Council’s airport support in tatters

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Ross Fowler. Photo: Megan Dunn

Inadequate and inconsistent is how Penrith Council described the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the western Sydney airport.

A meeting on Monday night presented the findings of an independent peer review of the EIS that will be submitted to the Federal Government.

The peer review identified ‘inadequacies of the draft EIS’ such as gaps in information and the ‘limited scope’ of the Stage 1 assessment.

It said the assessment of the EIS relied on a flight path and merge point design that only considered operation and aviation safety, not the environment.

Councillor Prue Car said Council has been very critical over the findings of the peer review.

“There are no alternative flight paths in the EIS, and that’s a big concern to Penrith and every Councillor around this chamber,” she said.

From these findings, all present Councillors requested that the Federal Government does not approve the Stage 1 Development of the airport.

However, they were divided over whether or not Council should continue to have a seat at the table during airport discussions.

Councillor Kevin Crameri said Penrith has been treated with contempt by the Federal Government, and should stop working alongside them.

“We can start calling Penrith soot city,” he said.

“If we were actually on the inside working with these people, we should have known it was going to be a 24 hour airport.”

Councillor Maurice Girotto suggested that so far having a ‘seat at the table’ with the Federal Government has not been beneficial to Penrith.

“We have been at the table, and we got flight paths out of supporting the Federal Government,” he said.

Despite the mounting pressure to cut ties, Council will continue to work alongside the Federal Government.

Deputy Mayor Ross Fowler said refusing to continue to work with the Government takes Penrith completely out of the game.

“We can’t talk to anyone, we can’t participate,” he said.

“It’s a fact of life. The sun is going to rise tomorrow, and there is going to be an airport at western Sydney.”

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