Friday, 16 December 2016 11:18

Message from the President: Western Sydney Airport a focus for 2017

WSROC President Cr Stephen Bali WSROC President Cr Stephen Bali

2016 has been a jam-packed year from start to finish.

We saw council amalgamations, federal and local government elections, announcements for museums, hospitals, stadiums and universities, as well as the formation of the Greater Sydney Commission and release of its vision for Sydney.

The new year will bring a fresh start for WSROC as our Board re-convenes to review its vision for Western Sydney.

This will no doubt take into consideration the Greater Sydney Commission’s proposed District Plans and the now fully approved Western Sydney Airport.

From the time the draft EIS was released in December 2015, WSROC has indicated its severe disappointment with the Western Sydney Airport planning and approval process.

This is not support or opposition to the airport itself, but a collective vote of non-confidence in how the project has been handled up to this point.

We still do not have a clear indication of what the airport will look like, and many of the issues highlighted by the Western Sydney councils’ independent peer review – flight paths, noise abatement strategies, social impacts and in-depth transport analysis – are yet to be addressed.

In its recently released District Plans, the Greater Sydney Commission’s (GSC) has emphasised the need to plan for transport integration, job creation, environmental protections and community outcomes at Western Sydney Airport.

Unfortunately we have not seen this holistic, strategic approach to planning reflected in the Australian Government’s work on Badgerys Creek to date.

Both WSROC and the GSC agree that Badgerys Creek cannot work in a vacuum, its integration with surrounding employment lands, Western Sydney centres, and greater Sydney, will be critical to its success.

Without these connections Western Sydney Airport will not be the catalyst for investment and jobs that our region demands and deserves.

Our residents also deserve the same protections as people living near other Australian airports. They deserve to see equity in terms of noise abatement and mitigation strategies, airport operating restrictions and compensation schemes.

There are a range of other issues to be addressed including procurement strategies, fuel supply, road congestion and community health that I won’t go into here, but I do promise that in 2017 WSROC will focus its efforts on ensuring that the airport will be an asset, not just a liability for the West. 

Last modified on Monday, 19 December 2016 11:56