Change in western Sydney airport flight paths to benefit residents, still no curfew in place

RELIEF: St Marys will be one of the biggest winners after changes were made to flight paths for the proposed western Sydney airport. Picture: Isabella Lettini

RELIEF: St Marys will be one of the biggest winners after changes were made to flight paths for the proposed western Sydney airport. Picture: Isabella Lettini

PENRITH Council has welcomed a federal government move to change flight paths for the proposed western Sydney airport.

The Australian government has scrapped plans for a single merge point over Blaxland - a move which should reduce noise over suburbs including St Marys.

The decision was informed by the more than 5000 submissions made in response to a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project.

A Penrith Council spokesman said the council applauded the announcement but said there is still “considerable” work to be done in order to “fully integrate” the airport into the area, citing infrastructure and public transport shortfalls. 

“In our submission to the EIS council called for a more equitable distribution of the noise impacts of aircraft movements and, in particular, consideration given to alternative flight paths and merge points, noise sharing to limit noise exposure for any single community,” he said.

Missing from the government’s announcement was news on a curfew for the airport, which council hopes would mirror the one in place at Kingsford Smith Airport.

The council said it had asked for changes to the Sydney Airport Curfew Act to ensure it applies to both airports.

Member for Chifley Ed Husic said the lack of a curfew at the new airport would be “fundamentally unfair” to western Sydney residents.

“If the residents of the east are protected by legislation, the communities of western Sydney should get the same,” he said.

The Mascot airport is closed from 11pm to 6am each day, with hourly flight caps also in place. 

“Western Sydney is already treated as the poorer cousin in Sydney... Now the Turnbull Government is telling our community to cop it sweet on the airport proposal they want, not what we want.”

MCKEOWN OUTLINES NEED FOR NORTH-SOUTH RAIL LINE

Mr Husic and Penrith mayor Karen McKeown also took aim at the government for a perceived lack of progress in the development of public transport connections to accommodate the airport. 

The widening of the M4 motorway as part of the controversial WestConnex has begun in earnest and the state government has detailed a fast train from the airport to Sydney’s CBD via Parramatta. 

However, those projects will only meet the needs of inner city residents according to Cr McKeown, who outlined the need for a north-south rail line from Marsden Park to Campbelltown.

“A rail link directly from the airport to Parramatta is a slap in the face for the hundreds of thousands of people who travel out of our region for work each day.

“It’s almost impossible to travel south west or north west via public transport.

“I know most people in our community would be gravely offended if the State and Federal Government decide it’s OK for us to wear all the impacts of an airport but see none of the benefits.”

Mr Husic echoed Cr McKeown’s sentiments.

“[The government’s] focus has been on convenience for people near the CBD, which already has an airport.

“The people of western Sydney deserve better public transport despite this airport. The north west and south west growth sectors, as well as population centres, must be linked to grow our area's economy.”

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