It seems that NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s worst friend in the 2nd Sydney Airport story is Warren Truss, the National Party leader in the coalition, who yesterday suggested that international passengers make Melbourne or Brisbane their Sydney Airport choice rather than his choice, which is Canberra.
All three choices are hopelessly irrelevant to the needs of Sydney, which both Truss and O’Farrell see as being compatible with the use of Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport until at least the middle of the century, in accordance with advice from the owners of Sydney Airport.
What Truss has done is unintentionally parody O’Farrell’s Canberra suggestion by saying that the alternatives for Sydney should be Brisbane or Melbourne for international visitors, which is as good as writing off the harbour city, and its business and tourism status for good.
Unfortunately, the nutiness isn’t confined to the Nationals or the NSW Government, since Labor, having been the prime mover of the recent study that determined Badgerys Creek should be the site of a 2nd Sydney Airport in Sydney, rejected the prime finding of the impartial inquiry at the outset, preferring to destroy a new suburb at Wilton instead rather than the site that it owns and can sell for billions of dollars and easily connect to more of the greater Sydney area.
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The position of Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese, that Sydney is crucial to the national economy, should be challenged.
Australia no longer needs Sydney for anything. It has destroyed its port potential, it is a drain on such funds that are available for transport infrastructure support on a national scale, and whatever their other problems, both Melbourne and Brisbane, have the space and the smarts needed to solve Sydney’s problems, as Warren Truss has implied, by taking its air traffic and the economic activity that depends on it.