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Labor's infrastructure and transport spokesman Anthony Albanese says the Greens' "actual position is to not have an airport in Sydney". He says that the party's policy is to close Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport while at the same time opposing the new airport at Badgerys Creek, Western Sydney. Do the Greens really want Sydney to be without an airport? ABC Fact Check investigates.
The verdictMr Albanese's statement is overreach.
The Greens have a long term aspiration to close Sydney's airport and relocate it further away from the city.
They also oppose the new Badgerys Creek airport, located around 50km from the Sydney central business district.
The Greens have not nominated any alternative airport sites, although as examples they point to airports in Oslo, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Athens, which are located between 30 and 50 km from the respective city centres and connected to the city by high speed rail.
Based on the Greens' policy, it is hard to envisage any site in the Sydney area that would meet their approval.
But the Greens do not propose that Sydney would be left without an airport at all: closure of the existing airport would only occur after a new one is built — somewhere.
The airport issueAircraft noise in Sydney has been a longstanding issue in Mr Albanese's electorate of Grayndler.
Kingsford Smith, Sydney's existing domestic and international airport, is located in suburban Mascot,adjoining Grayndler and around eight kilometres from the centre of the city.
In 2009, the NSW and Federal Governments commissioned a joint study into "aviation capacity in the Sydney region", with the report delivered in March 2012.
The report recommended a number of initiatives, including the need to identify and secure a site for "a supplementary airport as part of a long-term solution".
In April 2014, the Abbott government announcedBadgerys Creek, in Western Sydney, as a site for a second Sydney airport.
The site, about 50km from Sydney's central business district, had been acquired by the Commonwealth between 1986 and 1991 for the purpose of building a future Sydney airport.
A draft airport plan was released in October 2015.
The Labor Opposition supports the Badgerys Creek development.
A new airport 'somewhere else'In determining what the Greens' policy is, ABC Fact Check has looked at public statements of NSW and federal Greens politicians and candidates, and published policies.
The Greens have had a longstanding policy of closing and moving the existing Sydney airport.
The Grayndler candidate in the 2010 election, Sam Byrne, campaigned on the issue.
Then in April 2012, Greens senator Lee Rhiannon, the party's federal transport spokeswoman at the time,said that Mr Albanese as federal transport minister should "put in a place a process to identify a site to relocate Sydney Airport outside of the Sydney basin linked by high speed rail".
She pointed to cities such as Hong Kong, Bangkok, Oslo and Athens that "resolved their airport woes by closing inner-city airports surrounded by dense residential populations and moving them further from the city centre".
The NSW Greens transport policy, last updated in 2014, states that the NSW Greens:
"Oppose the construction of any new large jet airport within the Sydney basin airshed and support the commencement of a process to identify a potential site for the relocation of Kingsford Smith Airport to outside the Sydney Basin, taking into account stringent environmental and social criteria."
At the time of the 2015 NSW state election, state Greens transport spokeswoman Mehreen Faruqi told Channel 7: "We need to make a larger airport somewhere else, and relocate Sydney airport."
In a 2015 policy document authorised by both Senator Rhiannon and Dr Faruqi, the Greens provided detail of their "airport relocation plan", stating that:
Fact Check asked the Greens candidate for Grayndler to confirm the party's current position.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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