Badgerys Creek (Bradfield) Airport – Tony Abbott’s infrastructure dream’in

Abbott Liberals need to realise that one ball Bazza has a tendency to sign off on projects if the cover sheet contains the word “growth”.

Teddy Bear O’Farrell has a mantra: “build it and NSW will grow.”  His grasp of cost reality is Rudd-esk.

Joe Hockey’s corporate mates have been pushing to fling off noisy 24/7 airfreight, low-cost airlines and 24/7 international flights to Sydney’s West, so that North Sydney business class corporates may more conveniently do their Sydney-Melbourne circuits without the westie riff raff.

When it comes down to it, isn’t this the selfish corporate ideal that Badgerys Creek is really all about – a few influential bigwigs wanting more convenience in and out of their Mascot?

And what costs?

Some pro-Badgery’s Airport joint study on aviation capacity in the Sydney region released in 2012 hazarded that infrastructure including, road, rail and utilities for a “greenfield” site such as Badgerys Creek could cost up to about $3.6 billion.

How Rudd-esk in under-estimating!

Try a factor of ten.  Try $36 billion!

Ruddy estimating on the back of an envelope – been there!

Think about the costs of airport infrastructure, 50km jet fuel piping and storage infrastructure, airspace redesign, terminal buildings infrastructure, utilities infrastructure (water, electricity, gas, telecoms), air service infrastructure (flight tower radar, landing systems, M5 motorway extension, railway infrastructure, parking, facilities, emergency facilities, ETC, ETC.

Think NBN progress rollout and get and get a sense of reality. 

Middle Eastern Qatar’s new Hamad International Airport still under construction is set to cost $5.5 billion, but this estimate excludes connecting infrastructure – road, pipes, rail, utilities, etc. Dubai’s new terminal 3 alone cost over $9 billion. Germany’s new Brandenburg International Airport has seen its construction budget triple from an initial $3.8 billion to $6.6 billion, and this also excludes connecting infrastructure – road, pipes, rail, utilities, etc.

Tony Abbott and Barry O’Farrell have just announced that the planned M1-M5 NorthConnex motorway link will cost $3 billion alone.  So any M5 extension out to Badgerys would cost similar. And what about the 50km added congestion from Badgerys Creek to Sydney’s CBD for road freight and passengers, and to link to the M7 and M2?  What about the rail links?   Sydney’s Airport Link rail ahead of the 2000 Olympic Games cost $1 billion.

So where’s ya Badgerys Budget Bazza?

Tell him he’s dreamin!

Badgery’s Creek is a pure greenfield pie-in-the-sky concept literally.  All infrastructure will have to start from absolute scratch.

Of course expensive consultants at the plush harbour offices of Price Waterhouse Coopers will report positive prospects of any government scheme.  If they didn’t, the consultants wouldn’t get paid.  A Deloitte Access Economics study suggests that close to 30,000 jobs and $9 billion in economic output will be created in the region when the airport goes ahead.  Of course they would be using dodgy assumptions, and is that based on using off-shored labour or Western Sydney labour?

The Telegraph propaganda would have us believe that NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has apparently signalled support for Badgerys Creek.   But the tabloid has been hyping and pre-empting the decision for months, just like Malaysia on finding missing flight MH370 – all chinese whispering groupthink.

Western Sydney Organisation of Councils (WSROC) and infrastructure bodies warned the proposal would be a disaster unless the state and federal government committed billions to massive infrastructure upgrades to improve what is now a “virtual sheep paddock”.

WSROC president Tony Hadchiti is on to it, commenting that the current $250 million suggested to cover infrastructure spending was “barely a drop in the bucket” for the sheep paddock site.

Abbott’s Transport Minister Warren Truss has done a Rudd back of an envelope estimate for the Commonwealth to chip in a $250 million infrastructure package around the airport site.

Infrastructure Partners Australia chief executive Brendan Lyon agreed with Mr Hadchiti, saying much-needed extensions of the South West and North West rail links to the proposed airport would cost at least $47 million a kilometre to build.

Mr Lyon said a high-capacity bulk fuel line to carry aviation fuel also needed to be built from Port Botany to Badgerys Creek.

The Badgerys Creek white elephant dates back to 1999, but was quickly discarded for a fast train between Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, costing $10 billion for the Sydney-Canberra section.