There’s something dreadfully wrong somewhere along the line when Sydney can get a second casino, but not a second airport. While Melbourne is talking about a third major airport, Sydney can’t get its act together to build a second, let alone, third airport that’s likely to be needed soon after any second airport is built.

No second airport here. Pic: Toby Zerna

Do we really need a second Sydney Casino? You be the judge. Do we need more problem gamblers or are we simply going to rely on the so-called `high rollers’ from overseas to make the second casino viable?

Well, we don’t need more problem gamblers and repeated references to so-called ‘Asian high rollers’ are now getting a bit tiresome and border on the offensive. If any other cultural group was being referred to in such a potentially exploitative manner we would probably be hearing calls for an apology.

Leaving aside the obvious willingness to identify particular groups of so-called `higher rollers’ as the pretext for a second casino, one really has to question whether there is any pressing need for another casino? You would think that your local RSL or Leagues club is effectively a casino. In any event, if there is some proven `need’ for another casino, why don’t we just allow your local RSL or Leagues Club to offer gaming tables?

So why all the fuss about a second Sydney casino? Well, you have a very rich private investor who wants to get his hands on a casino license for the very simple reason that it’s a license to print money. There’s already effectively a monopoly on the provision of gaming tables in Sydney and a second license would just turn that into a duopoly. And we only need to look at Coles and Woolworths to see how lucrative duopolies are!

What’s really amazing is that we can fast track a second casino, but any progress towards a second airport occurs at a snail’s pace. Given how slow the process has been, a snail would probably have already completed a few laps of the existing runways at Sydney airport. That’s provided, of course, it hadn’t been squashed by the ever increasing flights in and out of Sydney airport.

We have Canberra and Adelaide airports expanding and Sydney’s once great Kingsford-Smith airport at Mascot is suffocating. There’s only one major road into and out of the domestic terminals. Whether it’s 7am in the morning or 7pm at night there’s traffic chaos leading to Sydney’s domestic terminals. It’s no better at other times of the day.

Taxis are queued for hours, but there never seems to be enough of them. The train line would offer some respite, but train tickets are hyper-inflated because of the financial disaster that accompanied the building of the airport train line.

The traffic into the domestic terminals is very poorly managed by Sydney Airport and various pedestrian crossings are not controlled by traffic lights which mean that there’s a constant stream of one or two passengers from the parking station who can significantly disrupt the motor vehicle flows into the domestic terminals.

That’s all because the airport is too stingy to put in extra traffic lights to better manage the flow of passengers from the parking station that’s between the two domestic terminals. In fact, that’s the problem with a monopoly like Sydney Airport. It likes to gouge airlines and passengers using the airport with ever increasing charges.

For the poor old passengers they get ripped off at every turn. Parking charges seem to climb as fast as a plane taking off from the airport. Let’s not even mention the possibility of a parking fine for stopping in the wrong place at the airport that would make any local Council parking fine look cheap.

Even the airlines get hit with increasing charges. There’s no doubt that having a monopoly like Sydney Airport is good for its owners, but bad news for everyone else. Monopolies are good at raising prices and reducing service standards. That’s easy to do because they don’t have competition.

It’s no wonder therefore that Sydney Airport fights strenuously against any suggestion of a second airport. That would mean competition. It’s obviously a huge market failure when a monopolist is allowed to stop the entry of a competitor.

Now, interestingly, the owners of Sydney Airport have a first right of refusal on building a new second airport. In fact, they paid a lot of money for that privilege. As a result, Sydney Airport can effectively delay, if not, stop a potential competitor airport in the Sydney Basin. That means that a private business can delay or even stop a much needed infrastructure project that would benefit passengers, airlines and Sydney itself.

There’s certainly a market failure when a private business can delay or stop competition from an independently owned second Sydney airport. In fact, that may even amount to a possible misuse of market power under our competition laws. Where’s the ACCC when you need it?

With the ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims, recently getting excited about competition and productivity issues at Australian Ports, we can only hope Sims gets equally, if not more, excited about the need for a second Sydney Airport which would no doubt boost competition and productivity in the aviation market.

As we wait for Governments to get the backbone to deliver a second Sydney Airport we should also be thinking about other possible competitors to the existing Sydney Airport. Why don’t we do some serious thinking about a high speed rail link between Sydney and Canberra? In fact, why stop there? Why don’t we have a high speed rail link between Sydney and Melbourne that goes through Canberra?

That would be brilliant as that would solve many problems. First, there would then be a realistic and effective competitor to not only Sydney Airport, but also Canberra and Melbourne Airports. Second, given that Sydney to Melbourne is one of the busiest air routes in the world, moving passengers from the air to a high speed train would significantly reduce the number of flights in and out of Sydney Airport. That would free up lots of capacity at Sydney Airport and even delay the need for a Second Sydney Airport.

Finally, with strategically placed stations along the Sydney to Melbourne high speed rail line many New South Wales and Victorian regional centres could be serviced by a standard of railway that the Europeans have enjoyed for decades.

You would think that such a nation building exercise would be promoted by the New South Wales, Victorian, ACT and Federal Governments. But, inevitably such suggestions would bring out the friends and lobbyists of Sydney Airport and Qantas with all the types of self-interested arguments that the free market fundamentalists are best known for. It seems that monopolists and dominant players, as well as their supporters and apologists, don’t like the injection of competition.

Where’s the Federal Government when you need it to stand up to monopolists and dominant players? Meanwhile, Sydney is likely to get a second casino before it gets a second airport. It seems that the so-called high rollers can get a better deal than the millions of Sydney taxpayers that pay lots of taxes to the New South Wales and Federal Governments.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEDST.

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    • craig2 says:

      06:09am | 07/11/12

      Where’s the federal government? Too worried about holding onto power and screaming “sexist!” at every turn.

    • Tubesteak says:

      07:10am | 07/11/12

      The last Liberal government didn’t do too much about an airport either.

      All governments are too gutless to offend the NIMBYs to do anything.

    • KH says:

      07:31am | 07/11/12

      Where is the state government?  They are the first ones to point the finger at.

    • Nathan says:

      08:24am | 07/11/12

      Howard sat on his hands as it would of lost him votes, Labor are not doing anything either and you have a LNP in NSW. Why are you trying to pin this on the federal gov’t exactly?

    • Potato says:

      08:57am | 07/11/12

      A huge part of the problem is the massive influence that the Sydney Airport has in the arena of politics and infrastructure decision making.

      Max Moore Wilton, former senior public servant, who has close ties with Barry O’Farrell, is also the head of the Sydney Airports Corporation…..

      And (surprise surprise) he is also one of the people on the board of Infrastructure NSW - who are recommending that a Sydney second airport be held off until some (undetermined) time in the future.

      I am sure that Max Moore Wilton knows a lot about infrastructure and planning, but his position with Sydney Airports Corporation surely means that he is by no means objective about what is best for Sydney.

      Its pretty obvious that he is employed to look after the interests of Sydney’s existing airport, and his influence with the Government and infrastructure NSW is not really in the interests of the State, or the Country, but rather the existing airport operator.

      Pretty much everyone agrees that Sydney needs a second airport at some location in the Sydney Basin, the only people that don’t agree are, unfortunately, the operators of the current airport - and they are the ones who have some serious influence given their role with state government and Infrastructure NSW

    • craig2 says:

      09:30am | 07/11/12

      Tube steak, nimbys, good point, that’s why the Chinese are so damn good at building infrastructure. The Chinese simply make those dissidents disappear or simply roll over them with 20 ton tanks, simple easy solutions!

    • Tubesteak says:

      10:48am | 07/11/12

      I wish we could do that here with all the whining NIMBYs that talk about some dilapidated building that no-one uses as if it has heritage or cultural value. Or that oppose a new highway going through their “sleepy little village” in the heart of the city.
      The needs of the many outweigh the selfish whims of a few.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      01:42pm | 07/11/12

      Tubesteak- exactly who ‘needs’ a second Casino in Sydney?

      Though I cannot doubt that if most of NSW (or even Sydney) needs a second airport, we should be allowed a referendum on it (therefore if only a minority are against it, they would be outvoted).

    • Tubesteak says:

      02:47pm | 07/11/12

      Concerned Citizen
      I was talking about an airport, not a casino. “Need” and “casino” are not words that go together. “want” and “casino” work better. As far as I’m concerned., if someone is willing to build it and can make some money out of it then go for it. Gambling generates a decent amount of tax revenue and the construction industry could do with a boost, too.
      Referendums are about changing the constitution. Not about whether some piece of infrastructure is wanted or not. Moreover, these things should not be down to the popular vote which forces ill-informed dullards to have their say. The bottlenecks with one Sydney airport have been known for years. Get someone in there to build it. Pronto!

    • acotrel says:

      06:21am | 07/11/12

      As I have said many times previously - ‘the system runs on bullshit’.  If you look back to the easrliest days of Sydney, free enterprise involved one man who had his own still - manufacturing the currency of the day, and intent on pushing his own barrow.  Sydney has always been a corrupt social dichotomy. It is one of the things that makes it so picturesque.

    • Mahhrat says:

      06:29am | 07/11/12

      A good article.  The place just needs a second airport.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      01:35pm | 07/11/12

      That casino plan is an abomination, simple as that. It is theft of public land for a useless non-competitive industry. What value would a second casino add? Zero.

      As for the airport, as much as DID agree with the Canberra option, to my dismay it seems O’Farrel has green-lighted housing to be build at the runway site! The depths of ineptitude of the man in the face of bribes is staggering.

      Having said that, given the likelihood that a second airport would be sold to the operator of the existing airport, it would be thoroughly useless and a waste of time to build it. Not to mention that overall, Sydney NEEDS high-speed rail to Canberra and Melbourne anyway- the infrastructure for the other sites would exist solely to connect this new airport.

    • JoniM says:

      03:00pm | 07/11/12

      Wrong !

      It’s a ridiculous article on so many levels !

      1. To compare the approval processes of a 2nd Casino with that of a 2nd Airport is naive in the extreme. The casino / hotel complex proposed for Darling Harbour is on vacant land that is too small for an airport but OK for a six star hotel. It will provide thousands of jobs for Sydney, millions in taxes for a broke government and associated tourism revenues. It will provide minimal disruption to the current city layout and little impact on daily life in the city, and it should be fast tracked immediately !
      Whilst the proposed 2nd Airport that has now been muted for 40 years still hasn’t even had a site chosen ? Why ? Because of the enormous costs, the enormous impacts on the infrastructure of Sydney, the enormous impacts on the populations in the vacinity of any said 2nd Sydney airport. It requires both Federal and State governments with a lot of money and a lot of ticker !
      It has nothing to do with monopolies !

      2. If airport capacity is to be increased in the Sydney region it should be focused on expansion of the existing Mascot operation. Extend more runways out into the Bay, upgrade the infrastructure to the area, etc. The airport is already where travellers want it to be, where transport companies have established their operations, the flight paths are established, and residents who have choosen to live near an airport have their airport ! Expand on it where it is , reclaim some properties if need be. It has to be easier to approve and implement than getting a decision on, and then building a 2nd Mascot in someone else’s backyard or in some other location requiring massive infrastructure investment to link it back to the Sydney areas where travellers actually want to be !

    • Interested says:

      06:40am | 07/11/12

      ” If any other cultural group was being referred to in such a potentially exploitative manner we would probably be hearing calls for an apology.”

      The fact that an informed ‘expert’ in business identifies a business plan targeting our closest economic region as “potentially exploitative” highlights that we live in the era of the professionally offended.

      It also begs the question; does the author also see a problem with the way in which the ALP’s Asian white paper “referred” to this “cultural group” and, for that matter, with the colonial overtones of calling it a “white” paper.

    • acotrel says:

      07:28am | 07/11/12

      ‘the colonial overtones of calling it a “white” paper. ‘

      Racist ?

    • marley says:

      08:32am | 07/11/12

      If “white papers” have colonial overtones, what does that make “green papers?”  Vegan?  Martian?  Seasick?

    • andye says:

      10:28am | 07/11/12

      @interested - ” the colonial overtones of calling it a “white” paper”

      That awkward moment when you can’t quite work out if someone is making a joke or being totally serious.

    • Kipling says:

      06:58am | 07/11/12

      It is not just a “federal” problem though. The state Government has been dragging the chain on a second airport (and that is being generous, probably obstructive would be more accurate).

      This highlights that this country would be better off not being overgoverned by three tiers of Government (particularly in our moder era of bloody useless politicians). It also highlights that in this country at least, the person with the most money also has the biggest share of democratic access, rights and opportunities. Sure highlights what being the “lucky country” really means in the 21st century.

      We need a second casino like a dog needs extra fleas, however, at least one person can be identified who apparently needs a second casino and they appear to have the money to get what they want and screw the rest of the country.

      It is noteworthy in all of this that there is a second airport not terribly far from Sydney. I am loath to mention it because although it is small, it is not frequently used en masse and, consequently, on the rare occassions I need an airport it is a beauty for me. Once it becomes more common knowledge of course, it will quickly be inundated beyong its capacity and that will bring an end to the convenience. Particularly with our Governments (State and Federal) penchant for not looking after infrastructure or the wider community

    • acotrel says:

      07:41am | 07/11/12

      ‘We need a second casino like a dog needs extra fleas, however, at least one person can be identified who apparently needs a second casino and they appear to have the money to get what they want and screw the rest of the country.’

      I once asked a shady character who is at the top of the dung heap. He answered it isthe same person named by the Costigan Royal Commission.

    • bananabender56 says:

      07:42am | 07/11/12

      If a second casino will bring in more overseas ‘high rollers’ then couldn’t we kill 2 birds with one stone - build a second casino at the second airport?

    • AFR says:

      07:47am | 07/11/12

      On Monday I flew into Sydney airport, and we sat on the tarmac for half an hour as they had physically run out of gates to park us. How the hell does this happen? “Sorry, we have no parking spaces available”??

    • Tubesteak says:

      10:58am | 07/11/12

      “Sorry, we have no parking spaces available”??

      That describes all of Sydney

    • JoniM says:

      03:40pm | 07/11/12

      So where were you wanting to go ?
      Sydney CBD ? North Sydney ? Eastern Suburbs ?
      If we had a second airport at say Wilton or Badgery’s Creek ( a couple of favourite touted locations) , you could have been another 90 minutes away from your destination even with a “parking” spot on the tarmac!
      And there is just one of a myriad of issues surrounding a 2nd Sydney airport development! No-one wants it away from Mascot !

    • Loddlaen says:

      05:29pm | 07/11/12

      @JoniM - I live on the Central Coast. Having a western airport with a direct road/rail link would be perfect for me.

    • hillsman says:

      08:19am | 07/11/12

      how about a casino in the new airport…that will get packer on board and the grovelling LNP will follow like lemmings…new airport up and running before 2020…
      Lets not forget that Sydney airport is private..therefore prices will always rise to help keep the executives bonuses coming…service will always be reduced of course..less staff, more mess and and no service…of course all under the banner of (we have shareholders to consider) a sickening line loved by LNP voters.
      sydney airport is one of the worlds worst and not likely to get any better in my lifetime or as long it is controlled by slimy suits..shame really

    • KH says:

      11:23am | 07/11/12

      From my understanding, the majority shareholder is Macquarie Bank.  Surprise surprise surprise - a bank making big profits for little service…..........

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      01:57pm | 07/11/12

      The major problem with privatization in practice is that clever, intuitive businesses DON’T waste time trying to buy over public assets because they are already capable of making money without help.

      The only businesses that buy public utilities are businesses that are too incompetent and are incapable of competing in the private sphere, so they hang on to possibility of buying public assets knowing that this is the only way to gain a monopoly, and people will be forced to use it no matter how bad their services become.

      Australian history reflects this perfectly well with former public utilities (especially those bought by Macquarie Bank) rapidly deteriorating under the ineptitude of their buyers, with rising costs and reduced value for customers.
      Qantas being a shining example- barely managing to hold together because it fails to complete with, of all things, national-owned airline competitors- and constantly claiming how unfair it is.

    • mikem says:

      08:23am | 07/11/12

      Privatising the airports was supposed to be the saviour but all it has done is turned the airports into monopoly cash cows for the ‘owners’ who resist all hints of competition.  They don’t wan’t alternative airports because it might affect their bottom line.

    • Rohan says:

      08:26am | 07/11/12

      I read the whole first half of your article, replacing “Sydney” with “Brisbane” and “second airport” with “second runway”. At least Sydney has some culture and potential; Brisbane is a vacant wasteland (but strangely enough still has the monopolistic airport corporation).

    • Bomb78 says:

      09:03am | 07/11/12

      Rohan - what gets me about Brisbane airport is that for the people on the south side of Brisbane there is a real alternative just down the M1 - Gold Coast airport is easy to get to, now has decent parking and the gates would be a two minute walk from the check in counters if not for the security checks. And you don’t have to pay a toll to get there! Apart from flying to or from Sydney, I’ve never been seriously delayed there, unlike the nightly ritual of adding at least an hour in Brisbane.
      When the time comes, Brisbane’s second airport is ready to go - put a civilian terminal down one side of the Amberley runway. If they’d done that 20 years ago at Richmond, the second airport issue for Sydney would be long buried.

    • centurion48 says:

      08:30am | 07/11/12

      I propose the Federal Territory of Badgerys Creek be excised from NSW for the purpose of constructing a second airport with a mega-casino and hotel. Jamie will stump up the cash if he is given the nod and an exclusive operating licence.
      The poor buggers that are to be fleeced in any casino will be confined to a room that has no windows anyway so why does it need to be on prime real esate at Barrangaroo? They can be brought in by the jumbo load and never have to leave the airport. It’s a win-win.
      As for Macquaries first right of refusal, just ignore it and let the issue drag through the court system for the next 20 years.

    • Tigger says:

      08:45am | 07/11/12

      Pfft, as if we will ever get a second airport, or fast rail link to a regional airport, or any meaningful infrastructure like that.

      The age of physical infrastructure is over. With the exception of China governments are generally loathed to provide more facilities. It’s just what politics has become - a far cry from the nation building politics of 50-100 years ago.

      No doubt someone will trott out the NBN. It doesn’t count. It cannot move people around, and that is the basic problem here.

      Get used to gridlocked, overcrowded, crumbling cities. It’s what “big Australia” inevitably means.

    • Gordon says:

      10:15am | 07/11/12

      No, it’s what “afraid to make a decision” Australia means. We could have a smaller population than now and still suffer from that.

    • andye says:

      10:30am | 07/11/12

      @Tigger - “No doubt someone will trott out the NBN. It doesn’t count. It cannot move people around, and that is the basic problem here.”

      Way to completely miss the point. The NBN will lower the demand for people moving around.

    • Tigger says:

      11:13am | 07/11/12


      Sure, next time you go on holiday port yourself through the NBN to wherever you’re visiting. And while you’re at it,  use the NBN to download the new jeans and shoes you just bought too.

    • andye says:

      12:51pm | 07/11/12

      @Tigger - I work for a multinational that also has multiple Australian offices. We use video conferencing instead of travel quite often, though we are somewhat limited by bandwidth even with expensive dedicated lines. Some weeks I would have multiple video conferences daily.

      I also work from home sometimes, though this can be frustrating with our current substandard internet. The NBN would absolutely improve these areas for us and would open up these options to smaller companies and individuals that previously would not be able to afford dedicated lines to support HD video conferencing.

      You can be sarcastic all you want, Tigger - but the NBN will help business and will provide more alternatives to travel. Compare and contrast to a similarly expensive Liberal plan (that is not scheduled to be repaid) that creates a new business tax in order to pay people not to work.

      The NBN is going to provide infrastructure, provide improved cionsumer services, help business and help our nations competitiveness. I’ll take that over some expensive welfare and a new business tax, thanks.

    • Tigger says:

      04:17pm | 07/11/12


      I also videoconference every day across Australia and regularly across the world. Oh and I work for a company that handles terabytes of data on a regular basis, so I am no idiot.

      The NBN is a complete waste of money. From my office I need a fibre channel connection, yes. But from my house, and every other house in my street, that are all empty all day long, do I really need the same facility? For what? So I can Facebook faster when I get home?

      I have no doubt that the NBN is a great business tool. So supply it to businesses. Houses do not need it. It’s like building a six lane highway to every house in every street because one of them might need a couple of semi-trailers one day.

      And it will not reduce the amount of people traffic despite what you would like to believe.

    • Rose says:

      08:48am | 07/11/12

      Adelaide is apparently embarking on an expansion of Parafield airport, and still Sydney can’t get its act together and recognize the need for a second airport, that is seriously backwards.
      Who ever signed off on the original contract, giving the private owners of Sydney airport all of this control ought to be the held up us pin-up for short sighted incompetence.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      09:00am | 07/11/12

      John Howard’s gift that keeps on giving to the owners. (Who cares about the plebs that use it?)

    • Bill says:

      09:30am | 07/11/12

      Melbourne already has two 24 hour airports (plus Moorabbin and Essendon for General Aviation). There is no reason for the major carriers to overload Sydney’s airport while excess capacity already exists in Melbourne.

      Sydney doesn’t need a second airport. What we need is more direct flights from Melbourne and not flights which have to be directed through that mess known as Sydney airport.

    • AFR says:

      09:45am | 07/11/12

      But then we would have to go to Melbourne.

    • Bill says:

      10:19am | 07/11/12

      AFR - at least you’d be able to travel 24/7 and wizz through customs and security in no time. And have the choice of two (soon to be three airports). What’s wrong with that?

    • AFR says:

      11:16am | 07/11/12

      Funnily enough, I have been looking at flights to Melbourne (from Sydney) in January. So cheap out of Avalon (like, $39 cheap), but when you factor the location (it’s not in Melbourne, but handy I guess if you live in Weribee or Geelong), and the fact that you are faced with either an hour bus ride or expensive car hire to get into town, it doesn’t seem so cheap after all.

      A second airport is not a magic bullet, but, I guess it gives people options. Melbourne has airport options, but the links between them and, well, anywhere leave a lot to be desired - in those stakes, I’
      m going to give Brisbane’s AirTrain the prize. Frequent services on a dedicated train, and more often than not, free wifi.

    • HereComesDaJudge says:

      09:37am | 07/11/12

      Geeez, what a dumb ‘n dumber article!

      Lie ummmmmm, you need humungous amount of real estate for an airport with its runways up to ten kilometers in length - usually two of them - whereas a Casino can be built on be or two acres quite easily.

      The airport is invariably funded by Government whilst Casinos are always from a private investor or property developer.

      Trying to compare the two in terms of priority is like comparing a snowball to a burning coal, can’t be done!

    • KH says:

      11:32am | 07/11/12

      It doesn’t change the fact that permits are required for both - the thrust of the article is that a casino is more likely to get the go ahead than much needed infrastructure, when it really isn’t needed - well, by anyone other than some greedy billionaire who wants more money.

    • Rossco says:

      12:13pm | 07/11/12

      Yeh but a casino is completely different to an Airport, they are like comparing a tooth pick to the empire state building.

    • the moor says:

      09:45am | 07/11/12

      We have very similar problems with Perth’s airport.  Road access has become a nightmare because the operator has developed the vacant land for warehouses and the like and rail access is decades away.  The Federal government is picking up the tab to to fix the road access problem with the operator contributing very little notwithstanding that they created it. 

      The airport desperately needs the planned second runway but the operator is quoting an outrageous price to build it and one can’t help feeling that it is an ambit claim aimed at trying to get the State and Federal governments to come up with most of the money required to build it..

    • Sir Viv says:

      10:47am | 07/11/12

      “There’s something dreadfully wrong somewhere along the line when Sydney can get a second casino, but not a second airport.”

      The tragedy of Australia is that in the absence of a historical class system it created one based on corporate hegemony which takes full advantage of Australians apathy for it’s own very personal ends.

      As one whose been in Australia for five years. The decline of Sydney is happening at a terrifying pace. It feels old, tired, stuck, dying. The people have become drone-like. No decisions outside of the RTA are ever made.

      When a Packer in 2012 can have the same sway as a Packer in 1970 you have a serious problem. Embarrassing for Australia.

      No innovation, no pride, no smarts, no positivity. A casino is the best we can do.

    • NathanA says:

      11:19am | 07/11/12

      “There’s already effectively a monopoly on the provision of gaming tables in Sydney and a second license would just turn that into a duopoly. And we only need to look at Coles and Woolworths to see how lucrative duopolies are!”

      So you argue against a second casino, because it would change a monopoly into a dreaded duopoly, but then argue for a second airport which would change a monopoly into a what?

      Have a point of view by all means, but please, have some consistency.

    • ProfoundBS says:

      12:02pm | 07/11/12

      Excellent article! Problem comes down to leadership. Since Keating Australia has never really had a true leader i.e. someone who has a vision and knows what they are doing and where they are taking us and exactly why (sorry folks who will feel the need to be contrary, but JW Howard doesn’t tick all these boxes)...

    • Chris says:

      12:59pm | 07/11/12

      I heartily agree, although I would say that at least John Howard wasn’t a populist by most definitions.

      Oh for a Keating again!

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      12:57pm | 07/11/12

      NSW has been chattering on & on & on & on about a Second Airport for Sydney since, at least, the early 1960s. Yet they do Nothing.
      How many NSW State Governments have there been over those 49 years of inaction?
      How many Federal Governments have there been during that time? Governments of all colours who have done nothing.
      During that time Melbourne has replaced the old Essendon Airport with Tullamarine and will probably have a Third Major Airport up & running in a very short time.
      If NSW wants to remain the Premier State & not some sort of backwater on a beautiful Harbour then they have to bight the bullet & do it now. Governments have never had any hesitation in resuming Private land for some pet political project so why are they baulking at doing anything?
      It can’t be lack of money because you tell us what government has ever not had enough money to pay for it’s pet politically opportunistic projects. You’ll find there has never, ever been such a government at least in Australia
      Let the Federal Government build that new airport & then sell it off but ban, by legislation if necessary, the current owners of the defunct, crowded, Kingsford Smith Airport from owning any part of it.
      The owners of Sydney’s ONLY major airport should simply be told:“Agree to build a New Airport at Badgery’s Creek within 2 years or you will lose your exclusive rights”
      Maybe it will take Qantas, Ethihad, Virgin etc. to simply tell the owners of Sydney Airport that they are going to cease operations into/out of Sydney as the delays & congestion is causing them to lose money. With no revenue coming in the owners of Sydney Airport will, deservedly, go broke. There are dozens of alternative places Tourists can go to. Business people can club together & lease small aircraft & fly to alternate, small airports. There are ways around every problem

    • expat says:

      01:41pm | 07/11/12

      When you fly into one of the largest cities in the world (Los Angeles) you fly into LAX not some secondary spoke airport in the middle of nowhere. Sydney does not have the population and density to support two international airports in similar fashion to New York with La Guardia.

      The problem is the nimby’s and enviro’s who will not allow increased traffic to arrive and depart SYD. “its too noisy” or “its going to damage the surrounding environment”.

      Avalon in Melbourne is only useful for domestic budget carriers, beyond that it has no purpose.

    • Brando says:

      02:47pm | 07/11/12

      Agree completely

      Who is going to trudge all the way to badgerys creek just to catch a plane.

      The only planes that will possibly fly from there are ones taking the westies to Bali and other bogan resorts

    • AdamC says:

      02:57pm | 07/11/12

      Sheesh, this article was a pain. I will highlight some of the more elementary omissions in the analysis.

      1) The main barrier to a second Sydney airport was, is and will remain the NIMBY issues over different sites. Was this even mentioned in passing?

      2) A Sydney-Melbourne fast rail has been mooted for decades. It epitomises the concept of the ‘white elephant’ project. To suggest a fast rail link as a serious alternative to increasing Sydney airport capacity is just fanciful. The folly is compounded by also assuming that there would be stops at regional centres along the way. This is despite the fact that, in order to be remotely competitive with air travel, any train would have to be a direct shuttle service between the two cities.

      3) That third Melbourne airport proposal was a government thought bubble. It will not happen. 

      4) Sydney’s problem is that it does not even have one decent casino, not that it needs more crummy ones. The model Sydney should be adopting is the Crown Melbourne one. That is, it should be developing an upmarket, integrated tourism resort that encompasses fine dining, high-end shopping and gambling. The idea that well-heeled tourists (from Asia or anywhere else) would head off to the Blacktown Leagues club if it started offering Baccarat as well as pokies is a complete nonsense.


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