RAAF Base Richmond
For some time the Australian Government has been exploring the aviation capacity needs of Sydney. In March 2012, the Australian and New South Wales governments received the Joint Study on aviation capacity in the Sydney region (the Joint Study). The Joint Study identified that a supplementary airport in the Sydney basin is needed in service before the end of the next decade. In response to the Joint Study the Australian Government appointed experts to undertake a technical scoping study into Wilton’s suitability as a second Sydney airport and to explore the use of RAAF Base Richmond for limited civil operations.
On 10 May 2013, the Australian Government’s Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Mr Anthony Albanse MP, released this technical scoping study titled 'A study of Wilton and RAAF Base Richmond for civil aviation operations'. The Study assesses the most suitable site in the Wilton area for greenfield airport development that would be capable of supporting Sydney’s civil aviation needs on a 50 year planning horizon, and further assesses the consequences of opening Richmond to limited passenger services. In summary the report concludes the following in relation to RAAF Base Richmond:
- RAAF's current use of Richmond does not preclude a level of civil operations. Given it is an operating airfield, such services could commence later this decade, and significantly earlier than any greenfield site.
- However, RAAF Base Richmond cannot provide sufficient capacity for Sydney’s long-term aviation needs.
- A decision to expand Richmond with a north-south runway would involve significant costs and the acquisition of land from the University of Western Sydney, as well as substantially more road and rail investment.
- Any decision to consider expanding the Richmond airfield would need to be made in the wider context of how the greenfield airport would be developed.
As a result of the findings of the technical scoping study, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Mr Anthony Albanese MP said the government will;
- conduct geotechnical analysis of the Wilton site to determine the impact mining subsidence could have on an airport development; and
- commence discussions to explore the possibility of opening up RAAF Base Richmond to civil aviation.
Additionally, as the RAAF Base is a key site for the Australian Defence Force the future capabilities of the base were considered in the 2013 Defence White Paper released by the Australian Government on the 3 May 2013. In reference to RAAF Base Richmond, The White Paper stated;
As recommended by the ADF Posture Review, Defence will continue to develop options for reducing the Air Force’s footprint at Royal Australian Air Force base Richmond following the future retirement of the C-130J transport aircraft fleet. In doing so, Defence will consult relevant Agencies and stakeholders as part of broader Government considerations to address ADF requirements and aviation capacity issues in the Sydney region.
If you would like to provide feedback to Council and/or join a mailing list to be kept informed of any updates from the Federal Government about Sydney’s aviation capacity needs and RAAF Base Richmond, please contact Council’s Strategic Activities Planner, Fiona Mann by calling (02) 4560 4573 or emailing your comments and contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org
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