No Aircraft Noise party says Wilton should replace Sydney’s airport

Sydney airport's rapid growth means more noise over Marrickville, Leichhardt and Hunters Hill.

Allan Rees, spokesperson for the No Aircraft Noise (NAN) party, believes that the site south of Wilton must be assessed as a replacement airport for Sydney. “This is the only way to end the growing noise nightmare for 100,000 people,” he said on May 9.
 
NAN has campaigned for decades to get the Sydney airport moved out of the city on the grounds of its detrimental health and environmental impacts.

NAN says the small town of Wilton, about 75 kilometres south-west of Sydney and a proposed site for an airport, would need to be consulted and persuaded of the benefits. These include its proximity to Sydney and Wollongong, and its ability to be linked into the existing rail network without the need for a very fast train.
 
“Moving Sydney airport to Wilton would give an efficient airport able to take the next 50 years of aviation growth,” he told Green Left Weekly. “It can be linked into the CityRail network by electrifying the railway from Campbelltown. Wollongong can be connected by completing the partly built Maldon Dombarton railway.
 
“Wilton was assessed as suitable for a major second airport in 1985, along with Badgerys Creek. The Hawke Labor government chose Badgerys, but built a third runway at Mascot after lobbying from the airlines and the Greiner NSW Liberal government.”
 
The Sydney Aviation Capacity Study — the latest NSW-federal study — recommends increasing the flights at Sydney Airport up to the legislated limit of 80 flights an hour for 17 hours a day. It admits that increasing flights at Mascot will end noise sharing and increase the concentration of flights over suburbs such as Marrickville, Leichhardt and Hunters Hill, north of the airport.
 
Rees said: “These suburbs are supposed to get only 17% of flights under the Long Term Operating Plan brought in by the Howard government and continued under Labor. Instead it is rarely under 30% and includes the biggest noisiest jets using the long runway.”
 
The proposed airport site is five kilometres south of Wilton. NAN said it is near the main southern railway and the Hume Highway and can be linked into the suburban train network.
 
Rees said almost all noise would be over unpopulated areas, much of it water catchment. All of Sydney’s water has been filtered since the Giardia and Cryptosporidium crisis 12 years ago.
 
Rees said noise and land use guidelines for an airport would have to be applied in Wilton, which has not happened in any meaningful way in Sydney.
 
“The 1985 study found that only a few hundred people would be affected by noise from an airport near Wilton. Those affected would have to be compensated in accord with the Australian Standards, unlike what has happened around Mascot.
 
“It’s not possible to achieve the Australian Standards with the existing airport whose latest plans show that homes out to Hunters Hill should be insulated and that nobody should be living with the level of noise between Leichhardt and the airport, even with insulation.”
 
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and Sydney airport boss Max Moore-Wilton are adamant there is no need for more airport capacity in Sydney.
 
Rees suspects that as Sydney airport becomes choked, regional airlines will use Bankstown and Richmond airports. O’Farrell also wants a fast train to Canberra where Sydney’s second airport could be built.
 
Qantas, originally against a new airport, is now in favour of one — but hasn’t said whether it prefers Badgerys or Wilton. “It is probable that they want space for Jetstar expansion into the Asian budget airline market,” said Rees.
 
The Tourism and Transport Forum also supports a second airport citing population pressures. Rees says that Berlin and Athens, both with populations over 3 million, operate one airport outside the city, so Sydney could do so with a population of 4 million.

Federal transport minister Anthony Albanese has presided over three major reports and has now commissioned a Scoping Study for Wilton and an Environmental Impact Study. This will allow him to boast at the next federal election of his progress, but blame opposition leader Tony Abbott later on, Rees said. Albanese has also approved Sydney Airports Master Plan allowing expansion up to 2029.

“Doing nothing will allow the most profit for the monopoly owners of Sydney Airport, as well as making it more likely that regional airlines will end up at Bankstown and Richmond. Doing nothing also brings more pressure to lift the curfew at Mascot.”
 
[For more information visit the website or email ccnan@bigpond.com.

Related coverage: High-speed rail better than a second Sydney airport.]



Comments

With regard to the proposed development of an airport at Wilton. As I am sure that you are aware, families have invested their lives in this area having chosen to live in a beautiful, clean and serene environment steeped I cultural history & significance. The key issues for me are ;1) the impact that this development will have on families living, not just in Wilton, but in the many surrounding towns & communities;2) the impact and threat to clean air and water catchment in this area, and in particular, the proximity of the dams; 3) the threat to wildlife - in particular the "vulnerable" koalas and gliders, together with numerous other species of flora and fauna in this pristine piece of quintessentially Australian habitat . I find the arguement that because there "few people affected " they can be compensated cheaply and therefore don't matter reprehensible. I wonder how many people living around KS did so before it was built ?

Sydney may need extra flight movements in the future to cope with demand but an airport in Wilton is simply not the answer. Much has changed since the report from 1985, Wilton Village now contains over 350 houses alone, Bingara Gorge, a development adjacent to the Hume Highway has added over 200 homes in the last three years and over a thousand home sites are currently being developed. A 'few hundred people' is simply insulting. According to the statistics on several real estate web pages, there are over 2000 homes in Wilton with a population of over 7000. Maybe Mr Rees should venture west of Anzac Parade and have a look for himself. It just smacks of the ignorant and arrogant views of many people living in inner Sydney who believe that the south western suburbs are sparsely inhabited by uneducated hill billies.

The proposed site it almost entirely contained within the Sydney Catchment Area. I am presently not even permitted to go for walk in the area; there are signs almost every 200m adjacent to the road forbidding it. There is also a security patrol of the area. But landing an A380 is ok? I'm sorry but that simply does not make sense. Do Sydney Water’s filters currently cope with Avgas?

How many people currently use the train to get to Mascot? Not that many from what I have seen. How many are going to sit on the train with the uneducated hill billies all stations to Campbelltown and beyond? Maybe we could set up a duty free shop at Minto station so people could buy refreshments. Melbourne has two airports now, Avalon is underutilised because it simply takes too long to get to the CBD. Has Mr Rees driven along the Hume Highway and M5 to get to Sydney in the morning peak? Allow at least two hours anywhere between 6am and 10am during the week.

The simple solution is to allow more traffic at Sydney airport, and the people who have to wear most of the noise will most likely be the people who are using it. If you don't like airport noise, sell your home and come and buy two in Wilton. Too far to travel? Welcome to our world.

Have a debate about the airport, but please take the time to learn the facts and at least hop in your car (we don't have any public transport apart from a school bus) and come out and have a look, if you dare walk amongst the uneducated hill billies.

Resident of Macarthur Drive Wilton. I agree with the above, we moved out to Wilton 12 years ago looking for a different way of living a place that we felt was safe to bring up our children with clean fresh air and lots of room to run, play, ride either bikes or horses and we love it would trade it for anything. Now the threat of an airport again and this time the threat seem more real than the last. I do understand that noone wants an airport in their back yard but this airport if it goes ahead it will be in my front yard! So no I dont want the airport. We have gone back to basic moving here we live off tank water and have no sewer connection.

This has taught our family how important the environment is and how to take care of our environment. This airport will put the environment at risk; wildlife, clean air and water, koalas that have just been listed as protected, many other animals and flora/fauna will be affected. At present the water catchment area is fenced as above mentioned and it is an $11,000 fine if you enter the property I cant even ride my horse on the land and yes you would like a plane to land there.
I really feel that this government has let its people down again and its time they start to listen as we might be a small town but we have big hearts and plenty of commitment to protecting our town environment and the greater Macarthur communities.

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