Western Sydney Airport to Deliver Jobs and Infrastructure

Media Release

WT056/2014

15 April 2014

Joint release with:

The Hon. Tony Abbott MP

Prime Minister

The Government has confirmed that the site for Western Sydney's new airport will be Badgerys Creek.

For more than 50 years governments have talked about a second airport for Sydney. 

The talk is over. The final decision has been made.

This airport will be good for economic growth and good for jobs—both in Western Sydney and nationally.

Airports are unique in that they employ more people in operation than construction—so these are long term jobs for the future.

While the initial construction phase is expected to generate around 4,000 jobs, the airport development is expected to create 35,000 jobs by 2035, increasing to 60,000 jobs over time.

By 2060, the new airport has the potential to drive an increase in Australian gross domestic product (GDP) of almost $24 billion.

Although the Western Sydney airport will not be fully operational for a decade, planning for the new airport will start immediately and construction should start in 2016.

It is envisaged that most of the cost of the airport will be met by a private sector operator.

Without a new airport, we run the risk of the existing Kingsford-Smith Airport reaching capacity. Sydney's airport is the gateway to Australia's largest city and accounts for 40 per cent of international arrivals and 50 per cent of international air freight each year. If no action is taken on a second airport, Australia would lose out on 80,000 additional jobs and $34 billion in economic activity by 2060.

Today's decision recognises the growth of Western Sydney. Over the next 20 years, the region's population is expected to grow from two million to three million people. 

Western Sydney is already Australia's third largest economy and, in its own right, would be our fourth largest city.

A dedicated Western Sydney airport will service local aviation needs and be a much-needed relief valve for Sydney Airport. It will be a major catalyst for investment, jobs growth and tourism in the region for decades to come.

This is a major long-term infrastructure project.

Realistically, a new airport will see its first flight in the mid-2020s, so we are moving ahead. It is critical that we act now to finalise the necessary planning, including critical road network upgrades.

Because of the time it takes to plan and build an airport, the Government's approach will be roads first; airport second. The additional roads will be ready long before the airport is fully operational.

In coming days, the Government will, together with the NSW Government, announce the details of a major Western Sydney infrastructure package to deliver long overdue investment in the region's roads.

Building road and rail infrastructure to support Badgerys Creek will not just benefit airport users, but residents throughout Western Sydney.

The Government recognises the need for genuine consultation on this important issue. We have a responsibility to engage with the community to ensure that local voices are heard.

The Government is also aware of its obligations to offer the owner of Kingsford-Smith Airport the right of first refusal in relation to an airport at Badgerys Creek.

The Deputy Prime Minister has, therefore, written to Mr Max Moore-Wilton AC, Chairman of Southern Cross Airports Corporation Pty Limited, to advise him of the Government's decision and to commence formal consultation in due course.

In opposition, the Coalition committed to make an early decision on Sydney's future airport needs. That's exactly what we've done.

The new airport in Western Sydney with supporting roads and transport infrastructure will make life easier in Sydney and make the economy stronger.