RESIDENTS of western Sydney will have a chance to register their support or opposition to another airport after councils voted on Thursday night to run a consultation process.
The board of the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils agreed to run ''extensive consultation'' to gauge community attitudes on a Badgerys Creek airport if a rival proposal at Wilton was shown not to work.
WSROC's new openness to a Badgerys Creek airport is despite the fact it officially opposes this option and has done so since 1998.
But at its Thursday board meeting in Casula, councillors from Liverpool, Parramatta and the Hawkesbury spoke about the potential benefits of an airport in bringing jobs and economic activity.
Councillors from the Blue Mountains and Penrith opposed the resolution to consult the community, given the lack of information about the environmental and social impact of a Badgerys Creek airport, but they were defeated in a vote.
Business, community and political leaders trying to resurrect a proposal for an airport at Badgerys Creek are pursuing a sensitive strategy of promoting the site without letting it become an election issue, reflecting the poisonous politics of Sydney's airport history.
But it also means that a western Sydney airport might not be discussed in any detail during an election campaign tipped to be fought and won in Sydney's west.
The Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese, insists Sydney will soon need another airport. But he will not say if he will nominate a site for that airport before the election.