Prime Minister Scott Morrison has kicked off construction on Sydney's second airport, breaking ground at Badgerys Creek.
Morrison gave the signal for earthmovers to roll into position and begin the mammoth task of preparing the site for eventual runway and terminal construction.
A joint venture between Lendlease and CPB Contractors will be in charge earthworks of the $5.3 billion project.
Phase one is expected to take one year, with 1.8 million cubic metres of earth to be moved.
Major earthworks, shifting a further 22 million cubic metres of earth as well as the creation of roads and terminals are scheduled to begin at the end of next year.
The airport will be at the centre of the Aerotropolis – a business precinct which will bring a further 200,000 jobs to Sydney's west.
“The Western Sydney Airport will remove the handbrake from the Western Sydney economy,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
“An airport is a gateway to the world, not just for people but for job-producing freight as well.”
“This will be a piece of economic infrastructure that supports our economy, that supports all Australians from one end of the country to the other.”
The massive construction project will be the first major airport built in Australia since Melbourne's Tullamarine airport in 1970.
“Building Western Sydney Airport is one of the biggest earthmoving challenges in Australian history,” Western Sydney Airport chief executive Graham Millett said.
“The site is very challenging, the difference between the highest and lowest points is the equivalent of a 12-storey building.”
The federal government has also pledged $3.6 billion towards upgrades to local roads and highways, in particular the M12, to connect the Western Sydney Airport to the motorway network and CBD.
Western Sydney Airport is expected to support 11,000 jobs during the construction phase and 28,000 jobs in the first five years of operation.
Airlines Virgin and Qantas have already committed to the new airport, with initial plans for premium domestic services operating from day one in 2026.