I took part in the debate on Badgerys Creek airport, held in Bowman Hall, Blacktown yesterday (11th March, 2014), and enjoyed it.
I participated in it actively by asking a question and giving my views.
I was impressed with clarity of points in the speeches of David Borger, Mark Lennon and John Robertson. John Robertson stood his ground when a section in the hall booed him. I admire him for this. Even Liberal Councillors, Ross Grove and Justin Taunton, were impressed.
I was unimpressed with the scare campaign by the “NO” group comprising of Blacktown Councillor, Stephen Bali and activist, Jai Martinkovits.
David Borger from Western Sydney Airport Alliance and Mark Lennon from Unions NSW outlined that Western Sydney needs this major infrastructure project for its economic growth and jobs. Studies after studies have indicated that Sydney needs a second airport beyond 2027, and Badgerys Creek is the only realistic site for such airport. Federal Govt already owns 1700 ha land there.
The “NO” group were mostly into scare campaign, using all sorts of concerns about life style, noise and pollution. “Not my Backyard” was their mantra, suggesting alternative sites like Lithgow, Wilton, and others, which have been dismissed as relatively uneconomical or second best by studies after studies. They wanted yet another study on this subject. It was just ridiculous.
Clr Stephen Bali raised the health concerns for residents if airport came to Badgerys Creek. He had no answer to my question when I asked whether he is aware of health implications of unemployment. It is well known that unemployment creates mental and physical health issues and quality of life issues. I raised the issue of unemployment in Western Sydney, where it can be upto 25% in some areas.
When I was given a chance to speak, I said “Kingsford Smith Airport (KSA) will not be able to provide new slots for any airline beyond 2027, while number of passengers will keep growing. 87 million passengers are expected to use KSA by 2035, and these numbers will double by 2060. The capacity deficit in landing slots beyond 2027 will adversely impact NSW/Australian economy. $60 billion is the cost by 2060 due to capacity constraints at KSA.
This is thus clear that Sydney needs a second airport. There is no further capacity at 900 ha KSA to build new runways or extend its operation.
Second airport is needed for economic reasons. NSW needs a second airport for its economic growth, without which NSW will have difficulties in investing money on health, education and transport. That will have an adverse impact on our quality of life.
Badgerys Creek is the only realistic site, where Federal Govt already own 17 ha land”.
I saw that speakers from “FOR” group were booed by a group of vocal retirees who are in their 70s and 80s. They are not looking for jobs and do not seem to care for Western Sydney economy. They have closed their minds and were opposing it with howls and placards. They obviously have all the time in their hands, unlike younger people, who need and work on full time jobs, but were not there in sufficient numbers as they have to work long hours and commute for long hours on a daily basis. Surveys have however shown that majority of Western Sydney residents, including many councils and MPs are in support of Badgerys Creek airport.
There are compelling reasons for Badgerys Airport. What we need is Leadership by politicians.
We can not allow a small noisy/vocal group of retirees, Greenies and scare-mongers to derail this “Once in a Life Time” infrastructure project in Western Sydney.
PM Tony Abbott should make the announcement for Badgerys Creek soon, with Federal Leader of opposition, Premier of NSW and Leader of NSW Opposition to outline/demonstrate bipartisan support of this mega infrastructure project with variety of benefits to Western Sydney.