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Backing for second Sydney airport deleted by O’Farrell | #NSWpol

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Do we need a second one? … Sydney Domestic Airport / Pic: Ross Schultz Source: The Daily Telegraph

A DRAFT report from the O’Farrell government’s Visitor Economy Taskforce recommended a second airport for Sydney – but the reference has been deleted before the final report is presented to the government.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal that by the time the taskforce report, aimed at doubling tourism numbers by 2020, is given to the state government next month an original recommendation that there be a second airport will have been dumped.

This will fit neatly with the position of Premier Barry O’Farrell, who has publicly stated his opposition to a second airport and said his preference is for Canberra Airport to be upgraded and a high-speed rail link built.

Taskforce chair Russell Balding, a former CEO of Sydney Airports Corporation, refused to comment on what was in the report but said: “The government has not asked us to take it (the second airport) out of the report.”

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He was unable to say who had made the decision to take the airport out but Geoff Buckley, the KPMG consultant who worked on the report with the taskforce, confirmed the airport recommendation was in the original report drafts, as have several other sources close to the taskforce.

Mr Balding made the comments after talking to Tourism Minister George Souris’s office yesterday.

Mr Souris is to receive the report by the end of May.

Mr Souris’s office yesterday denied anyone in government had asked that the recommendation be taken out. A spokeswoman for the Premier said the Premier’s Office had not asked for it to be removed.

“A draft report is still being prepared and the government is yet to receive it,” the spokeswoman said.

Asked if he understood that the airport recommendation was to be taken out for political reasons, Mr Buckley said: “No, not at all.”

The taskforce includes Mr Balding, former transport minister Bruce Baird, Australian Tourism Export Council head John King and Destination NSW chief executive Sandra Chipchase. One of the terms of references was to attract more airlines and flights into Sydney.

A source said there was no need for a comment on a second airport because the goal was to double visitor numbers by 2020 and a new airport could not be built by then.

The airport issue has blown up after federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese released a 3000-page report recommending a second airport at Badgerys Creek or Wilton. Federal shadow treasurer Joe Hockey has backed the call.

Tourism Transport Forum chief executive John Lee said both sides of politics needed to stop squabbling: “My fear is we’ll see Halley’s comet in 2062 before we see a second airport in Sydney.”

 

 

A DRAFT report from the O’Farrell government’s Visitor Economy Taskforce recommended a second airport for Sydney – but the reference has been deleted before the final report is presented to the government.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/sydney-nsw/backing-for-second-sydney-ai…

About Darin Sullivan (1967 Articles)
President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union and a professional firefighter with more than 25 years’ experience. Father of two daughters, he lives and works on the NSW South Coast, Australia. He is a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around him. He is a Director on the NSW Fire Brigades Death and Disability Super Fund and works with charities including ‘The Movember Foundation’. As a leader and activist he has long been active in the campaign for action on climate change. Now a Station Commander in the fire and rescue service in NSW and has decades of experience fighting fires, both rural and urban. He is passionate about highlighting the impact climate change is having on fire preparedness and fire behaviour in Australia, and the risks associated with inaction on climate change. Darin is also a spokesperson for the Australian Climate Media Centre.
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