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12 July 2015 Posted by 

COMMENT: TRANSPORT CHOKE

Airport is setting us up for failure

By Stephen Bali
Blacktown City Council Mayor

IT is simply not good enough that major Federal projects are planned with insufficient Federal funding for ancillary transport infrastructure.

We need to take a tough stance and lobby hard to ensure our local government areas are not left to clean up the mess that follows.

We are all going to experience this with Badgery’s Creek airport and it is a prime example of the issue at stake.

There is limited funding for the airport construction and roads, but nothing for a rail link. This is a major shortfall and we need to make sure this missing link is created.

The airport and the major transport infrastructure connecting to it will form a major gateway to Australia that will form the first impressions of millions of tourists a year.

The State and Federal Governments have only committed funds for the road infrastructure immediately surrounding the airport and not much more than a few roundabouts and some road widening elsewhere.

Outside this area, local councils are going to have to cope with the congestion that comes from dropping 80 million passenger movements in the middle of Western Sydney.

The only way in and out is going to be by road and the estimates are that it will be a three hour trip to Sydney City in the peak travel times.

What a wonderful welcome to Sydney that will be.

This is short sighted, ineffective and means Western Sydney’s ratepayers are left suffering the inconveniences that result and the surrounding local are councils left having to clean up the mess that follows.

Let’s take a look at what we are dealing with as an example of what may be visited on all our local government areas.

The final design for Badgery’s Creek reveals a major international airport complex forecast to take 80 million passengers a year.

That’s twice the number currently serviced by Sydney Airport at Mascot.

Anyone who has travelled in and out of Sydney by air knows the congestion level there, and that’s congestion that continues despite a rail link used by millions of people a year.

Qantas says a rail link to Badgery’s Creek is necessary for the airport to be successful.

Merely identifying a corridor for this transport link and not building it compromises the whole value of the airport as a welcoming gateway to Australia.

The North West Rail Link project comprises 23 kilometres of new rail line between Epping and Rouse Hill in Sydney's north western suburbs.

In May 2012, Infrastructure Australia rejected the NSW Government's application for Federal funding and no Federal funding has been agreed.

This lack of Federal funding seriously compromises the potential of this major new national transport infrastructure. Lack of funding foresight is setting us up for infrastructure failure.

How does Federal infrastructure failure show itself?

NSW has seven of the top ten road congestion hotspots identified by Infrastructure Australia’s Audit Report.

The number one hotspot is the Pennant Hills Road corridor, which is western Sydney's roadway north to the central coast and beyond.

It is the transport chokehold that clogs with trucks in their thousands. It is a national highway, but is more of a national slow way.But this is only one of the slow moving car parks we call motorways in Sydney.

The scripts for Sydney’s morning traffic reports don’t vary:

•    Gridlock on the Lane Cove Road-King Georges Road corridor.
•    Traffic banking up along the M5 in the southwest.,
•    Long queues on M4 in the west and the M2 in the northwest.

This is due to a lack of proper infrastructure investment keeping in line with foreshadowed population growth.

This is not a Sydney problem, it is not a NSW problem, it is a national problem. To quote the chairman of Infrastructure Australia, Mark Birrell –

"It is time for the nation to treat population growth as a fact, a fact our nation should accept and gear up for. Without action road travel times in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra are expected to increase by at least 20 per cent in the most congested corridors by 2031."

Australia's ranking on infrastructure has slipped to 18 from its position of fifth in 2009, according to the World Competitiveness Yearbook published by Swiss business school IMD.

Australia, which has the world's 12th largest economy, should be among the top 10 nations globally for infrastructure.

The scale of this looming Badgery’s Creek transport choke point means this issue has Federal significance that can only be addressed by Federal action.



editor

Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.