Who is compromised by what in Sydney Airport debate?
The logical conclusion reading Tony Abbott's comments is that he couldn't find his way to western Sydney unaccompanied, has no idea what is at stake in terms of growth, jobs and future prosperity, and doesn't think other half of Sydney deserves an airport anyhow.
The logical conclusion reading Tony Abbott’s comments is that he couldn’t find his way to western Sydney unaccompanied, has no idea what is at stake in terms of growth, jobs and future prosperity, and doesn’t think other half of Sydney deserves an airport anyhow.
The burning issue for Labor, for which Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese is the spear thrower on these matters, is that it has never, ever, on the public record explained what or who it is protecting by refusing to even think about having the second airport built on the Badgerys Creek site chosen and subsequently purchased by a Labor Government in 1986.
And the problem for the state Coalition government of Premier Barry O’Farrell is that it is incredibly gullible, as shown in painful detail by its clumsy efforts to ride roughshod over its own constituents in harbourside suburbs with a floating heliport plan which turned out to be not worth the paper it was written on.
Premier O’Farrell insists that Sydney’s 2nd airport is Canberra connected to a part of it by an unbuilt, unfunded, indeed not even planned high speed rail link, but which his government will cripple by approving a housing estate at Tralee, just over the ACT border.
And he believes claims by Max Moore-Wilton that the existing airport, which is intolerably inconvenient from western Sydney, will be capable of meeting the demands of the Asia Century until at least 2049. This is seriously daft on the Premier’s part, and poison for the future of Sydney, which will have no future if it intends to connect to Asia via trains to Canberra.
In his comments yesterday Minister Albanese mentioned a report into a possible site at Wilton being released soon. Wilton had a site that was obvious enough for it to be declared second best by the MANS or Major Airport Needs of Sydney study in 1986, after finding Badgerys Creek the preferable site.
The identified area at Wilton is now a housing estate. The adjacent possibilities are very difficult to render practicable. However Labor will probably insist on going ahead with it, even as the seemingly unwinable federal election draws closer, and its capacity to turn everything it touches into a shambles continues until it is removed from office.
The only good news in all of this is that in the 21st century, which Mr Abbott seems to find is about 60 years past his comfort zone, efficient and convenient air links are vital to the national economy, and as Sydney strangles itself with its hopeless transport bungles Melbourne and Brisbane can readily step up and get the job done.
But just don’t mention Melbourne’s MYKI public transport card!
Ben Sandilands has reported and analysed the mechanical mobility of humanity since late 1960 - the end of the age of great scheduled ocean liners and coastal steamers and the start of the jet age. He’s worked in newspapers, radio and TV in a wide range of roles as a journalist at home and abroad for 56 years, the last 18 freelance.