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Qantas’ Joyce weighs in on Sydney airport debate

Qantas Airways CEO Alan Joyce and Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson say Sydney needs a second airport urgently, despite NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell’s opposition to the move.

Joyce says Sydney is an important air transport hub for Qantas and Australia.

“We have to have a second airport for the economic development of Sydney, NSW and Australia and we’re big supporters of that happening. We fully support (federal transport) Minister (Anthony) Albanese’s moves on this,” Joyce says.

Albanese has previously accused the Sydney Airports Corporation of protecting the company’s monopoly status by trying to halt moves towards a second airport in Sydney, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The Qantas chief’s comments come amid a fresh debate in a 30-year-old problem, as experts campaign for a second airport to take pressure off the Kingsford-Smith airport.

“All these things we’ve been talking about for a long time, we just need to get on and do it,” Joyce says.

Ferguson today called for urgent action.

“This is a national issue; it is not a state issue,” Ferguson said. “For too long it has been left on the table unresolved. If you don’t start now you won’t have the buffer to make a transition to another airport.”

The federal government favours a site at Wilton, but needs the NSW government's support before work can begin.

O'Farrell has suggested instead expanding Canberra's airport and building a high-speed rail link between Sydney and the national capital.

"We took to the last election campaign a view that we shouldn't dump aircraft noise in Sydney's west and Sydney's south-west," O’Farrell told Macquarie Radio this week.

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