The federal government has appointed technical experts and consultants for a scoping study into the suitability of Wilton as a site for a second Sydney Airport.
The study, expected to take six months, will include detailed economic, social and environmental studies of the site, located some 80km southwest of Sydney CBD.
“The main purpose of the study is to identify as early as possible the challenges and the opportunities of any airport development,” federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said in a statement. “It is important that a proper investigation take place prior to any final decisions being made.”
Mr Albanese added that he had written to local governments and Members of Parliament advising them of the study and was “determined to make sure there is proper consultation and engagement with the community.”
Past studies of Wilton as a possible airport site have raised concerns, including over the possible contamination of water catchments. But the site has emerged as the government’s top option following the release of a study earlier this year predicting “aircraft deadlock” at the current Sydney Airport within a decade and dire long-term economic consequences if a second airport isn’t built.
The issue remains highly contentious, however, with New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell having vowed to oppose the construction of a second airport anywhere in the state.
According to the statement, the following consultants have been appointed for the Wilton study:
- WorleyParsons, in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers and Airport Master Planning consultants, will conduct a detailed assessment of environmental and infrastructure aspects near Wilton;
- Ernst and Young will conduct a thorough examination of the scale and nature of impacts of an airport development on the surrounding Wilton and Richmond communities, including factors such as aircraft noise, opportunities for employment and infrastructure investment; and
- Both of these studies will be supported by passenger demand analysis undertaken by Booz and Company.