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Albanese airport plans short on vision, limit economic potential

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 16 Nov 2012

Commenting on Federal Transport Minister Antony Albanese's latest airport announcement Greens transport spokesperson Lee Rhiannon said that the Minister's comments sound more like those of an airline CEO than a responsible Labor MP ("Anthony Albanese backs expansion in Asian century", The Australian). 

"As a Labor Minister Mr Albanese should be working to ensure economic growth associated with airport expansion is not at the expense of local residents," Senator Rhiannon said.

"Enormous economic benefits and jobs growth would be achieved by relocating Sydney Airport, linking the new site with High Speed Rail and redeveloping the current site into a mixed use residential and employment precinct, with extensive green space.

"Planning for Sydney Airport's future has been a saga of mismanagement.

"The Minister's criticism of state and local governments along with the Greens is a classic case of blame shifting.

"Minister Albanese has dodged and weaved his way through non-solutions on Sydney Airport for years.  He has become the master of issuing reports and setting up processes that go nowhere.

"The Greens are not opposed to airport development and this can be achieved in a way that does not expose locals to harmful noise and air pollution.

"While Australia will need airport expansion to cater for overseas visitors this needs to be done in conjunction with High Speed Rail projects for travel within Australia.

"Minister Albanese should open his mind to the option of moving Sydney Airport outside Sydney's airshed basin.

"A number of other countries have moved their airport away from densely populated areas to outside their capital cities. Norway, Greece, Hong Kong and Bangkok resolved to cater for their airport growth in this responsible way.

"In 1998 a new airport was built at Gardermoen, 48 km out of Oslo, with six trains an hour travelling at 210kph connecting the airport with the city centre. On the day the new airport opened, the old airport was closed.

"High Speed Rail has been successfully integrated with European airports in Paris, Lyon, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Cologne and Amsterdam. It can happen in Australia too.

"Minister Albanese needs to take off his blinkers to airport relocation," Senator Rhiannon said.


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