WSROC Media Release - Badgerys EIS gaps must be addressed
An independent review of the Western Sydney Airport Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by 11 Western Sydney councils has found several shortcomings which need to be addressed.
President of the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC), Cllr Tony Hadchiti indicated his disappointment at the lack of certainty offered by the EIS on key issues such as aircraft noise, flight paths, traffic, transport, and the environment.
“WSROC has previously offered conditional support for the airport, pending a comprehensive Airport Plan and a rigorous EIS that ensures the best possible outcomes for residents and the environment while realising the economic prosperity and job creation opportunities from the airport,” said Cllr Hadchiti.
“In our opinion the Draft EIS does not meet this mark. The independent review has highlighted a significant level of uncertainty regarding the effects of the airport on our region, and we hope the Australian Government can offer further clarification in its final version of the EIS,” he said.
“One of the key findings from the review was that the Draft EIS does not consider the cumulative effect of projects associated with the Western Sydney Airport such as the Northern Road upgrades, the recently announced South West Priority Area, or the M9 Orbital on traffic congestion, noise or air pollution,” said Cllr Hadchiti.
“Additional traffic and economic activity generated as a direct result of the airport’s construction such as shopping centres, warehousing and accommodation, have also not been taken into account,” he said.
“The Draft EIS also fails to identify the total and cumulative impacts on communities in the Western Sydney Priority Growth Area due to the airport being built without a rail line along the north – south axis of the growth corridor,” said Cllr Hadchiti.
“The Draft EIS assumes that there will be rail servicing the airport at some point but gives no indication as to the likely timing for the provision of this critical piece of infrastructure,”
“This rail link needs to be up and running around the same time that the airport commences substantive operations, or risk severe implications for the amenity of local communities as well as economic development around the airport’s enterprise zone and the Western Sydney Priority Growth Area,” he said.
“When the concrete is being laid for the runaways, we should also be laying concrete sleepers for the rail line,” said Cllr Hadchiti.
“Aircraft noise is always going to be a key concern for the community and ensuring protection for residents should be a key priority. The Draft EIS provides no assessment of the material impacts of aircraft noise on communities and families,” he said.
“Most of all, we are disappointed that raw data on which conclusions are based was not made available to the review team and it is obvious that the rigour required for assessing such a critical
project has been sacrificed in the name of expediency and speed,” said Cllr Hadchiti.
“Developing an EIS in eight months for such a complex project was always going to fall short of providing certainty and allaying community concerns on such issues as aircraft noise, flight paths, traffic and transport, and environment. The peer review confirmed this without doubt,” he said.
“This independent review was conducted by WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff alongside a range of expert consultants with the aim of informing local council submissions to the Draft EIS and each council will be considering the report’s findings over the coming weeks,” he said.
Councils who jointly funded the review include: Auburn, Camden, Campbelltown, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Fairfield, Holroyd, Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith and Wollondilly. The review was conducted in conjunction with WSROC and the Macarthur Regional Organisation of Councils (MACROC).