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



Progress on proposed tower delayed

NO TOWER: Toni Fuller and Phillip White are among those leading the fight against a proposed Telstra phone tower at the Jetty Oval.

Progress on proposed tower delayed

Foursome reckons it's just the ticket

STANDING: Ray Smith, Cr Keith Rhoades, George Cecato and Martin Wells will contest the Coffs Harbour City Council election on the ticket Coffs Coast First.

First ticket announced for the Coffs Harbour City Council election

Bello Turtle Festival on soon

TURTLE TIME: The Bellingen Turtle Festival is fast approaching.

Bello Turtle Festival on soon

Latest deals and offers

Thy Art Is Murder are killing it

See Thy Art is Murder on their killer tour happening right now. Photo Contributed

We talk with Thy Art is Murder about touring, babies, and new music

Date announced for Prince tribute concert

A Prince tribute concert will take place later this year

Matt Damon is taking a break from acting

Matt Damon is taking a break to spend time with his family

Police foiled terrifying 1m plot to kidnap Katie Price

Police foiled a £1 million plot to kidnap Katie Price and her family

Kristen Bell's baby confession

Kristen Bell once pretended to be asleep when her baby woke up early

Babylon 5's Jerry Doyle has died

Jerry Doyle has died from unknown causes at the age of 60

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

A home rich in history looking for a new owner

HISTORY: The circa 1920s home is being sold for the first time in 90 years.

Circa 1920s home being sold for the first time in 90 years