The Illawarra Mercury is reporting the head of the Commonwealth Transport department, Mr Mike Mrdak, has written to Sydney Airport Corporation requesting talks on a second airport for Sydney, probably at Wilton 25km north west of Woolongong.
In a clear sign the Gillard government is serious about pressing ahead with a second airport despite opposition from Sydney Airport and the NSW government, the head of the federal Transport Department, Mike Mrdak, wrote to Sydney Airport Corporation's chairman, Max Moore-Wilton, on March 2 requesting talks about the formal consultation process required under the 2002 Sydney Airport Corporation share sale agreement.
The Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese, will within weeks seek cabinet's endorsement of a response to the joint federal-state study on the second airport, which found that unless governments acted quickly ''the chance to secure the future of aviation in the Sydney region may be lost altogether''.
Although state government co-operation will ultimately be essential for planning and environmental approvals and transport links, Mr Albanese is considering proceeding with a scoping study of the Wilton site, 80 kilometres from the CBD.
The report identified Wilton as the only viable site other than Badgerys Creek, which was bought 27 years ago by the Hawke government but has now been ruled out by both sides of politics.
Mr Moore-Wilton has nominated Sydney Airport's chief executive, Kerrie Mather, to conduct the talks.
Sydney Airport rejects the report's recommendation that immediate planning for a second airport is essential, saying it still has spare capacity which should be used before a huge investment in a second airport proceeds.
The Premier, Barry O'Farrell, has ruled out supporting a second airport anywhere in the Sydney basin. He favours using Canberra airport with a high-speed rail link - an option the study said was not viable.
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