Space for rail links will be included in the design plans for the second Sydney airport to be built at Badgerys Creek in Western Sydney, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss has confirmed.
Although buses are expected to be the only form of public transit on offer when the airport opens some time in the mid-2020s, the design plans will include provisions for a station within the terminal facilities, as well as rail tunnels linking that station to the Sydney rail network.
Truss, who is also the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, says the federal government is in discussions with his counterparts in NSW about rail access to the site.
“Clearly at the very least we need to have the planning in place so that we know where the railway line will go,” Truss told reporters at the official declaration of Badgerys Creek as the site for the second Sydney Airport on Wednesday.
“With the initial expectations of the number of passengers in early years, we don’t anticipate that a railway line just servicing the airport would be commercially viable but as time goes by, passenger numbers will grow and clearly then that access would be required.”
Truss said the cost of the rail tunnels and cavity for the railway station would be about $500 million and that cost was being included in the design plans.
The declaration of Badgerys Creek as the site for the second Sydney airport ensures the further planning work on the airport can proceed and airspace around the proposed facility is protected from potential high-rise buildings.
Truss said the environmental impact statement for the project, which looks at how the airport may affect air and water quality, local vegetation and wildlife as well noise exposure for the surrounding area, is due to be released for public comment in late October.
Also, some 30 residents yet to vacate the Badgerys Creek airport site were being dealt with in federal court.
“We are going through the process as outlined in the law,” Truss said.
“We naturally would have been happy to have a negotiated settlement with everyone but that doesn’t very often happen in circumstances like these. We will certainly treat the people who have lived here over a long period of time with compassion. We are helping them on a one-to-one basis as best we can.”
The government planned to start construction at Badgerys Creek before the end of 2016.
The federal member for Macarthur Russell Matheson, whose electorate covers Badgerys Creek and was alongside Truss at the official declaration, said the airport was a once-in-a-generation project for the region, noting the opportunities for new jobs and new industries in western Sydney.
“My community is looking forward to having Western Sydney airport up and running in the next 10 years,” Matheson said.
“This project prepares the way for Western Sydney’s growing population and sets the foundation for a strong economy for generations to come.”
Meanwhile, the Commonwealth recently concluded the nine-month formal consultation period with the owners of Sydney Airport and was preparing to release its Notice of Intention (effectively a sales contract) in late 2015.
The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development is currently preparing its advice to government about the commercial and contractual structure of the proposal, including the detailed first stage requirements of the airport.
When the Commonwealth sold Sydney Airport in 2002 it included a 30-year first right of refusal to build and operate any airport within 100km of the existing terminals at Mascot.