News

Airport plans to impact Coffs Coast

Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese says the State Government needs to plan for a second Sydney airport, to stop a loss of services to centres like Coffs Harbour.
Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese says the State Government needs to plan for a second Sydney airport, to stop a loss of services to centres like Coffs Harbour.

THE O'Farrell government has ruled out a second airport for Sydney, and announced it would instead seek to increase capacity at Canberra Airport and build a high-speed rail link to the state's capital to meet the expected demand from international and domestic routes.

The decision has angered the Gillard Government, which argues a second Sydney airport is critical to the continued development and prosperity of regional NSW.

Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese has penned this open letter to the Coffs Coast Advocate in which he argues that regional airports and air services could be the first casualty if a second airport is not built in Sydney...

 

NEARLY 310,000 people flew between Coffs Harbour and Sydney last year. Among these were local residents flying to Sydney for business, to visit friends and family, see medical specialists or en route to other towns, cities and countries.

They would also have included Sydneysiders doing business or just wanting to spend time around the beautiful beaches, national parks and historic communities of the Mid North Coast.

All of these visits are good news for the local economy. They bring jobs, investment and they support tourism, retail and other industries in both Coffs Harbour and Sydney.

Unfortunately, if some people have their way, aviation access to and from Sydney will become increasingly difficult for the people of regional NSW.

In a nutshell, Sydney Airport is full. All the tinkering in the world won't change that.

Last month, I released a 3200-page, independent report, commissioned by both the Federal and NSW governments, which made it clear that Sydney's aviation infrastructure cannot cope with future demand.

Sydney will need a second airport sooner rather than later.

I know this is an uncomfortable fact but it cannot be ignored, particularly by people living in regional NSW.

Here is why right now, on weekdays, there are no landing or take-off slots left for new regional flights within NSW in 8 of the F hours the airport operates, namely between 6.30 am and 11am and between 4pm and 8pm. None.

Half of each weekday, during the times people want to travel, is almost impossible for new or extra services to the State's regional destinations.

The report makes it clear that the situation will worsen. This is a real handbrake on growth for regional communities.

Regional air services in NSW have grown by nearly 25%over the past five years. Sydney alone has seen a million more passengers from regional destinations over the past five years.

Sydney Airport is the linchpin not just for the State aviation network but for the nation. Access to Sydney is critical in supporting economic growth in regional communities like Coffs Harbour.

Make no mistake, there are people, including those with a vested interest, who would be happy to stop smaller regional planes from flying into and out of Sydney airport.

Consider this: a regional flight, on average, carries 30 passengers, compared with 140 passengers for every domestic city flight. It is an easy calculation for those looking to maximise profits to simply get rid of smaller regional aircraft.

As Transport Minister I have ensured there is a "ring fence" protecting regional air services.

The Government has protected slots for regional flights so that they can't be taken over by larger domestic and international services; we will continue to do so.

however we need to do more, particularly to ensure regional aviation can continue to grow.

Without action on a second airport, regional airlines will continue to feel the squeeze at the nation's busiest airport.

Building a second airport for Sydney is too important a national issue to drag into short-term, partisan politics. It needs a mature bipartisan approach.

This is not only about Sydney maintaining its status as Australia's global city but also about making sure people on the Mid North Coast, and all regional Australians, continue to benefit from aviation access to Sydney.

Topics:  federal government, minister for transport and main roads



Why we're the top spot for mobile tourists

Caravanners and campers spend an average $152 a night in our region.

Our region is the top spot for caravanners and campers in the state.

Support needed to help hook important grant

REVITALISE: The council is applying for a grant to help begin a restoration project at Woolgoolga Lake.

Help upgrade one of Woopi's most scenic spots

"Indecent" act targeting young girls prompts police hunt

police generic

Man commits indecent act near young girls at Corindi Beach

Local Partners

The Dixie Chicks to headline 2017 CMC Rocks festival

US country music group The Dixie Chicks.

ORGANISERS move festival dates to lock in US country music stars.

What's on the big screen this week

Denzel Washington in a scene from the movie The Magnificent Seven.

DENZEL Washington returns in a shoot-em-up Western.

RECAP: The Bachelorette S2E3 - Which picnic date is better?

The Bachelorette Georgia Love, centre, with her top 11 bachelors.

Lee and Matt get some one-on-one time with Georgia.

Homer Simpson thanks Australia during Opera House visit

Homer Simpson visits the Sydney Opera House.

ANIMATION favourite gets attacked by seagulls in viral video.

Channel 9 orders second season of Doctor Doctor

Rodger Corser stars in the TV series Doctor Doctor.

RURAL medical drama finds a loyal following.

MOVIE REVIEW: Storks delivers family fun

A scene from the movie Storks.

ANIMATION can be hit or miss but when it hits, it hits hard.

Spring property hard to find

SHORT ON SELLERS: Spring is yet to see the usual influx of vendors keen to sell.

Spring selling season off to a slow start

Coffs region is hot property

The region’s housing market is looking up, with projects on the radar in Tannum Sands and Boyne Island.

Units and houses are both pulling strong returns for Coffs

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction