‘City deal won’t stop airport opposition’: Blue Mountains mayor

Blue Mountains deputy mayor Chris Van der Kley (far left) with other Western Sydney council leaders, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Blue Mountains deputy mayor Chris Van der Kley (far left) with other Western Sydney council leaders, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Blue Mountains City Council has not weakened its opposition to a second Sydney airport despite signing a deal with the state and federal governments and seven other local councils on Sunday. 

That’s the stance of Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill following the historic Western Sydney City Deal which will see millions dollars in funding for new projects in the western Sydney region.

It includes a commitment to establish a $150 million Liveability Fund, shared among the eight participating councils, and joint federal-state funding of the first stage of an airport rail link to St Marys.

“Importantly the Western Sydney City Deal recognises the council’s ongoing opposition to Western Sydney Airport,” said Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill.

“Even though none of our nominated projects for city deal funding are connected to any airport proposal and nor do they enable it, it is important that the city deal acknowledges that we have a policy position opposing the Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek and that this position is different to the federal and state governments and many councils.

“We know that the second airport is not in the best interests of the western Sydney community. As we look to the future of the western Sydney region, I wanted future generations to know that Blue Mountains City Council stood up for its principles and for its community, and that the city deal document reflected this.

“This was a key outcome, because it means we have secured millions of dollars in funds for our city and our community while our individual position is recognised by other levels of government.”

Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, Marise Payne, said the deal “will create some 200,000 jobs, further driving the economic powerhouse that is our region”.

Senator Payne said the rail link from St Marys to Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis via the Western Sydney Airport was crucial to the deal.

However, it has been criticised by Labor for only committing $100 million in funding for a business case for a project that is likely to cost several billion dollars.

Senator Payne also said the deal would boost educational opportunities at Western Sydney University (WSU) campuses and “deliver a Vocational Education and Training (VET) facility which will focus on construction, aviation and aeronautical engineering, as well as a new public high school with vocational links to the Western Sydney Airport and aviation and defence industries”.

“Communities right across Western Sydney, people from all walks of life, are set to gain from the city deal,” she said.

“For example, the establishment of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguards Commission in Penrith will bring up to 150 new jobs to western Sydney.

“The city deal also includes a commitment to adopt Indigenous, social and local employment and procurement targets in construction projects.”

The eight councils signed to the deal are Blue Mountains, Wollondilly, Penrith, Fairfield, Liverpool, Hawkesbury, Campbelltown, and Camden.