Our friends at Westfield and the Shopping Centre Council of Australia are facing another setback with the news that the Macquarie Bank-dominated Sydney Airport is planning a staged redevelopment that will include new office towers, revamped car parks, shops and cinemas built over the next few years. Federal Transport Minister, John Anderson gave the airport’s plans the green light yesterday.

With its huge Hurstville Shopping Centre to the south of the airport, and the Pagewood centre to the north, Westfield can be expected to take a very close interest in the plans of the Sydney Airports Corporation and its CEO, Max Moore Wilton. In fact contact with the Anderson office has been reported by lobbyists, such the Shopping Centre Council, over the past few months, on this and the Brisbane Airport issue which saw Westfield and the Shopping Centre Council suffer a stinging defeat in their opposition to stop a shopping centre being built.

That decision and its importance were detailed by Crikey in February, along with a reply from Milton Cockburn , the former Sydney Morning Herald editor who now runs the Council.

That decision established that developments on Commonwealth land were exempt from state and local government planning processes, which means Clover Moore and her fellow Sydney City councillors, along with Westfield and its allies, will be powerless to stop the Sydney Airport development. Moore says that a business area the size of the Parramatta CBD in Sydney’s west will be created at Sydney Airport, but she has apparently only renewed her interest in the scheme in the past week or so.

Asked if he’d talked to Moore, Max More Wilton told ABC local radio in Sydney this morning he has tried, but the Lord Mayor had told him to write a letter. “I mean who writes a letter these days,” Moore-Wilton said.

Peter Fray

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