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More than 40 strict environmental conditions set for proposed Western Sydney Airport

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THE HON JOSH FRYDENBERG MP Minister for the Environment and Energy

11 November 2016



A strict set of more than 40 environmental conditions, addressing environmental issues across biodiversity, noise and heritage, must be adopted for the proposed development of the Western Sydney Airport to proceed. This is as comprehensive a set of conditions placed by the Commonwealth on any airport in the country.

The recommended conditions have been informed by a thorough and rigorous review of the environmental impact statement and draft Airport Plan, a site visit and meetings with key local leaders to hear firsthand the issues important to the community.

Extensive consultation was carried out during the development of the environmental impact statement where there were around 5,000 submissions and 16 community information events across nine different council areas in Western Sydney.

The comprehensive set of more than 40 conditions to protect the environment will:

• Ensure the airspace design explicitly addresses a range of environmental factors, including minimising the impact of noise on residential areas, the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and other sensitive locations;

• Build on the measures and plans outlined in the environmental impact statement, to ensure a comprehensive environmental management framework to minimise and manage environmental impacts during construction and operation of the airport; • Provide a comprehensive package of up to $180 million in biodiversity offsets in consultation

with ecology experts; • Ensure that fuel supply options compare the social, economic and environmental costs, savings and benefits of road transport to alternatives including a fuel pipeline with a review of this matter to commence by the end of 2017; and • Require a $10 million contribution to a native seed program run by Greening Australia. This

innovative program will future proof seed supply in Western Sydney to support conservation replanting programs on Western Sydney’s Cumberland Plain.

With these conditions and the existing regulatory regime already in place I am confident the first stage of this development can now proceed.

After including these important environmental conditions, the Minister for Urban Infrastructure will now be in a position to finalise the Airport Plan and authorise Stage 1 of the development.

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I look forward to my continued involvement in this project, which I expect to include receiving the Biodiversity Offsets Delivery Plan and, in future years, the final proposal for flight path and airspace design.

The complete set of Commonwealth conditions for the Western Sydney Airport, including the environmental conditions, can be found at


Media Contact: Kane Silom - Office of the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP - 02 6277 7920

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Media Backgrounder (not for publication or attribution)

About the Western Sydney Airport

The proposed Western Sydney Airport is a major infrastructure project that will cater for ongoing growth in demand for air travel, particularly in the rapidly expanding western Sydney region. It is expected to provide a range of social and economic benefits to individuals, businesses and communities throughout Sydney.

An airport in Western Sydney would complement the recent and continuing rapid growth of the region, creating jobs and providing new opportunities for infrastructure and other investment. The project will add around $2.3 billion to the Sydney economy over the construction period alone.

The site of the proposed airport at Badgerys Creek, first announced in 1986, was selected following extensive studies completed over several decades. Since then, state and local governments have been able to use modelled aircraft noise contours to largely exclude noise- sensitive land uses close to the airport and along the approach and departure flight paths.

Environmental assessment and approval

Under the Airports Act 1996 (Airports Act), more than 40 strict Commonwealth conditions will be included in an airport plan for Stage 1 of the Western Sydney Airport to protect the environment.

Under a streamlined assessment and approval process created by 2015 legislative amendments to the Airports Act, approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) is not necessary, although the conditions on the airport plan were informed by a comprehensive environmental impact assessment under the EPBC Act.


The environmental impact statement was finalised on 15 September 2016, to address almost 5,000 public submissions received during a comment period in late 2015. The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development also undertook extensive voluntary community consultation including 11 focus group meetings, community information sessions for 1,281 people and 3041 survey responses.

The Minister for the Environment and Energy, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, also met with key local leaders to hear firsthand the issues important to the community.

Conditions to protect the environment

The more than 40 strict conditions placed on Stage 1 of the Western Sydney Airport include:

Environment Management Framework

• Construction environment management plans (CEMPs) and operational environment management plans (OEMPs) to be prepared and implemented to manage environmental impacts including noise and vibration, biodiversity, soil, water, traffic, air quality, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultural heritage, waste management and visual impacts.

• CEMPs and OEMPs to be prepared in consultation with government agencies with relevant local expertise, to the satisfaction of an appropriate Commonwealth approver.

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Ground-based noise from construction and operation of the airport

• Stage 1 design to consider opportunities to minimise noise impacts.

• Management measures to ensure periodic respite from construction noise.

• Curfew to be observed for any blasting activities during construction.


• Biodiversity surveys to be updated to best practice standards.

• Badgerys Creek to be protected by an environmental protection zone.

• Propagation trials for threatened plants to be undertaken prior to clearing.

• Biodiversity offset delivery strategy to be prepared with a focus on threatened species and ecosystems of the Cumberland Plain - expected total value of up to $180 million.

• Biodiversity offsets to include $10 million in funding over five years to Greening Australia, for native seed production with a focus on species of the Cumberland Plain.

Water resources

• Rigorous groundwater monitoring (and corrective measures as required) to be undertaken during construction.

• Rigorous water quality monitoring (and corrective measures as required) to be undertaken during operations.

Airspace design, including finalisation of flight paths

• Airspace design to have regard to impacts on existing airspace users.

• Aircraft overflight noise impacts on World Heritage and wilderness values to be minimised to the extent practicable.

• Noise insulation policy to be developed and implemented.

• Flight paths to be referred under national environmental law, accompanied by an explanation of how design principles have been met.


• Connections to surrounding regional and local traffic networks to be optimised.

Fuel supply and management

• Fuel supply options to compare the social, economic and environmental costs, savings and benefits of road transport to alternatives including a fuel pipeline, with a review of this matter to commence by the end of 2017.

• Contracts involving supply, transport, storage or disposal of aviation fuels must comply with statutory obligations.

These conditions are complemented by several existing regulations, for example relating to emergency fuel jettisoning, road transport of aviation fuel, and aircraft noise limits.

Further information

Further information on the proposed Western Sydney Airport, including conditions to be included in the airport plan, is available from the website of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development at: