For half a century Sydneysiders have talked about a second airport. Today, I’m turning the first sod on it.
By tomorrow, the bulldozers will be moving and work on the Western Sydney Airport will be under way.
The Western Sydney Airport will remove the handbrake from the Western Sydney economy. An airport is a gateway to the world, not just for people but for job-producing freight as well. Along with the airport, the people of Western Sydney will see billions in road and rail projects to make the airport accessible to everyone.
The Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan will invest over $3.6 billion in upgrades to major and local roads with the centrepiece being the M12 Motorway, which will link the airport with the existing motorway network.
This is job-generating infrastructure. Most times when infrastructure is built, there is job creation in the short-term and then it tails off when the project is completed. But with this project, job creation will accelerate when the airport is completed.
The construction phase will support 11,000 jobs. The first stage of construction will see 1.8 million cubic metres of earth moved and these initial earthworks are expected to be concluded next year, making way for bulk earthworks.
Once the airport is operational in 2026, jobs will continue to grow. Five years after opening, we can expect 13,000 direct, on-airport jobs and over 14,000 more flow-on jobs in nearby businesses like hotels, logistic centres and transport companies.
At the moment, 30 per cent of workers who live in Western Sydney work elsewhere. By offering more local jobs, this new "aerotropolis" will reduce the daily commute east and in so doing, cut commute and congestion times.
The government wants the airport to create "local jobs for locals" and that’s why we have a local employment target of 30 per cent for construction and 50 per cent once the airport is operational.
We’ve got the planning right with this project, because we’ve taken the time to work with state and local governments.
The Western Sydney City Deal is ensuring that all levels of government are working together. That deal is a 20-year agreement that will make the region around the airport a better place to live with more infrastructure, better local services and more local jobs.
We are building a jobs-generating airport city and it is already attracting industry investment.
The trajectory for investment is strong. We are already seeing private sector investments by Sydney Science Park, Mirvac, William Inglis, Toll Holdings, Amazon and Northrop Grumman in the surrounding areas.
Through our massive on-the-ground investments we are setting the aerotropolis up to be a hub for innovation that will include defence and aerospace, freight and logistics, agribusiness, pharmaceutical and biotech industries.
This is also a vital project for the NSW and Australian economy. The existing airport at Kingsford Smith is constrained. You only have to be caught in traffic at Mascot to understand that.
The surrounding approaches to the airport are densely populated, which means there are limits on the airport. That means that capacity at the airport can’t grow enough to meet the needs of the city and the state.
And if an airport is constrained, that means exports are constrained, tourism is constrained and potential jobs and investment is lost.
Today’s "sod turning" is another landmark on our journey to delivering for Sydney a new airport by 2026.
The new Western Sydney Airport is good news for Western Sydney — Australia’s third-largest economy — and good news for Sydney and NSW because we are removing a major constraint on economic growth.