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The boss of Canberra Airport has backed the NSW premier's call to expand Canberra's capacity to ease pressure on Sydney's airport.
Canberra Airport is urging the NSW premier to reject a housing developer's plans for thousands of new homes under its flight path which would block an expansion of the airport's capacity.
Canberra Airport chief executive Stephen Byron has backed Premier Barry O'Farrell's call to expand Canberra's terminal and build a high-speed rail service between Sydney and the national capital with a travel time of just one hour to ease the pressure off Sydney Airport.
The federal government wants a second airport within the Sydney basin to bolster the national economy and take pressure off the existing airport at Mascot.
It favours a site at Wilton, southwest of the city, but needs the state government's support before any work can begin.
Mr O'Farrell has rejected proposals for a second Sydney airport at either Badgerys Creek or Wilton.
He wants Canberra Airport expanded as an alternative and to include a high-speed rail link between Sydney and the nation's capital.
Mr Byron told AAP the NSW government had to ensure its preferred option was not lost to them forever.
He said the NSW government was currently examining a development proposal from Village Building Company for 1850 homes at South Tralee near Queanbeyan, with a long-term plan for 5500 homes, which would be right under the flight path of an expanded Canberra airport.
The land is a rural corridor.
"(Premier O'Farrell) faces a developer trying to get a rezoning, to build 5500 houses directly under Canberra airport's flight path," he said.
"This is pretty critical for him, because without this he doesn't have a solution to Sydney's airport problems."
The NSW planning minister is expected to make a decision within two to three weeks.
He said building a high-speed rail link would cost the same amount as an airport.
Mr Byron said Badgerys Creek had been completely ruled out as a second airport site because there were 4440 homes directly under the flight path.
"We think we're a good option, we think we're the right option, but we're only an option if we don't have houses under the flight path," he said.
He said scores of people from western Sydney and Wollongong already drive to Canberra's airport to catch domestic flights because parking was cheaper than Sydney.
Mr Byron said a high-speed train would definitely be popular and would have the same commute time as people travelling from Melbourne's CBD to Tullamarine.
Earlier on Monday, Mr O'Farrell said he understood Sydneysiders' concerns about noise.
"We took to the last election campaign a view that we shouldn't dump aircraft noise in Sydney's west and Sydney's southwest," the premier told Macquarie Radio Network.
"We are going to be the government that delivers on our promises and not the government, like Julia Gillard, that says one thing on one side of an election campaign and does another on the other side."
Comment has been sought from the NSW Planning Minister and Village Building Group.
Village Building Company chief executive Bob Winnel told AAP the proposal for 1850 homes would have a 2km-wide corridor right through the entire area.
South Tralee is 10-12km from the end of the runway and is not under any current or proposed flight path, Mr Winnel said.
He confirmed there was a long-term plan to build 5500 homes, but that was on the backburner.
Mr Winnel said Canberra airport has projected that in 30 years' it will be busier than Sydney airport is today.
The company's proposal fully complies with Australia's stringent aircraft noise exposure forecast system, he said.
"We're perplexed what Canberra airport is on about," he said.
Mr Winnel said the company's current proposal did not threaten to put any constraints on Canberra Airport.
"We're getting a lot of propaganda out of the airport, and it's interfered with due process," he said.
This article first appeared on www.sbs.com.au
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