There is a shift in sentiment going on in Sydney politics in favour of a 2nd airport at Badgerys Creek, and from this morning’s insights in a Sydney Morning Herald report, it has left NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell stranded in the past.

O’Farrell thinks there are votes in not building the airport. But what if, as the this and other reports have strongly suggested, the reverse is now true because western Sydney needs its own airport, and the existing eastern Sydney airport can’t cope with the task of serving the entire Sydney basin?

What if the connection has finally been made between economic activity and air transport? What if the growth pressure on international transport links to this country from the Asia century results in smarter run states with better airports eating Sydney’s lunch? Why is it that O’Farrell thinks those business and leisure travellers will arrive and depart from the harbour city by a fast train link nobody is building to a Canberra Airport that an apparently disconnected part of his thought processes is happy to cripple by approving a housing estate in NSW at Tralee, creating a barrier to the future expansion of Canberra Airport which is just over the ACT border?

It is a sad reflection on stunted visions past and present, which are also entrenched within NSW Labor.

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If noise is the problem, O’Farrell and other airport opponents need to acquaint themselves with two things:- The noise created by new engine and airframe technologies, which is very low, and the noise generated by metal wheel on metal track 320 kmh high speed rail services, which can be very high for the entire length of any such corridor where it is above ground.

In the politics of things, based on material and practical matters, not worn out ideological stances, the situation, when it comes to air transport has changed, and that is not for a moment to detract from a growing need to define the needs for new technology rail corridors that will also enable very significant economic benefits to be realised in this country.

As a Crikey subscriber and someone who began working as a journalist in 1957, I am passionate about the importance of independent media like Crikey. I met a lot of Australians from many walks of life during my career and did my best to share their stories honestly and fairly with their fellow citizens.

And I never forgot how important it is to hold politicians to account. Crikey does that – something that is more important now than ever before in Australia.

North Stradbroke Island, QLD

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