Environmental assessment for Western Sydney airport

Media Release

WT251/2014

04 December 2014

A new environmental assessment process for the proposed Western Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek kicks off today with a Referral formally submitted to Environment Minister Greg Hunt.

“This Referral for an airport for Western Sydney is a precursor in meeting our environmental obligations and, importantly, in allowing for community consultation,” Mr Truss said.

“A Western Sydney airport would be a catalyst for growth for Western Sydney, as well as a major employer well into the future.

“Development of the proposed airport would be staged in response to demand, with the first stage operating from one runway. The longer-term vision for the ultimate airport layout would operate with two parallel runways of up to 4,000 metres in length.

“The airport would be small scale when it becomes operational from the mid-2020s and would expand as the population of Western Sydney grows to meet the emerging needs of the local community.

“The Referral has been informed by previous environmental studies, including the comprehensive 1999 environmental assessment. No major impediments to developing an airport were found, which, at the time, was considered one of the most comprehensive environmental assessments in Australia.

“A recent site survey of Badgerys Creek, conducted by SMEC Australia in September 2014, has provided updated information for the referral.

“Even so, the Australian Government recognises the importance of conducting another environmental assessment and engaging in public consultation process for the Badgerys Creek site.

“The community will have opportunities for input at key points throughout the environmental assessment process. We are committed to meeting all requirements under relevant environment legislation and the guidelines issued by the Minister for the Environment.

“The assessment will consider the environmental, social and economic impacts of both the initial stage development and the ultimate airport development.

“Guidelines issued by the Minister for the Environment will outline factors to be examined and will ensure compliance with Australia's national environmental law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.”

The Department of the Environment will publish the referral for the proposed Western Sydney airport development online at: www.environment.gov.au/epbc/public-notices.