Government plans second airport at Wilton

Wollondilly mayor Col Mitchell has slammed a government announcement that Wilton will be investigated as the site for a second Sydney airport.

Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese announced this afternoon the government would begin planning studies at Wilton following the recommendation of a major government study.

The study found that Badgerys Creek was still the best site for the airport, but failing that Wilton should be immediately investigated.

Cr Mitchell said Wollondilly Shire Council was firmly against an airport in their region.

‘‘That decision is firm and final,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve consistently opposed any airport in our area.’’

He said the main concerns were noise and environmental contamination, especially of the major dams in the Wollondilly area which contained Sydney’s drinking water.

The lack of infrastructure in the area was also a concern if an airport were to be based at Wilton, he said.

‘‘They’re saying a high speed training from Canberra is too expensive, but we’re isolated out here,’’ he said.

‘‘It takes me two hours to get home from the city. We don’t have the infrastructure.’’

Cr Mitchell said studies into Wilton’s viability as a second airport site had been done 10 years ago and he did not understand why they were being done again.

‘‘It just amazes us at how Wilton keeps coming up. What I would like to know is what has changed in 10 years?’’

The report, released this afternoon, said if the Badgerys Creek site was ruled out, work must begin on the Wilton site immediately.

‘‘Processes should be put in train to secure the site and undertake the full environmental assessment and airport planning processes required to protect and prepare the site for future development,’’ the report said.

‘‘There is a need to act quickly to finalise a decision on a site for a supplementary airport and secure it, even if an airport may not need to operate at the site in the short term.

‘‘As a minimum a supporting infrastructure plan should be developed between the Australian and NSW governments. This should include planning on surface transport links and connections to utilities, including identification of the service corridors to be protected.’’