Passenger Rail

Rail corridor key as Western Sydney Airport added to IA’s High Priority list

Airport. Photo: Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

The preservation of a rail corridor for a rail line out to the future Western Sydney Airport has been recognised as a High Priority Initiative by Infrastructure Australia, as the independent infrastructure advisor this week added the Airport itself as a High Priority Project.

The business case for the Federal Government’s proposed Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek received a positive assessment from IA, the advisory body announced on November 23.

The project has now been added to the Infrastructure Priority List as a High Priority Project. It was formerly on the list as a High Priority Initiative, pending its business case assessment.

IA chief executive Philip Davies said the business case showed the value in protecting strategically important sites and corridors to meet future infrastructure needs.

“The Badgerys Creek site was acquired and reserved for a second Sydney airport more than 30 years ago,” Davies said.

“Australia is reaping the benefits of this strategically important site being protected including being able to future-proof Sydney’s aviation capacity in the face of increasing demand and enhancing our economic productivity.”

Similarly, he said, the preservation of a rail corridor out to the airport should be a key focus in the near future.

“Western Sydney Airport shows how preserving land and corridors to meet future infrastructure needs can deliver the best outcomes for both infrastructure users and the broader economy,” Davies said. “That is why the Infrastructure Priority List also recommends preserving the corridors for a Western Sydney Airport rail connection and fuel pipeline.

“Both are recognised as High Priority Initiatives and should be progressed.”

Davies said the proposed airport has the potential to be “a transformational infrastructure project” for the Western Sydney region.

“Western Sydney is one of Australia’s fastest growing economies, and building Sydney’s second airport at Badgerys Creek will accelerate this growth,” he said. “The airport will attract investment, unlock the region’s potential as a tourism destination and create more jobs for people closer to where they live.”

Through its Infrastructure Priority List, the IA aims to identify nationally significant projects and initiatives in every state and territory.

The proposed airport would open in the mid-2020s, with a single runway around 3.7 kilometres long, and would handle around five million passengers annually, a similar figure to Gold Coast Airport.