Australia's deputy prime minister says that construction of a second Sydney airport could start within three years if the Labor government wins another term in office at the October election.
Speaking to reporters in Sydney, Anthony Albanese, who is also transport minister, says that while a site has not been selected yet, he "would like to see it commence in the next term, over the next three years".
"We know it takes a substantial period of time to get it up and running, but we know that Sydney airport is already congested to the point whereby it is a handbrake on national productivity," he adds.
Albanese went on to say that while he is seeking to take a bipartisan approach to building the new airport, if the current government was retained, it would make a decision on the preferred site in the first year of its new term.
A recent study by the department of transport and infrastructure into building at the government's preferred site at Wilton raised a number of environmental and safety concerns. A geotechnical analysis of the site is now being conducted.
As a result, the government is now mulling building the new airport at Badgery's Creek, which many studies have found would be more suitable.
The Wilton study also predicts that all of Sydney's peak-hour slots will be fully allocated by 2015, and that demand across all operating hours of the airport will be not be met beyond 2033.
In 2012, Sydney airport handled a record 36.9 million passengers, an increase of 3.6% year on year.