Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Liverpool - Infrastructure City and Place for Sydney's New Airport

Former Prime Minister, The Hon Paul Keating today called for the Rudd Government to reverse its "diabolical" decision to kill the option of a second airport for Sydney at Badgerys Creek. 

His call puts focus on the absurdity of neglecting the Badgery's Creek site for Sydney's Second Airport (SSA) in favour of a site tucked away in the north west of Sydney at Richmond. A site requiring at great cost extensive works to link with existing transport infrastructure to make it work.

The move away from Badgery's Creek as the SSA is the result of opportunistic politics at the cost of the many 100's of thousands of people in Western Sydney who would benefit from it. It delivered a "cause" for opportunistic and short sighted politicians to "fight for their people". Local Councils formed an outfit called Western Sydney Alliance who manufactured an anti airport campaign that became a handy promotion of their own political interests. This rag tag outfit rode on the back of a wave generated by the activist hysteria of the inner city Councils that so successfully exploited the Third Runway at Mascot for their own promotion and cause.

Of course, the inner city is well endowed with the political activism of the comfortable set who live and work within their close city environs. Not so in western Sydney. The struggle is to generate numerous permanent employment to the west of Liverpool to save the daily trek east. And north. Badgery's Creek as the SSA will deliver permanent job and transport infrastructure to local people.

So where are our civic leaders? The reality is Western Sydney has been represented by local members, in the main Labor Party, who lack vision, energy and courage. Civic leaders, such as Mark Latham, are rare beings. 

Notwithstanding matters at the top of the hill, locally he stood out as an advocate for what is right and good for Liverpool. Latham supported Badgery's Creek and as such Liverpool City Council withheld from membership of the aforementioned Western Sydney Alliance. Western Sydney has long been represented by Local Council boofheads who would never let a large real benefit to the public get in the way of political benefit to themselves or their Party.

Mark Latham's support was well positioned. The City of Liverpool, at the site where Governor Macquarie established the town 200 years ago, is equidistant from the existing Sydney Airport at Mascot and the proposed SSA at Badgery's Creek, which is in its City boundaries. Even Liverpool's extended suburbs are some 15 kilometres from the SSA site.

Liverpool is one of the nurseries of Australia's population growth hosting many new child rearing families, migrant families and refugee families. Its citizens are lower on the income scale of the Sydney average but almost on par with housing loan repayments. The majority of Liverpool households are families with children. They are poorly serviced with public transport and therefore rely on car ownership and associated costs. And they travel east to work.
Liverpool is Infrastructure City -- it has within its boundaries the M5/F5, the M7, the main Southern Rail Lime, the East Hills (west to east) Rail Line, the route to Kingsford Smith Airport and potentially to Sydney's Port in Botany Bay. 
The location of SSA at Badgery's Creek will be the impetus to gain the highest return on all of these public assets and provide an easier east to west work trek for local workers.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd can, in one fell swoop, display leadership and deliver real benefit by asserting his authority in placing Badgery's Creek and all of its benefits as the SSA site before the people of Western Sydney. There would be a strong positive response to counter the inner city type town hall political opportunists. Civic leadership is the only antidote to the fear mongering that feeds on disengaged people in the absence of the full facts.

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