Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese on Friday said Sydney would need the second airport to meet a growing demand in aviation.
“It’s quite clear with the curfew and cap in place at Sydney Airport, and with estimated growth in aviation that’s expected in the years leading up to the year 2020, that Sydney will need a second airport,” Albanese told reporters.
Premier Morris Iemma says that while other locations were being considered, Newcastle Airport at Williamtown RAAF base had “huge potential”.
His government is reported to have recommended the site in a wide-ranging submission to the Rudd government’s aviation review.
“Newcastle’s location to the upper Hunter and to the north coast makes it a good, attractive option to boosting tourism to the mid-north coast and for the Hunter,” he told reporters.
Iemma says the Williamtown site had grown significantly in recent years, with Jetstar using it as a maintenance base, and an international airport would not displace the RAAF base.
His comments come only a month after his Treasurer Michael Costa appeared to pour cold water on the Newcastle site, saying many challenges stood in the way.
Opponents to the site say a lack of a rail link to Williamtown and its priority as a defence site make it unacceptable.
Iemma says other sites for a second airport are also being examined including Wilton, south of the city, as well as expanding the airforce base at Richmond, in Sydney’s outer north-west.
However, Albanese has repeatedly declined to be drawn on an airport site.
“That’s not a matter for a decision to be made on the run,” he says.
“What that needs is a properly considered analysis taking into account economic, social and environmental concerns.”
Greens MP Lee Rhiannon says Newcastle residents have a “long and successful” history in opposing having an international airport built in their region.
Rhiannon says the government should instead look to move away from Sydney International Airport and build a new replacement facility outside the Sydney region.
Source: Industry Search