Update on Aviation in Sydney, second Sydney airport and RAAF Base Richmond

Aviation in Sydney, second Sydney airport and RAAF Base Richmond

The Australian Government has been exploring the aviation capacity needs of Sydney, and this is relevant to the Hawkesbury community as the potential use of RAAF Base Richmond is continually raised and is considered as having a role in the provision of a commercial aviation service.

In May 2013, the former Australian Government released the much awaited Sydney Aviation Capacity Scoping Study, entitled, “A Study of Wilton and RAAF Base Richmond for civil aviation operations”.  It is preceded by a number of other documents produced by the Australian Government in regard to Sydney aviation.

Council was briefed on the next steps of the Scoping Study by the former Department of Infrastructure and Transport in August, 2013.  Residents and interested persons can access a report on the briefing titled “Sydney Aviation Capacity Scoping Study – Update” presented to Council at its meeting held 13 August, 2013 (Item 157, page 17).

The briefing session explained that next steps of the Scoping Study were to look into limited civil operations at Richmond RAAF Base; to investigate the mine subsidence impact at Wilton (as a second airport) and for the former Department of Infrastructure and Transport to report back to the Federal Government on these steps, including a Department and Defence united position on civil access to the base.  It was anticipated by staff of the former Department that this would occur by the end of 2013.The department is now The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

It is understood from the Joint Study that the former Federal Government’s strategy was to make the most of Sydney Airport; better utilise existing aviation infrastructure (airports and Defence airfields) that are close to markets such as Richmond RAAF Base; and to establish a second Sydney Airport. 

The current Australian Government is yet to formally comment on the Scoping Study, Sydney aviation and/ or its intentions for Aviation Policy (White Paper) – the main document that guides the direction and activities around commercial aviation in Australia. 

The Australian Government is yet to outline its intentions for RAAF Base Richmond in the Sydney aviation mix; nor the Wilton site as the possible site of a second Sydney airport.

Since the Parliamentary Election in 2013, the possibility of establishing the second Sydney airport at Badgery’s Creek has received considerable media coverage.

Council in November, 2013, further considered the second Sydney airport matter and decided to:

  • acknowledge the need for a second Sydney airport and, as a matter of policy and indicate that it considers the Badgerys Creek site as the most appropriate location for a second Sydney airport,
  • reiterate its position that RAAF Base Richmond Base should be retained, it not be considered as a site of a second Sydney airport, it should continue to operate as a permanent operational facility for Defence, and that any possible future use of the Base for civil aviation purposes not prevent or hinder its Defence purpose.

Additionally, as RAAF Base Richmond 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 former Australian Government on 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.”

The current Australian Government is yet to formally comment on its intentions for Defence Policy (White Paper) and any relationship of this policy with Aviation Policy (White Paper).


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 fmann@hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au.

 


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