• Keegan Thomson

Council feuds over airport


PRESSURE is being put on Penrith Council to change their stance on the Badgerys Creek Airport which was signed off on earlier this week.

Newly elected Labor Councillor, Cr Ben Price (seen on the right) has spoken out against the council’s stance on the airport urging them to reconsider their support.

“To say they’re going to maintain the curfew at Kingsford Smith and then dump all the planes at 3 am in the morning over the west, that doesn’t pass the equity test,” Cr Price said.

From the get go (this time round) Penrith City Council has said they would support the airport at Badgerys Creek as long as there is a night curfew in place and a North-South rail link running from the airport to Penrith. Both of these prerequisites have not been met and there are signs that neither of them will be met at all.

Cr Price said the infrastructure Minister has written to council to say there was never an intention for a curfew on the airport and there isn’t going to be a curfew put in place in the future.

“The game has changed since council first threw their support behind it. There is no word on the North-South rail link and we’re certainly not going to get a curfew as it stands today,” Cr Price said.

“There has to be a line in the sand where you say OK, we’re not getting what we’ve asked for so what are our options, and one of those options is to withdraw our support,” he said.

Recently the EIS on the airport stated there could be up to 45 flights over the area between the hours of 10pm and 7am with the most impacted on areas being around the Penrith LGA.

With Cr Price breaking ranks and speaking out against the airport he risks upsetting his fellow Labor councillors, but he says the issue goes beyond party allegiances.

“As a Councillor sometimes you have to go beyond the party lines and ask what is best for the community and what is best for the rate payers,” he said. “I’ll be looking for support from wherever I can get it.”

Cr Price joins Independent councillors Cr Marcus Cornish and Cr Kevin Crameri who have also gone on the record to voice their concerns over the council’s stance on Sydney’s second airport.

Last month Cr Crameri spoke to Nepean News and suggested the council do something about the airport or they all resign.

Cr Stephen Bali, President of WSROC voiced his concerns over the lack of information around the curfew. “Equity is a key concern for WSROC and unlike Kingsford Smith, Western Sydney Airport has no specific operating limitations, no noise abatement strategy, and no insulation or noise sharing programs,” Cr Bali said.

Cr Bali also said he wants to see further plans for employment growth surrounding the airport.

“In addition to protections, WSROC wants to see the government’s plan for maximising the airport’s potential for employment, access to services, social inclusion, and regional connectivity,” he said.

Early development on the site is due to be completed in 2018 with the airport set to open in the mid 2020s.

#WesternSydneyAirport #BadgerysCreekairport #PenrithCouncil

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