It's official: Sydney will get a second airport
IT WAS a decision 50 years in the making and the result unlikely to be realised in the next decade but confirmation Sydney's second airport will be built at Badgery's Creek has finally provided hope for the future at Australia's critically congested gateway.
While the news was never going to make everyone happy - councillors and residents from Sydney's western suburbs were quick to criticise the decision, Badgery's Creek had been the favoured site in federal parliament ranks since a 2012 aviation report commissioned by former Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese suggested it was the best option.
The Federal Coalition took a little longer to accept the proposal over a fast-rail link to Canberra but on Tuesday morning, a proposal to begin construction at Badgery's Creek as early as 2016, went to Cabinet with the Prime Minister's endorsement.
The plan is also expected to have the support NSW Premier O'Farrell, who also favoured the Canberra link, but changed his mind earlier this year and announced bi-partisan support for Badgery's Creek alongside state opposition leader John Robertson.
Since the late '90s, the Western Sydney Alliance of Councils and several MP's from both sides of the floor have maintained they would only support the project if it returned major infrastructure and employment opportunities in the region.
In a joint statement from the Prime Minster and Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss, the Federal Government pledged the "much needed relief valve" would generate 4000 jobs during the development stage, 35,000 by 2035 and 60,000 in the future.
Despite being confident the project will go ahead, the government also acknowledged it's obligation to give the Kingsford Smith Airport -which currently accounts for 40% of international arrivals and 50% of international airfreight- the right to reject the plan.
Realistically, Badgery Creek's first flights will take off in the mid 2020s.
Mr Truss confirmed he had written to the Southern Cross Airport's Corporation and requested planning started immediately.
By Tuesday afternoon, the announcement had ignited a more light-hearted debate, with online bookmakers taking punts on what the airport was likely to be called.
Unsurprisingly, Badgery's Creek was the favourite to win but more colourful suggestions on the Sportingbet site included Banjo Paterson, Sir Donald Bradman, Black Caviar and Sir Richard Branson.