Speaking after federal cabinet approved the long-gestating plan at a meeting in Canberra, Mr Abbott said it would be “an airport for western Sydney”.
Mr Abbott said planning and design work will begin immediately and he expects construction to start by 2016.
“It’s a long overdue decision which to be honest has been shirked and squibbed by successive governments for far too long,” the prime minister told reporters.
Mr Abbott said the vast bulk of the $2.5 billion cost would come from the private sector.
Second airport likely to benefit the nation:
He insisted roads infrastructure would come first and the airport second.
Further announcements on roads funding will be made in “coming days”.
Transport Minister Warren Truss said the next stage would be to engage Southern Cross Airports Corporation, which runs Kingsford-Smith, who have the right of first refusal to build the new airport.
That would take 12 months.
Business groups welcome plan
A business lobby group has welcomed the federal government’s backing for a new airport in western Sydney, saying it would help generate thousands of jobs and make the area a more attractive destination for tourists and new migrants.
The government is expected to approve the construction of the airport at Badgery’s Creek, some 50 kilometres west of Sydney’s central business district, when cabinet meets today.
Critics say the new airport would generate too much noise for local residents with passenger planes departing the airport 24 hours per day.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Tourism and Transport Forum Ken Morrison believes the airport would be a huge boost for the country’s tourism industry and make Sydney a more popular city for new migrants.
“And also very importantly for visiting friends and family – it’s a major driver of visitation to Australia and of course, western Sydney’s diverse population means that there will be many friends and families who want to come to Australia, visit and also sample delights that we have here in this country.”
Opposition accuses government of betraying voters
Western Sydney Labor MP Ed Husic says many local residents are anxious about the construction of an airport which is expected to operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Mr Husic has told the ABC, he believes Mr Abbott is betraying the voters of western Sydney.
“Bearing in mind the Prime Minister said when he was in opposition, he had absolutely no plans for this airport,” he said.
“Clearly they misled the public going into the last election and now what we need to see is what impact this will have on the quality of life, what impact it will have on commuter disruption by road and rail and to see what the environmental impact will be. Before anything happens, the key thing will be a thorough environmental impact statement that will need to be done and community consultation occur.”
Badgerys Creek has for decades been named as a possible site for a second facility, taking pressure off Kingsford Smith Airport which is restricted by a curfew.