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Sydney’s next airport on the central coast? Maybe, maybe not

An interesting and perhaps crucial advantage of the proposed Central Coast site is that Sydney Airport’s owner would not have first right of refusal to extend their price gouging monopoly to it, since they only have first dibs on a new jet airport in the Sydney basin.

There are several reasons why a left-of-field proposal for an airport midway between Sydney and Newcastle on the central coast should neither be ridiculed nor over enthusiastically embraced.

The proposal, reported in The Telegraph, would make much more sense as an alternative to Newcastle’s existing and fast growing civil terminal, which is located uncomfortably within the Williamtown RAAF base, which is also under acute pressure from increased military movements, and has first dibs.

It could also be a significant economic boost for the Gosford-Wyong area, in part by taking economic activity off Sydney, but not, as is the risk with the impasse over a second airport in the Sydney basin, out of NSW to QLD, VIC or the ACT.

But it doesn’t really address Sydney’s needs if it is to handle the demands of the Asia Century, as it is too far from most of Sydney, even if you believe in the fairy tale of a super fast, ultra short rail link before our youngest children have lived out their natural life spans around the turn of the 22nd century.

The Badgerys Creek site in Sydney’s west, through a remarkable accident of planning, is easy to connect to the existing low speed but perfectly adequate metro rail network by slightly further extending the already nearly completed SW Rail link to Leppington, which is in effect, a 20 minute non-stop extension to the current airport line from its Sydney Airport stations and the Wolli Creek interchange.

An interesting and perhaps crucial advantage of the proposed Central Coast site is that Sydney Airport’s owner would not have first right of refusal to extend their price gouging monopoly to it, since they only have first dibs on a new jet airport in the Sydney basin.

Since Newcastle airport has a very finite future as a tenant within an air force base, there is a good case to build both the Central Coast and Badgerys Creek airports, without getting hung up over high speed rail or other distractions, and definitely, without any cost to the public purse, but as entirely privately funded ventures.

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  • 1
    darkflight
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Assuming, for these purposes,that the area of the Sydney Basin follows the geological definition, those Central Coast locations would be within the Basin area, not outside of it.

    http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/bioregions/SydneyBasinBioregion.htm

    It would be odd if a different definition of the Basin was used for the purposes of deciding whether Sydney Airport’s owners were owed a piece of the action if a facility was established between Sydney and Newcastle.

  • 2
    Ben Sandilands
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    An interesting definition, but not the one that was discussed at large when the Sydney Airport sale was discussed. In short,the definition was that the Sydney basin ended where the bumpy bits deflected drainage away from the basin. Which would rule out Wollongong and the central coast, since the rivers would have to flow uphill, but not Katoomba for example, which is east of the great divide.

    It may prove that a lack of precision as to what physically constitutes the Sydney basin in the sale acts could enrich a few law firms some time in the future.

  • 3
    John Gercken
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Since when was Sydney’s current suburban trains “perfectly adequate”? The journey in from Badgery’s Creek by suburban train would be an exhausting one in carriages not built for luggage. The failure of the airport line to Macot has proven that. Airports need a dedicated nonstop rail link in order to be successful. ascot remains the only viable option.

  • 4
    Ben Sandilands
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    John,

    Non-stop from where? Strathfield, Sydney’s other airport, Central or Chatswood? The thing that bedevils airport access now is that it comes from many points, including a rising tide from the west, that has crippled the M5 East, and the ED from the other direction.

    For those who want to save time, and parking fees, a feed into the metro system such as is made possibly in many different combinations by the Glenfield fly-over and new station design seems logical, as it makes a multitude of suburban services a convenient way of getting to Badgery’s Creek, and also improves access from the west to Sydney Airport.

    Agree the current airport services are hopelessly congested and a pain to use.The only place to be with bags is at either end of the duplex cars. The east hills/airport line has like part of the south line been substantially duplicated by the SW Rail project, so there is some scope, fingers crossed, for an investment in a better airport express trains to be built, but like the NW rail project, more lines are needed to overcome congestion on the existing tracks.

  • 5
    Michael Byrne
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    The NSW Democratic Labor Party ( DLP Labor) supports the development of airport at Badgery’s Creek. It challenges the political humbug that arises out of the game playing since the late 1990′s by the ALP and the Liberal Party.

    Hereunder are links to submissions placed before Infrastructure NSW and the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, A Albanese MP. There is a focus on the Moorebank Intermodal Freight terminal as this is recognised as a political dumping of a dirty project into a compliant safe Labor area, and is due for a big fight. However, Badgerys Creek will provide the base for employment that will see people travel locally to the north and west for work from Campbelltown and Liverpool.
    The East Hills rail corridor ( with the extension to the South West Rail Link) and the original F5 ( now M5 East) route through the Wolli Creek Road Reserve are key infrastructure assets to be fully realised to the direct benefit of the neglected people in Sydney’s far south west.
    INSW submission: http://bit.ly/QZ230K

    Min Albanese: http://bit.ly/YkjH6e

    Michael Byrne
    NSW DLP Acting Secretary
    0414 978 694

  • 6
    gapot
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    The central coast has been mentioned in the past as an airport site, but not very often. Its logical to have the second airport north of the harbour and the connection of both airports by train via the northshore line. With no movement by either side of government it must be time to take this project out of government and have a non government body make some head way. Ben is the contract for the sale of Sydney Airport available online?

  • 7
    fractious
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    @ gapot, any airport north of the harbour will be faced with significant travel problems getting to/from the CBD and KSA. The rail network would have to be significantly updated (which would take decades and $billions, if it ever happened) as currently it takes well over 2 hours from Wyong to the airport on a weekday, never mind longer waits on weekends. And then there’s the $hitfight that is the road system, where the (already at capacity) F3 dumps most of its traffic onto what is essentially an overgrown suburban road at Wahroonga from where it can take over an hour to get into the city, let alone KSA. In short this has bigger obstacles to surmount than even Richmond.

  • 8
    ltfisher
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    In light of the apparent findings on a possible rise in sea level by the current UN climate change conference in Hobart it would seem that Badgerys Creek is a winner: no chance of it being affected by a 1 metre rise in sea level. Canberra of course would be even ‘safer’, unless a climatic/geological catastrophe turned Lake George into a continually filling/overflowing inland sea.

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