In October 2016 the Daily Telegraph reported leaked GSC documents as saying the Badgerys Aerotropolis would feature “high speed rail as part of efficient passenger transfer”.
It added that “an intermodal freight hub will allow the transport of goods from the airport to greater Sydney and beyond”.
NSW Deputy Premier, and leader of the Nats, John Barilaro, said on 24 October that “$4.2 billion reaped from the sale of NSW’s share of the Snowy Hydro Scheme would be used to deliver transformational projects that would "help secure a future" for young people in regional NSW”.
He also talked about more support for the Parkes intermodal terminal on the Inland Rail “bridge” that runs from Melbourne to Brisbane. Parkes gets preference for collating regional products over Newcastle under his Government’s new Freight & Ports Plan.
He added, “the government was also investigating the potential for an "international air freight hub" to be established in a regional centre, with the aim of giving local producers "significant competitive advantages" to deliver beef, dairy, fruit, nuts and seafood around Australia and overseas”. (Where could that be to be economically feasible? Parkes too? He’s from Canberra which has been pushing for that role.)
A day before (23 October) Barilaro had said that “absolutely …”, western district farmers and primary producers would “benefit from a container port at Newcastle” which had been obliterated by that same Plan. Newcastle has no economic rationale for major container investment under even its own mantras. Jake Saulwick said in the Herald that “The question was met with muted laughs from the audience”.
Politicians seem to confuse communities and to be confused within their own Parliaments, with NSW Nats’ Roads and Ports Minister tied to Port Botany and fighting her leader’s Newcastle push (which he, himself, denied Snowy funding to); while the Federal Nats are siding with many disastrous legacies left over from the same city-centric Turnbull’s Botany conspiracy. That includes downplaying the freight capacity at the new Badgerys second airport.
Barilaro also excluded Wollongong from the $4.2 billion, even though the Illawarra is hitting a passenger capacity problem in 2020 and coal capacity crunch by 2031. Turnbull’s metro train obsession cut off Kembla through the replacement of heavy rail in Sydney’s south west by lower metro standards. As with Newcastle, it’s BOHICA (“bend over, here it comes again”).
The dominant Botany freight monopoly is down-playing Badgerys as having insufficient space and requiring significant infrastructure. (Botany has the same challenges, of course.) Moorebank’s Q&A section contains these two passages.
Why isn’t Badgerys Creek being considered as an alternative site for the intermodal terminal?
The Badgerys Creek airport site is unlikely to have enough spare space to also accommodate a container freight precinct. New rail and road connections to Badgerys Creek would also be needed if an intermodal terminal were to be built there
To show that the Botany monopoly is all but irrelevant:
Freight in the Sydney basin is heading towards 7 million import-export shipping containers a year. Asciano has announced that the port shuttle rail service to Chullora will ultimately handle 135,000 IMEX containers a year on top of the capacity the Chullora terminal provides for interstate freight.
Moorebank will be able to handle a further 1.05 million IMEX containers a year and another 500,000 containers of interstate freight.
After 71 weeks of negotiation, Botany’s meisters, , Turnbull and Berejiklian dumped freight links and snuck in a completely different scheme which was designed to bolster the failing economics of the initial North West Metro. Theirs is a metro stub from St Marys to Badgerys, running without metro connections in any foreseeable future. It make no sense at all; and there are no proper studies that say otherwise.
The Second Airport and Aerotropolis have gone from the best-connected to the worst in the world: no passenger transit, no transit in the rapidly-growing South West, no support to the Illawarra which hits a rail passenger wall in 2020, and no connection from Port Kembla to the airport freight hub (which is now officially sterilised) and the Inland Rail Bridge.
Inland Rail cannot but has to connect with Kembla, Botany and Newcastle, if it’s to make sense. Theoretically, if our Governments were smart, that “bridge” could build community sustainability along the communities it reaches.
So the Bush is looking at an Inland Rail that doesn’t connect with NSW Ports, and possibly not with Brisbane, we’ll see; and a CLARA fast train that cannot be built with no other option on the table. Putting more money into Parkes brings headlines but not better services. An air cargo hub would be nice but could it really be anywhere other than Badgerys?
All in all, it’s the city’s Botany monopoly versus the bush’s everything-else-you-can-think-of.