Deputy PM confirms Badgerys Creek design will include rail access

written by australianaviation.com.au | August 26, 2015
The federal government has officially "declared" Badgerys Creek as the site for a second airport in Sydney. (Jordan Chong)
It’s official! The federal government has officially “declared” Badgerys Creek as the site for a second airport in Sydney. (Jordan Chong)

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.

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“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.

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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.

Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and federal member for Macarthur Russell Matheson at Badgerys Creek. (Jordan Chong)
Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and federal member for Macarthur Russell Matheson at Badgerys Creek. (Jordan Chong)

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9 Comments

  • Chris GG

    says:

    There appears to be space in the heads of the transport planners involved by allowing provision for railway tunnels on a green fields site. We do not want a repeat of railway lines impeding taxying aircraft like used to be the case at KSA. Short rail and road tunnels are required at Richmond. But the added expense of tunneling at Badgerys Creek at some future time just shows how hopeless malfunction junction decision making processes and prioritizing is. Where did these jokers obtain their qualifications, I.e. if they have any relevant ones?

  • Gary

    says:

    Chris GG,

    Let’s hope that the infrastructure will be included in the initial terminal and will be connected at a later date much the same as the station under Tullamarine.

  • Raymond

    says:

    Gary, do you mean that there’s a railway station underneath Tullamarine airport already? Could you clarify and elaborate please?

  • GAGA

    says:

    I love the:

    “we don’t anticipate that a railway line just servicing the airport would be commercially viable ”

    Even a established rail line servicing lots of popular stations isn’t commercially viable in Sydney. The Sydney train network runs to a operating loss of around $2 Billion p.a,

    By the way Chris, if they do cut (with the cover part later as required) during the initial construction, it’ll be massively cheaper than tunneling under already built infrastrucutre later on. It doesn’t need to impede taxying aircraft, you just dump some pre stressed concrete slabs (which can be cheaply made offsite) over the top of the railway ditches and you got your taxiway.

  • Gary

    says:

    I believe that there is a ‘Terminal’ underneath Tullamarine that was included in the original construction in the 70s when it was envisaged that there would be rail services to and from the terminal and the city which of course has not enventuated
    .

  • Raymond

    says:

    Thanks Gary, interesting. Oh well, if Victorians didn’t keep voting Labor back in (especially recently after only one term of Coalition Government), it’d be happening by now. Instead of forward-thinking infrastructure development, we get policy pandering to union and green demands and interference.
    http://australianaviation.com.au/2014/04/napthine-promises-mel-rail-link/

  • chuck

    says:

    Once again we hear the familiar story of waiting for demand. A hundred years ago we had visionaries that built to create demand rather than reacting to it.
    When will our politicians come clean about the true cost of delaying infrastructure.
    Quite obviously it is vastly cheaper to build on green-field sites, when all of the construction workforce and equipment are already in location. Instead we persist in building 2 lane motorways and bypasses, and leave corridors for future use that become expensive to develop once the surrounds are being heavily trafficked.
    At the very least all of the cover & cut tunnels along with the railway bed earthworks should be constructed.

  • Random

    says:

    Agree with you Chuck.

    The cost of half building infrastructure and having to come back to complete it is hugely expensive compared to the “relatively” small additional cost of doing it right from the start. Using the term relatively is quite deliberate – in the case of motorways, an American study showed the cost per km for divided 4 lane carriageway is typically less than 50% greater than a 2 lane carriageway, but a whopping 150% if the extra lanes are delayed and built less than 5 years later.

    Apparently the politicians like the idea of under-building because it allows Governments to spread out spending over longer periods in an area – which looks good in the media, and keeps construction workers happy. Typically Government wants to spread the funding into as many projects as possible – unfortunately however this method of business ignores the fact that less projects actually get built for the money spent because total project cost is higher – which no worker or taxpayer should be happy about. Neither side of politics has a clean record on this in recent years.

    Badgery’s Creek should have mature roads and rail from the start. I wonder whether the Government is not under a little pressure from the Sydney Airport (KSA) owners – they wouldn’t like having a well-connected brand new airport under-mining the performance of KSA (which has been expensive to buy and develop, and operates retail space and parking at premium costs) – even if they do end up owning the leases on both of them.

  • John

    says:

    NSW & Fed govts are worse than broke. Surely a much cheaper & easier alternative would be a monorail.

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