Realtisan Weekly Review: Five New Bus Routes to Open for Western Sydney Airport, Ensuring Smooth Operation for the 24-Hour Hub

Weekly News

  • Five New Bus Routes to Open for Western Sydney Airport, Ensuring Smooth Operation for the 24-Hour Hub
  • RBA Keeps Cash Rate at 4.35% Following May Meeting
  • Federal Government Allocates Additional $90.6 Million AUD to Address Skilled Worker Shortage

Five New Bus Routes to Open for Western Sydney Airport,

Ensuring Smooth Operation for the 24-Hour Hub

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, five bus routes to the new Western Sydney Airport and the planned city of Bradfield in Bringelly will be in operation before the first plane takes off at the end of 2026. Travel time estimates indicate that a new bus route from Campbelltown via Bradfield to the Western Sydney Airport will take 66 minutes. In comparison, a train trip from Campbelltown to Sydney Airport in Mascot via the existing rail network currently takes only 45 minutes.

According to Transport for NSW’s plan, buses will run every 30 minutes from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the five new routes to ensure the 24-hour airport opens smoothly at the end of 2026. A journey from Liverpool via Leppington and Bradfield to Badgerys Creek Airport will take 55 minutes. Alternatively, a trip from Liverpool via the airport terminal to Bradfield will take 67 minutes, while a journey from Penrith or Mount Druitt via the airport to Bradfield will take 60 minutes.

David Borger, Executive Director of Business Western Sydney, emphasized the need for substantial additional investment in new infrastructure, such as dedicated T-way lanes and priority traffic signals for rapid buses. “We must strive to make this a public transport-centric airport, rather than one dominated by car traffic. A critical next step includes extending the new Western Sydney Airport metro line to Leppington and Glenfield, with future plans to extend it to Macarthur.”

Coalition transport spokesperson Natalie Ward pointed out that in September last year, the Labor government promised Western Sydney residents a rapid bus network, but it has turned out to be a “one-hour commute network.” She added, “Rapid bus services only work with priority lanes and supporting infrastructure. To deliver rapid buses, it needs the investment to back it up.”

The Minns government allocated $302.7 million AUD in last September’s state budget for regular services and rapid bus links to the new airport. However, this is only a fraction of Transport for NSW’s previous internal estimate of $1.6 billion AUD for the rapid bus project. The Albanese government also committed $100 million AUD this week for bus depots and charging infrastructure for rapid bus services to the new airport. As part of the five new routes plan, new bus interchanges will be built at the airport and Bradfield, making it easier for passengers to switch between buses and metro rail services.

Transport for NSW stated that the new airport and Bradfield services are a “first step” toward a rapid bus network. “We are planning more services for the airport precinct to support growth and travel demand in the years to come. These future services will include on-street bus priority measures, resulting in faster journeys.

RBA Keeps Cash Rate at 4.35% Following May Meeting

During its May board meeting on monetary policy, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced that it would keep the official cash rate steady at 4.35%, in line with the widespread expectations of financial markets and economists. This marks the fourth consecutive time the central bank has held rates unchanged since its 13th rate hike in November last year, providing mortgage borrowers relief from additional repayment pressures.

Before deciding to hold rates, the RBA board carefully assessed both domestic and international economic conditions, as well as progress in controlling inflation. Most analysts had anticipated that the RBA would maintain the rate at 4.35%. However, as inflation data strengthens both domestically and globally, economists are closely watching the future trajectory of interest rates. While most believe that Australia’s official interest rate has peaked, a few predict that the central bank may hike rates one final time this year to prevent inflation from staying above the target range.

Inflation is expected to worsen before improving this year. The latest forecast indicates that the overall inflation rate will rise to 3.8% in June 2023, up from the previous 3.3%. Inflation is expected to remain at this level through the second half of 2024, before falling to 3.2% by June 2025. By December 2025, it’s projected that inflation will return to the target range of 2% to 3%.

In its post-meeting statement, the RBA noted that the economic outlook remains uncertain and recent data suggests that the path to bringing inflation back to target is unlikely to be smooth. The board stated that the best interest rate path to return inflation to target within a reasonable timeframe remains uncertain and that no possibilities have been ruled out. However, in the short term, price pressures are expected to continue proving difficult to ease.

Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers welcomed the RBA’s decision to keep interest rates steady. He noted that rates have remained unchanged for the past seven months, providing stability for the economy and people’s lives during this challenging period.

As the RBA navigates economic uncertainty and inflationary pressures, it will continue to exercise caution in upcoming monetary policy meetings to ensure inflation returns to the target range within a reasonable timeframe.

Federal Government Allocates Additional $90.6 Million AUD to Address Skilled Worker Shortage

According to a report by News Corp Australia on May 7, the federal government will fund an additional 20,000 free TAFE places in next week’s budget to address the skilled labor shortage that has long plagued Australia’s construction industry. Labor will invest a total of $90.6 million AUD , providing an additional 15,000 free TAFE and VET places and 5,000 pre-apprenticeships to increase the number of skilled workers in the construction and housing sectors.

Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor said the new investment would help more people secure stable, well-paid jobs and strengthen Australia’s housing supply. He emphasized that this is a fantastic opportunity for people to gain a trade while also benefiting from government incentives, ultimately reducing cost-of-living pressures through more affordable housing.

The new 15,000 TAFE places will cover various roles in the housing and construction fields and will be allocated based on the skills most needed in each state and territory. The 5,000 pre-apprenticeships will train traditional tradespeople, crucial to the housing and construction sectors, such as carpenters, plumbers, and bricklayers.

The budget will also include $1.8 million AUD to simplify skills assessments for about 1,900 potential migrants from countries with equivalent qualifications to fill construction jobs, and prioritize skills assessments for around 2,600 applicants in target occupations through Trades Recognition Australia.

A report released last year by Infrastructure Australia indicated that the skills and labor shortage is worsening at the fastest rate and will continue until 2025. The most affected sectors include carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, and masonry.

In a recent report on the state of the housing system, the National Housing Supply and Affordability Council called Labor’s target of building 1.2 million new homes by 2029 “very ambitious” and predicted that only 943,000 new homes could be built in the next five years. The report cited factors such as immigration, interest rate hikes, skills shortages, construction company bankruptcies, rising costs, and weakened consumer confidence as reasons why the housing supply falls short of demand.

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