Australia gives go ahead to $3.5bn Sydney airport after 70-year squabble

The Australian government gave its blessing to a second international airport for Sydney this week after 70 years of arguments over where to build it.

The site approved by the government on 12 December is Badgery’s Creek to the west of the city. This was first suggested as the location in 1946, after which the project became the subject of arguments over noise and air pollution, funding and alternative sites.

The Australian government says the choice reflects its commitment to the western Sydney region, and claims the US$3.5bn airport would create nearly 9,000 direct jobs by 2030 and 60,000 by 2063.

Malcolm Turnbull, the prime minister of Australia, told reporters yesterday: "The need for an airport in western Sydney has been screamingly obvious for many years. We are getting on with the job, and this airport will be built … it will become a catalyst for investment and industry in western Sydney. That is where Sydney’s growth is."

Sydney’s existing airport in the east of the city is surrounded by suburbs and is deemed unable to expand. The government estimates that a second facility would allow 10 million more people a year to travel to Australia’s largest city.

The airport will be one of the showpiece projects of Turnbull’s $22bn infrastructure investment programme, which is intended to support demand in the economy as its decade-long resources spending boom continues to slow.

A related scheme in the $2.7bn Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan is a set of road improvements that will connect the airport to the city.

An animated video of the development produced by the Australina government can be viewed here.

Image: The airport is due to be completed in the mid-2020s (Australian Government)

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