NSW ALTERNATIVE AIRPORT SOLUTION
We are of the opinion that the Badgerys Creek proposal is little more than a disguise to build a massive high density urban and industrial city in far Western Sydney, and the plan shown in the EIS can be considered little more than an industrial ghetto which would destroy western Sydney. Please see our submission at www.homestead.com/badgerysacpnp/index.html
Currently, all aircraft users and freight from NSW wide have no choice other than to travel to Sydney because this is the only internationally capable airport available to them. Badgerys Creek would do nothing therefore to help their problem, since it too is located within the Sydney basin. We have only limited money available to us to solve our airport problem, and if this money is spent on any airport at Badgerys Creek then our opportunity to genuinely solve the NSW problem will be lost. Our rural areas desperately need service and social help. Queensland has 4 international airports to serve the entire state, we have only one.
We consider that even if the numerous other Sydney air quality (and other environmental) reports (including their recommendations) commissioned by various Governments are continued to be ignored, as they have been since at least 1978, it is never-the-less obvious that Sydney’s expansion will be ultimately limited by the physical constraint created by the Blue Mountains.
It is equally obvious that future growth will therefore be to the north, south and west of Sydney, outside the basin, as is already happening on a massive scale, particularly to the north.
If the only internationally capable airports in NSW are located within the Sydney basin, then it stands to reason that all international and domestic aircraft users from Sydney itself, as well as all of those from Newcastle (and the massive population growth north of it) and south of Sydney too, (including their respective fresh food and industrial freight needs) will have to travel to Sydney to access a major airport. In short, every person and every business in NSW, who has a need of a major aircraft service will have to travel into the Sydney basin to do so, as they must do now.
Given the expected increase in future aircraft movement, this will act towards choking the Sydney basin in a variety of ways, most of which would obviously be negative in environmental, social and economic terms. The only major regional access to Sydney, via road, is the Great Western Highway to the West, the Hume Highway to the South, and the Pacific Highway to the North; roads which already suffer from choking with traffic moving into and out of Sydney. For instance, there is only one bridge crossing the Hawkesbury river to the north of Sydney, and it chokes to a standstill on a regular basis during times of high use such as holiday periods. It is apparent to us that the solution to the problem lies in stopping these massive volumes of interchange passenger aircraft, and freight vehicles from having to come to Sydney KSA in the first place.
If not, how could these Sydney roads and airspace ever cope with such a huge increase in demand in the future?
F.R.A.A.N. wishes to forward a potential solution to Sydney’s and NSW’s airport problems.
We believe there is a solution to the airport problem, and one that would serve NSW’s freight and expanded population needs, and relieve massive pressure off KSA. We believe that the problem is being viewed from an incorrect perspective in as much as the problem is really one for NSW rather that Sydney alone. With this in mind:
We propose the use of Williamtown (Hunter Region) Canberra (ACT) and Central NSW airports together (which will inevitably be international airports any way) linked to Sydney and wider areas, by fast ground based transport methods. We can do this virtually immediately, and this would alleviate an enormous percentage of the load on the Sydney airport.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates that KSA (Kingsford Smith Airport) total aircraft movements for the 1997-1998 year were: International aircraft - 45,849; Domestic aircraft - 103,788; and Regional aircraft - 98,828. Extrapolated, this means a total of 248,465 aircraft movements per year, or 681 aircraft per day, or (given a 17hr operating window - 11pm to 6am curfew KSA) 40.04 aircraft movements per hour.
We point out that the proposed Badgerys Creek airport project would be the biggest capital works project in Australia’s near agenda, however, for the first time a major capital works project with the ability to destroy lives, rather than enhance them. We remind the reader that not all passengers want to get off at Mascot - a large percentage simply transfer from one aircraft to another (at least 30% at KSA). There is no real reason why this could not take place at any other airport, at any other location in this country.
* We believe that it is inevitable that an internationally capable airport will be constructed at Williamtown airport at Newcastle , or other site in the Hunter region.
-Williamtown currently operates as a non- curfew airport, and is essentially already internationally capable. Current runway length is 2,438 metres.
-A simple customs clearance facility , a tin shed, is all that is required to bring the airport into immediate international status.
- Even at this point in time, this airport could still be brought on line to help serve the load of the 2000 Olympics, and would also help to draw tourists to the Hunter region as well as Sydney.
-This airport (or other international airport in the Hunter region) would alleviate a great deal of pressure from KSA (Kingsford Smith Airport ;Mascot), by handling a of all types of aircraft, regional, domestic and international.
- It will be able to accommodate future population growth north and north west of Sydney.
- It should be able to service the Hunter Region and northern sector of NSW, including it’s considerable freight output needs.
- Currently a great deal of freight (such as Hydroponic Crop and Wines etc) from the Hunter Region and northern NSW is road transported into Sydney eventually to KSA, over the one bridge over the Hawkesbury River. This already freezes during long weekends etc. It is inevitable that future increases of this into Sydney only airports, will unnecessarily clog the main northern arterial road leading into the Sydney basin, as the skies over our heads would clog with aircraft, and our environment clog with pollution.
- This airport would alleviate a great deal of heavy vehicle traffic within the Sydney basin environment.
- We point out that Newcastle within the Hunter Region has a serious unemployment problem of about 14% and they are about to lose several mines and have just lost the BHP operation, all big local employers. Obviously unemployment rates in the region will skyrocket. The Abi Group has indicated that they will build an airport (anywhere within the Hunter Region) at their own cost, and without use of taxpayers money. They will also fund fast rail between Sydney and Newcastle.
A fast rail connection between Sydney and Newcastle is required for the future, and we believe that it is inevitable that this will occur anyway. There is already existing, a high speed road link between Sydney city and Newcastle. A high speed "wave cutting" style of ferry could also be implemented if larger numbers of people must be brought to Sydney, and we have spoken to several tourists who have nominated that they would love nothing more than to finish their journey with an exciting trip such as this would provide.
Noise impact should not be a problem. Long term residents from Newcastle report that there is no problem with noise impact from overflight of the city, from aircraft currently operating from the existing airport at Newcastle/Williamtown. There is nothing much louder than an FA18 Hornet flying at low levels such as operates from the airport now, so these people should know. Those few people who would be noise impacted from expanded operations from the airport, already would be by the loud military aircraft (and the considerable civilian operations) operational from the airport now, and these people if not already, should be highly compensated and moved to a non affected area. Operations from this airport are generally in and out over sea, and should always remain that way.
Given that currently the highest percentage of Sydney airport users are from north Sydney, it is entirely conceivable that they would consider travelling north to Newcastle along the freeway, or fast rail service, rather than to Sydney. It is not conceivable that they would want to travel to an airport at Badgerys Creek, or to an airport south of Sydney. There is an oft noted premise that aircraft passengers all have a desire to come to Sydney, and this is simply not true. Ask most business persons, or local holiday makers from Coffs Harbour for instance, and they will almost certainly respond that they loathe having to come to Sydney to catch an aircraft.
They simply want to visit offshore holiday destinations, or conduct their business within Melbourne or Adelaide
etc. and then come home, without the hassle of getting into and out of Sydney. Likewise, tourists we have interviewed
have indicated that they really do not mind where they land, as long as there is a fast and convenient method to
travel to Sydney and other cities from that site. They are after all, tourists - they are here to visit and look
at our beautiful country as well as our cities.
These people of Northern NSW deserve a reasonable airport/aircraft available service in the future anyway. Newcastle/Williamtown would also serve as an northern airport/aircraft backup protector for Sydney, or a southern replacement Sydney airport (should that ever happen) in the future.
* Canberra airport is now being made Internationally capable, as was also inevitable.
- The fast rail connection between Canberra and Sydney is already a foregone conclusion, and we would hope that it would be the beginning of a continued service reaching onwards to Melbourne and further.
- The international airport at Canberra would be able to accommodate needs of the population growth of southern NSW, and ACT.
- It will be able to meet freight requirements for the south and south western sector of NSW.
- It too, will alleviate a large number of road transport freight vehicles from the Sydney basin roads, and the Hume Highway leading up to Sydney.
- It will be able to alleviate large numbers of domestic and some international aircraft from KSA, and regional aircraft coming from southern NSW should go to Canberra airport instead of KSA to link up with other services.
* Parkes has indicated that they would desperately like to upgrade their airport to an international status freight dedicated airport, and an airport in Central NSW is inevitable and must happen.
- They indicate that this would cost about $76 million, which is not a great cost, however we believe that the current proposal is being undersold, and seriously understated
- A fully internationally capable airport in Central NSW would alleviate a fair percentage of regional and other NSW aircraft including domestic and international craft from KSA, as well as other states, given it’s eastern Australia central location. We feel that the potential for this location is huge, and the future service that it can give to Australia could be of enormous economic and strategic importance.
- It would be an absolute boon for tourists, since red plains, kangaroos and emus are what they expect to see in Australia; like coming into Sydney and it’s bridge and opera house, landing into central NSW would be a very exciting experience for the tourist - there would be a genuine reason for a tourist to want to land at a central NSW international airport - unlike Badgerys Creek.
- It would handle the considerable if not massive volumes of perishable freight currently being road transported into Sydney to KSA, over the one western major road over the Blue Mountains. This freight(far greater than 200,000 tonnes) is almost all perishable product(from inland NSW) and so needs to be transported out by aircraft, and the extra cost of long distance ground transport currently being experienced by these businesses must be a crippling and unnecessary burden to them.
- The area is a natural road and rail transport hub already, and is on the Transcontinental rail line which traverses Australia to Western Australia.
- Future planning, with a central NSW hub style airport/fast rail interchange (similar to Lyons/Satolas, 300 miles south of Paris) would have the potential capability to service by fast rail (or current heavy rail) hub radiated plan; Qld, NSW, ACT, Vic and SA, given it’s central location. It could offer a combination of travel options - train/train, plane/train and train/plane or road ingress and/or egress.
- Given that approximately 30% of passengers at KSA simply "cross the tarmac" from one aircraft to another, there is no reason why this could and should not happen at an airport in central NSW, or at any other airport outside the Sydney basin.
- Blue Mountains Council have recently banned B-Double trucks from their roads, even further creating a necessity for Western NSW freight air provision.
- The NSW State Government is currently constructing a road capable of B-Double usage between Newcastle and Dubbo, making this proposal even more viable.
- An airport in central NSW would create a multitude of genuine jobs, and bring back to life the central region of NSW, which is at present is a dying region with little prospect for growth.
- Parkes have indicated that they are able to deliver freight to 82% of the Australian population within 9 - 12 hours, with the existing transport network available to them now. Future radiated fast rail connection would reduce this service time even more, and open even greater market and tourist avenues.
We feel that the example of the Lyons-Satolas fast rail interchange/international airport 300 miles south of Paris, is perfectly capable of being replicated if not greatly improved in Australia, with foresight and long term logical planning in mind, and with considerable advantage and usability over the Satolas model. It would have the ability to expand to service our future needs, it would give us a "back door" short cut transport hub, to service tourists, freight and normal Australian transit passengers - far into our future.
Tourist forecasts promoted by the Government as the reason for the urgent development of the proposed Badgerys Creek airport are spurious in their own right. :- The 1998 Australian Tourist Council’s quarterly summary notes that; "....inbound visitors growth has almost ceased, at present running at an annual growth rate of under 3 percent down from 15.5 percent recorded in mid November 1997." It then notes that "...the slowing of inbound visitor numbers to Australia has been well documented, particularly since the Asian crisis became evident." Tourist growth has however, been evidently slowing since mid 1994; the Asian crisis has simply accelerated the trend from about the middle of 1997."
Likewise, the constant reference to job creation (which we note is promoted in a great part from those persons best described as financial "beneficiaries" of the proposed airport)is spurious since no matter where an airport would be placed, jobs for Australians would be created.
The EIS indicates that a million tonnes of cargo will be expected at the Second Sydney airport. Presumably this would be trucks from NSW wide converging into the Sydney Basin, and leaving from it. It is inconceivable that an off-shore airport will be able to accommodate this demand. Likewise it is inconceivable that one single roundabout at Badgerys Creek will be able to handle this traffic volume, or for that matter, one small airspace over a grown city handle the volume of aircraft traffic expected in the future.
Given the earlier noted statistics, these airports would obviously work to immediately alleviate a major portion of the load on Kingsford Smith Airport, and would do so well into the future. They would also serve to meet the future demands of NSW aircraft users, and would remove an enormous percentage of heavy vehicles of our already choked roads.
A Second Sydney Airport.
A second, or even replacement Sydney airport, outside the Sydney basin can be more carefully planned and considered for with the considerable time made available by the afore mentioned proposals.
- Since there will be a fast rail connection between Sydney and Canberra, a future replacement airport or 2nd Sydney airport could be constructed at a number of places along this route, which would offer the advantage of future expansion to meet future growth as needed.
We personally favour Marulan to the north of Goulburn for this purpose since it is already an intersection of
major highways, and a rail head as well. There is no great population level or growth in the area, and if this
site should be chosen, as should any other site for that matter, residential development must be prevented in the
large surrounding area well prior to any airport being constructed. Large plantings of trees around such a site
would ensure that no urban growth encroached the site, and would act as a noise buffer and a soft put down area
against the event that an aircraft should fail during take off or landing.
Australia has an immense advantage over the rest of the world in that we have seen the mistakes made by other countries and their Governments, and also their successes. We have the invaluable chance to avoid repeating the mistakes made by them, and the massive associated costs, particularly of those "basin" cities such as Los Angeles, Tokyo, Mexico and Athens. We also have a huge advantage over them, in that we have extensive amounts of useable non-critical land space available to us, well away from large areas of human population and environmentally critical locations.
We note that no other country in the world is considering to build an airport such as the Badgerys Creek option(particularly
A and B) currently being entertained, and certainly not one that puts immense risk on their only major water supply,
their electricity supply, the health and well being of the entire city area, or at the expense of increasing what
is already very poor air quality. The Badgerys EIS notes that Athens is moving it’s airport outside of it’s basin
area because of air pollution (and obviously safety) concerns generated by it.
We ask you to please consider very carefully the genuine logical and long term realities and implications of placing a second airport within the Sydney basin, and the needs of the rural population outside of the basin area, ie - greater NSW itself.