Due in early 2013, then promised in March 2013, the long awaited Scoping Study into the feasibility of the Wilton Airport proposal was finally released on Friday May 10th.
As expected, the report is pretty damning about the viability and difficulty of a Wilton Airport, on location, economic, technical and environmental grounds, short of actually saying that it is impossible. But instead of concluding that Wilton can now be ruled out, the Federal Government is leaving the issue hanging, by commissioning more wastefull studies.
Read our assessment of this report in our Press release 12/05/13
Given the likely outcome of the forthcoming federal election, the statement from Opposition Shadow Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss may be of most relevance, who:stated on 10 May:
A SECOND Sydney Airport at Wilton was never a practical option and it is no surprise that the site has been all but ruled out in the latest study on Sydney Airport released today,” Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Warren Truss said today. “The Wilton study has been a distraction to enable the government to put off making a decision about Sydney’s Airport needs until after the election. The site is too far from Sydney, creates huge environmental issues and would never attract the patronage of other options.
SWAG really appreciates this statement from the Opposition but proposes it has not yet ’ been all but ruled out’, Mr Truss. And this is precisely what the Federal Opposition should declare without delay:
That Wilton is hereby ruled out permanently as an option for Sydney’s second airport and not a single cent will be spent on any further studies for Wilton if the Opposition is elected to government in September. The people of Wilton and this region deserve no less.
The federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, held a press conference on 21/2/13 in which he discussed proposals for Sydneys second airport following a new report from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics. This he said, underlined the need for further aviation capacity in Sydney. See The Australian: 21/2/13 . During the press conference, the minister stated the following about Wilton:
"Wilton, I think, is a preferred site for the Government. We have made that determination, but we're examining what the issues are around Wilton. We know what the issues are in terms of Badgerys Creek went through a full EIS process and had a lot more detail around it.
Wilton hasn't had that. That's why it's important in terms of coming up with evidence-based policy solutions that we get the evidence out there for all to see."
But the minister's assertion is not correct, because Wilton HAS had an EIS. In addition to recent studies, Wilton, along with Badgery's Creek, was the subject of a detailed Environmental Impact Statement prepared for the Department of Aviation in 1985.
The 1985 EIS was based on a proposed location almost exactly the same as the two versions shown in the 2012 Joint Study. These are shown at left, traced onto a recent aerial photo, with some roads, gorges and other features marked for reference. Each of the 1985 and 2012 proposals were based on 4kM main runways, constrained by the site topography.
So all of the problems associated with ground conditions, topography, water catchment and loss of flora and fauna etc, that were assessed in detail in 1985, would still be problems today.
And Wilton is still too far away. Rail and road access to Sydney are no different now.
The results of the 1985 EIS were recently summarised in the Daily Telegraph (27/11/12):
Wilton Airport still too far away - Labor's 1985 report rings true:
"SYDNEY travellers would reject an airport at Wilton because of its remoteness - that was the damning assessment of an environmental impact study done on the proposed airport site in 1985".
The evidence from the 1985 EIS was sufficient for the Hawke Labor government of the time, to conclude that Wilton was not suitable as a location for Sydney's second airport. And now in 2013, once the Scoping Study is released, assuming that it correctly concludes that Wilton is once again found to be not suitable, there will be ample evidence to permanently rule-out Wilton from further consideration.
See our Press Release 03/03/13 for further information.
On this website, we discuss the background, the issues and why we oppose the proposal for a new airport in Wilton NSW.
The debate about whether Sydney needs another airport and where Sydney’s second airport should be situated has been ongoing for more than 40 years. On 2nd March 2012, Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese, announced the outcomes of the latest report, a joint State and Federal study on Aviation Capacity in the Sydney region, which concluded that a second Sydney airport is needed.
Out of a range of sites considered, the first choice as listed in the Executive Summary of the Joint Study was Badgerys Creek, and Wilton was the second choice. As Minister Albanese explained at the press conference to launch the Study, the Federal government had already rejected Badgerys Creek because of prior election commitments, and so Wilton was chosen as front runner despite it being listed only as No. 7 out of 10 potential sites in a total cost benefit analysis in the main body of the Study.
The Study itself identifies many serious problems with siting an airport at Wilton in relation to water catchment safety, construction, operational and terrain obstacles and other environmental impacts (see the 'Issues' section on this site).
A Scoping Study on Wilton is currently underway to determine its suitability for proceeding to a full Environmental Impact Statement, which could take up to two years to complete. The Scoping Study is due to report in March 2013.
Stop Wilton Airport Group (SWAG) is an independent group of residents formed to represent the community’s opposition to the Wilton airport proposal. We disagree with building a second Sydney airport in Wilton. We are taking this action not only to prevent Wilton and this region from becoming the scene of a real disaster for the area and its unique environmental assets, but also to prevent it suffering the same fate as Badgery's Creek, where people's lives, properties and other more appropriate developments are frozen for many years.
A second Sydney airport in Wilton NSW would affect not only Wilton itself, but also a wide area from Wollongong to the Southern Highlands. Families living in Camden, Campbelltown, Menangle, Appin, Picton, Bargo, Tahmoor, Douglas Park, Thirlmere, Hilltop, Bowral, Mittagong and other nearby communities would all be affected. This is a serious regional issue.
The overwhelming majority of local people do not want this airport. This view is supported by local councils in Wollondilly, Camden, Campbelltown and Wingecarribee, plus local state and federal MP's. But despite this and all of the problems:
This airport could happen unless the community speaks up.
On this website, Stop Wilton Airport Group are putting together a comprehensive set of information relating to the Wilton airport proposal:
- Under the 'News' tab above, is information on SWAG activities and links to media articles.
- The 'Information' tab provides background on Wilton and its history, the proposed airport site location, airport layout, required infrastructure upgrades and links plus description of where to download official study reports.
- Under the 'Issues' tab, each relevant issue is discussed in detail, with supporting links to organisations and documents.
- The 'Photographs' section shows what a beautiful and special place this is, which will help to understand why we should fight for it.
- The 'Links' page gives access to relevant organisations, plus SWAG documents such as our petition form, brochure and press releases.
Please explore the site, and see the Get involved page for information on how you can help. We are updating the site frequently with further information, news and discussion of issues, so please revisit often.
The Federal Government's scoping study into the Wilton Airport proposal was released on May 10th. Here is some of the key coverage and commentary:
12/05/13 The Sydney Morning Herald: Both parties fail to pick an airport site
10/05/13 The Sydney Morning Herald: Labor baulks at decision on second airport before election
10/05/13 The Australian: Report to reignite debate on second Sydney airport
10/05/13 The Daily Telegraph: Richmond Airbase option but Badgerys the best pick for Sydney's second airport
10/05/13 Plane Talking - Crikey:
Sydney Airport (Wilton) study all about Badgerys Creek
Coal may have killed any chance of a Wilton Airport
13/04/13 The Daily Telegraph: Councils join push for airport at Badgerys Creek
Support for a second airport at Badgerys Creek has received another significant boost, with a key group of councils backing calls for the first steps to be taken in its development.
12/04/13 The Daily Telegraph: Unions, business alliance backing Badgerys for the site of Sydney's second airport
The combined power of the NSW union movement has formed an unprecedented alliance with business groups to back a second Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek.
11/04/13 Nine News, National: Sydney still needs 2nd airport: Albanese
The need for a second Sydney airport won't be overshadowed by any proposals to build an east coast high speed rail network, the federal government says.
11/04/13 The Herald Sun: Global cities have more than one airport
Sydney can't label itself as Australia's global gateway until it builds a second airport, one of Australia's leading demographers said yesterday.
7/04/13 Ben Sandilands - Crikey:
Sydney Airport congestion and some missing information
On the Wilton scoping study:
"The report has been overdue, since late December.....
...Clearly, the Wilton Expedition has delivered something to the Minister, and we are being prepared for it.Whether it is advice that Wilton is as useless as 99% of those familiar with the area know that it is, or that at fabulous cost there is a way to build an airport that will be seriously inferior to Badgerys Creek that the Minister can them dress up as supportable, we should ‘soon’ known. I just don’t know how soon ‘soon’ is, after a terse message from a contact today. But it is ‘soon’ as in ‘before 14 September’, which at the moment, seems like an eternity away....
21/03/13 Sydney Morning Herald:
Election winds may leave airport in holding pattern
Will the latest report be the tipping point for Badgerys?
17/03/13 Ben Sandilands - Crikey: Houses galore for Wilton 2nd Sydney airport site
Following recent comments by the Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, we call on the federal government to release the scoping study and forget another EIS for Wilton, noting that in addition to the recent joint study and scoping study a detailed EIS was carried out for the same site in Wilton in 1985.
22/02/13 Sydney Morning Herald: Councils to gauge support for airport
21/02/13 The Australian: Evidence-based push for new Sydney airport
16/02/13 The Daily Telegraph:
Wilton option won't fly for our second airport
Christopher Brown, who was on the report's steering committee, said Badgerys Creek was the only option for a second airport.
"I can't believe I agreed to a final report that sort of said '(Badgerys Creek) or Wilton'," Mr Brown said. "It was probably the greatest compromise we made. "Wilton wasn't second, it was 12th and Badgerys Creek was first through 11."
16/02/13 Sydney Morning Herald:
Badgery's: Much gain, little pain
At a forum in Parramatta on Friday, business groups, councillors, property developers and community and welfare groups spoke in favour of building an airport on 17,000 hectares of government-owned land at Badgerys Creek.
12/02/13 The Australian:
The west is backing a second airport for Sydney
WESTERN Sydney's peak body of councils has reversed a tough no-airport stance it has maintained for 30 years and is set to throw its weight behind a second airport at Badgerys Creek.
03/01/13 The Daily Telegraph: More inside info on the likely outcome of the Wilton scoping study
02/01/13 The Daily Telegraph: Liberals in Sydney airport dogfight
01/01/13 The Australian: Hockey backs building airport at Badgery's
'Wilton the least preferable option". We comment, following publication on 11/12/12 of the outcome of a meeting of key aviation players noted below:
11/12/12 Australian Financial Review: Airline industry demands new Sydney airport by 2022 A meeting of almost 20 airlines, investors and industry consultants has rejected the NSW government’s position that Kingsford Smith Airport can continue to meet demand and want a second airport in the Sydney basin fully operational well within a decade. But the meeting agreed that Wilton was “the least preferable option", including the four main consultants involved in preparing the current scoping study for Wilton.
It is now clear that no one involved in aviation, or who understands economics, infrastructure or construction thinks that Wilton Airport is a good idea. It is time for the Federal government to accept this and move on.
2/12/12 The Macarthur Chronicle: Wilton Airport threat still alive for Wollondlly
1/12/12 The Australian: Indecision on airport leaves lives in limbo
This week has seen the release of the Green Party's policy statement opposing a second Sydney airport at Wilton or Badgery's Creek, and its report on the advantages of a High Speed rail system, which it states, could make the need for an extra airport redundant. In this Press Release we comment on the position of the various political players.
Noting the Daily Telegraph's recent summary of the results of the 1985 EIS on Wilton Airport, and likely similar conclusions in the current Federal scoping study, we point out how nothing has changed. As in 1985, a Wilton airport would still be too far away and there would still be huge environmental problems with it.
27/11/12 The Daily Telegraph: Wilton Airport still too far away - Labor's 1985 report rings true A summary of the 1985 Environmental Impact Statement - with conclusions that are still true today.
17/11/12 News on Scoping study:
Wollondilly Shire Council have met with staff from the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Planning, and pressed our communities request for proper engagement and consultation as part of the scoping study. Council was informed that no such consultation was planned at this stage, and would not take place unless the proposal proceeded to a full Environmental Impact Statement. The scoping study is expected to be complete in March 2013.
We thank Council for making this request. With no consultation planned, SWAG will continue to make our views known through our press releases, interviews and this website - so send us your comments and opinions by email as shown below.
15/11/12 Sydney Morning Herald: Second airport would be key to jobs stimulus
Discussion on economic and political issues relating to Sydney's second airport. Most relevant for the Wilton airport proposal, Anthony Albanese;
'...asked if he would support an airport at Badgerys Creek if Wilton was deemed unsuitable, Mr Albanese said:
''I welcome support for a second airport for Sydney from all quarters.
"When the Wilton study is complete, it will be released."'
With several different politically-based proposals for Sydney's second airport emerging, even within the same party, SWAG asks 'Who is at the controls? Brian Williams from SWAG was interviewed on ABC and Campbelltown FM radio, presenting our position and calling for proper community consultation as part of the Wilton scoping study.
Meanwhile, with the scoping study into Wilton still underway, there are quotes in the press stating that the likely conclusion will be that there are big problems with the Wilton proposal. Hey...we know!
See our Press Release (pdf 359k)
13/11/12 The Daily Telegraph: Albanese flies through flak over second airport.
Badgery's Creek? Canberra? Expand Sydney airport?, or Wilton? There are many different views and much political in-fighting related to Sydney's second airport. An on-line poll in this article shows Badgerys as front runner with only 7% in favour of a Wilton airport, with over 3000 votes cast. - Add your vote - but not for Wilton!
12/11/12 The Daily Telegraph:NSW Treasurer Mike Baird backs more runways, no new airport for Sydney
10/11/12 Sydney Morning Herald: Airport debacle stuck in eternal holding pattern
31/10/12 Wollondilly Advertiser: Support For Airport. About 100 councils supported a call for a second airport for the Sydney region at the Local Government Conference in Dubbo. Wollondilly argued strongly against an airport in Wilton.
The community needs to be vocal in supporting councils position to oppose the airport proposal - otherwise it could be accepted by default. If you have a view on this, send it on an email to SWAG as shown below.
27/10/12 - Fund-raising dinner-dance
At Picton Bowling Club, with live music from 'The Harmonators'. The was a great success. See our News page.
11/10/12 - Australian Financial Review: “I would be astounded if the Wilton study comes back saying there's any chance at all of Wilton being able to host a second international airport for Sydney, based on topography, based on distance, based on growth corridors, based on everything,” - Chris Brown, member of the expert panel for the Federal/State Joint Study on aviation capacity in the Sydney region (pdf 548k).
"Our backyard is your backyard...."