Albo retains transport and releases Sydney airport report

Freight and smaller planes may shift to Bankstown as Wilton firms as likely second major airport

March 2, 2012

Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese has retained his portfolio and position as leader of the House of Representatives after today’s ministerial reshuffle.

While other Rudd-backing ministers were either demoted or sent to the back bench, Albanese suffered no such indignity.

But the surprise of the reshuffle was the confirmation of former New South Wales premier Bob Carr as Foreign Minister-designate, following the resignation of Kevin Rudd.

Carr will be appointed to former Assistant Treasurer Mark Arbib’s Senate seat.

Brendan O’Connor will be the Minister for Small Business, which will now be a Cabinet position.

Meanwhile, Albanese has released the independent Steering Committee’s report on Sydney’s airport needs but ruled out a new airport at Badgerys Creek or changes to the curfew at Kingsford-Smith.

This is despite Badgerys Creek being identified the best option for a greenfield site.

The next best is Wilton, which is further out, while Luddenham was also mentioned.

"The Committee does not support any change to the curfew and also points out that with the airport already close to capacity, increasing the cap in peak hours would only buy as little as a year," Albanese says.

"I have already made it clear that the Federal Government will not make any changes to the current cap or curfew.

"We will also maintain the current protections for regional airlines and Bankstown Airport will not be developed as Sydney's second airport.

"Further, I have consistently stated that the Government has ruled out the use of the Badgerys Creek site as a second airport and that remains our position.

"The Federal Government will now commence consideration of the Committee's recommendations."

The focus of the report recommendations was on freeing up Sydney Airport capacity, in part by shifting smaller aircraft and freight use to Bankstown airport and opening up shared operations at Richmond airforce base for low-cost carriers.

The Committee rejected Canberra and Williamtown, at Newcastle, as complete second-airport options, as they are needed for their respective regions.

However, it did point to Canberra’s lack of curfew as allowing it to take night flights and freight services, due to its proximity to Sydney.

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