Transcript - Interview - ABC Radio Sydney with Sarah Macdonald

SARAH MACDONALD (HOST): Sarah McDonald with you on ABC Radio Sydney. And I want to go to the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Catherine King, because we’ve been talking about the Environmental Impact Statement for the new Western Sydney Airport. It’s out today. It’s more than 700 pages. There’s a lot in it, and we’ve been speaking to MPs in the area and the Mayor of Penrith, but Catherine King, thanks for time.

CATHERINE KING (MINISTER): It’s good to be with you this morning.

SARAH MACDONALD: So, in this document, which is huge, and we won’t be able to go through it all, obviously, but there’s talk about areas around the airport where there will be availability of insulation for homes. How many people will be affected?

CATHERINE KING: Well, we don’t know exactly at this stage, and that’s really what the Environmental Impact Statement is about. It is putting out it is part of the formal planning process for the flight paths at Western Sydney International Airport. It is open until 31 January and there will be sessions held right the way through the community to provide information. I’ll have technical experts on the ground that people can ask questions of.

And really, that is part of it, is that the EIS – sorry to shorten it there, the Environmental Impact Statement includes the Government’s policy around insulation. And really that is part of the consultation. There’ll be people who’ll say, “We think we should be in”. There’ll be some that say, “We don’t think we’ll be as affected”. So, that’s really part of what this is about. And that preliminary policy around insulation is in there, but it’s open for submissions for people to comment on.

SARAH MACDONALD: Right. So, you don’t have a limit on how many –

CATHERINE KING: It’s certainly in terms of the most affected. So, it will look at the most affected, as you would expect, are people who are closer to the actual runway itself and where flights will be taking off and landing. And so it does limit to that area where the impacts will be the greatest.

SARAH MACDONALD: Yes, and we’re talking about some of that this morning. What about the acquiring of some homes? Will that happen?

CATHERINE KING: Yeah, certainly that’s within the policy framework. But again, that will be a matter of consultation and discussion with the community on the ground. And again, that’s what part of this process is, is about really informing people. I deliberately put out the preliminary flight paths with a noise tool earlier this year to try and give people a heads-up about where those flight paths are likely to go prior to the EIS process starting.

I really want people to be as informed as possible. I know this is a very big change right the way across that area, but it is an incredible opportunity we have. They’ve got an airport opening in 2026, huge amounts of jobs. We’re going to see a lot of economic activity out that way. But I also understand with such a big project, there are impacts on people. And that’s what the Environmental Impact Statement process is set to capture and try and see how we can fix those as best we can.

SARAH MACDONALD: Yeah, and I get that, but you know we have had this airport in play for decades, so should we have not developed as much around it, perhaps, so we wouldn’t have needed to do this within terms of acquiring homes?

CATHERINE KING: Yeah, well, look, it obviously has been on the books for a long period of time, and I think it is always really important around big developments like this to make sure that planning does keep – you know, people are informed about what is actually happening in the area. But I do think, you know in terms of this, it’s a very sort of greenfield site. There’s obviously existing farms and existing properties there that are going to be impacted.

And I think it’s a great opportunity for Western Sydney to grow jobs, but we can’t pretend that there won’t be some impact on people. And really, that’s what the EIS is supposed to capture and encourage people to look at it, look at the noise tool, attend the community sessions. There’ll be many of those. They’ll be right the way across the community. And if you go to, you can find out all that information.

SARAH MACDONALD: Yes, I’ve been giving out that website this morning. Catherine King is the Federal Minister for Infrastructure. Just finally, there’s also changes to Kingsford Smith in terms of the flight paths because of the Western Sydney Airport opening in 2026. What will that mean for those in the closer part of Sydney to Kingsford Smith?

CATHERINE KING: Yeah, well, again, it’s – these are preliminary flight paths with the EIS, so they are open for consultation, although it is a really complex airspace, as you’d understand. It’s not that you’ve just got two major airports, you’ve got Bankstown, Richmond as well as Camden. So, there’s not a huge amount we can do because we have to make sure safety comes first.

But what it will potentially mean, there will be some communities that will have an outcome where they see less flights, some communities where it might be a bit more concentrated over periods of time. And again, that’s why –

SARAH MACDONALD: Can you name some suburbs?

CATHERINE KING: No, not particularly, because it’s quite a breadth. If you look at the maps themselves, it’s quite a flight, quite a wide area. I’d encourage people –

SARAH MACDONALD: I mean, I saw Burwood and Parramatta when I had a look. Looks like there’ll be more flights over Burwood and Parramatta. Is that correct?

CATHERINE KING: It’s important to look at the noise tool itself, because you need to look, you need to – and the noise tool allows you to put your address in. And, you know, so I can’t really say in terms of one particular suburb.


CATHERINE KING: And not only that, the flight paths have been designed to try and fly as least over residential areas. So, whilst it might say a particular suburb, the flight path might be more over an industrial area or over a river, or it might be over an area that doesn’t have a high level of residential properties. So, that was one of the principles, was to really look at making sure those flights were minimised over residential areas as much as possible.

SARAH MACDONALD: Well, people have until January, the end of January, to make their submissions and they can check it out on Thank you so much for your time this morning.

CATHERINE KING: Good to be with you, Sarah.