Upping the pressure

PRESSURE: Canberra airport is pushing its case to host a second international facility and high speed rail. Arhitects Guida Mosely Brown have designed the infrastructure airport’s managing director Stephen Byron wants constructed by 2020.Canberra airport pushes rail
Nanjing Night Net

CANBERRA Airport is ramping up its push to host a second international facility that’s reliant on high speed rail.

Managing director Stephen Byron is tapping into community opposition to Badgerys Creek and Wilton as sites for Sydney’s flight overflow. His glossy campaign, sent to councils, government and media outlets, outlines plans for a $140 million high speed rail (HSR) terminal adjacent to Canberra airport and a “multi-modal hub”.

The terminal, designed by architects Guida Moseley Brown, is pegged for completion by 2020.

“Our own view is that there will never be a second airport built in the Sydney basin and that this fundamentally changes the economics of HSR both in terms of passenger demand and also capital cost to government,” Mr Byron said.

His views are no secret but his campaign ups pressure on the federal government for a decision. It also harnesses NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s support for HSR above a second airport in the Sydney basin.

That’s despite a joint state and federal study into airport capacity finding that HSR to Canberra would not negate the need for a second international facility in Sydney.

It’s not fazing Mr Byron.

“Premier O’Farrell’s logic of linking Sydney to Canberra airport with HSR, at a cost of $11 billion but saving $22bn on a second airport, and overcoming the policy of paralysis of choosing a second airport site, will become compelling,” his letter states.

Mr Byron pointed out that Canberra airport’s proposal had “seamless integration between the rail and airline terminals” and would deliver passengers into Sydney’s CBD in about 57 minutes, which was 20 to 30 minutes quicker than Richmond to the CBD.

He described the option as a game changer in terms of regional growth. However he declined to venture an opinion on whether the Goulburn district should also have a terminal here.

Mr Byron told the Post that given political indecision, the time was right to lobby all three levels of government.

“We are hearing from politicians that Sydney is unlikely to have a second Sydney airport at Wilton or Badgerys Creek,” Mr Byron said.

“They are saying this (Canberra’s proposal) has merit and should be considered. They agree the economics of HSR change by having an airport here.”

He’s pressing for a decision by 2016, allowing a four-year construction timeframe. The facility would then become a “multi-modal hub for high speed rail, domestic and international airlines, regional and local buses and onsite car parking. Mr Byron’s stance plays right into Goulburn Mulwaree Council’s hands. Mayor Geoff Kettle has pushed HSR and a Goulburn district terminal with the federal Department of Transport and Infrastructure and surrounding councils.

It has also backed the option in a submission to the NSW Long-Term Transport Master Plan.

Mayor Geoff Kettle yesterday repeated his view that expansion of Canberra airport and construction of HSR between Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne was a “no brainer.”

“I support Barry O’Farrell’s stand that we should be getting people out of the sky and on to trains,” he said.

Goulburn Mulwaree is joining Wingecarribee and Wollondilly Shire Councils in their opposition to Wilton as a second site. Cr Kettle spoke to the latter’s general manager, Luke Johnson, last week about the issue.

Councillors will also consider Canberra airport’s push at their meeting next Tuesday. Cr Kettle was hopeful of a resolution in favour of the fast train. The matter is sure to arise at another meeting of the South East Region of Councils (SEROC) this month.

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