong rail connection, we risk Badgerys Creek becoming the hitchhiker’s airport.

“A Western Sydney Airport should always be viewed in its local context and what’ve been seen today confirms that Badgerys Creek is set to provide jobs and economic opportunity for thousands of people in Western Sydney with minimal impact from its operation.

“Our concern is that parts of the draft documents reflect the ‘old world’ view of connecting airports into the broader transport network – relying on roads and buses in the first years of operation before rail lines many years later.

“It has been heartening to hear the Prime Minister talk about the importance of connecting the new airport to the Sydney rail network but today we find out that a rail connection won’t be open on day one – that is not the way to operate a modern 21st century airport.

“Critical airport infrastructure has all too often fallen through the cracks, and it has happened again. The economic benefits of what will form a significant part of the infrastructure landscape can only be realised when the requisite investment in transport options are prioritised.”