Earlier this year we wrote a piece on the Western Sydney Airport Project and it’s benefits for the community, including job growth and the positive impact this would have on Western Sydney. In recent weeks however, the Project has come under fire as it’s been revealed that there have been no Western Sydney residents employed to work on the Airport.
The Job Growth Projections
In early August, the government-owned company, Western Sydney Airport Co Limited, was established to work on the design and construction of the new airport in Badgerys Creek, which is expected to generate 13,000 direct and 7,000 indirect jobs by 2031. With unemployment rates in southwest Sydney at a high 6.6%, compared to the state’s 4.8%, job creation is a major priority for local councils. However, as Labor’s Ed Husic pointed out earlier this month, “So far all of the key decision-making jobs associated with this project have not gone to a single Western Sydney resident”. Economic growth and improved job opportunities have been the leading selling points for establishing the Airport in the West, so the lack of Western Sydney hirees is causing understandable concern among locals.
Following this criticism, the Government announced that the business will be based in Liverpool and intends to open the Scott Street site by the end of the year. Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher unveiled the move in a speech in Parramatta early last week, describing it as a “vote of confidence in Liverpool”, with hundreds of people expected to work at the site. Mr. Fletcher went on to say that the company needed to be based close to the new airport to take advantage of Western Sydney’s top talent and local businesses and institutions, such as the University of Wollongong’s new Liverpool campus.
The Rail Line
In addition to job placement concerns, many are also worried that there is still no funded rail line. One of the key points in the Airport’s proposal was the rail line that would secure its position as an economic centre. Placed on the outskirts of Badgerys Creek, the Airport requires a reliable and timely mode of transport to ensure it becomes the centralised business precinct intended. Due to open in 2026, the Project is going ahead without any funding for the crucial rail line that would connect future passengers in Western Sydney with the Airport and its surrounding hub.
The Good News
Despite this, global companies are beginning to take an interest in the Project, including US defence industry giant Northrop Grumman, which announced plans in May to invest $50 million in the area. Additionally, the Government’s announcement to station the head office in Liverpool bodes well for the future job market for Western Sydneysiders, provided employers begin taking advantage of the local talent pool.