A $20 billion plan to transform Western Sydney into an economic powerhouse replete with an airport city, aerospace institute and North-South rail link was announced by Malcolm Turnbull, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and eight local council mayors on Sunday morning.
The “historic” partnership has been signed off by all three levels of government and involves a multi-billion-dollar plan to invest in infrastructure as the region’s population grows from two million to three million people by the early 2030s.
At the heart of the 20-year plan is the Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek, which will adjoin a fully-intergrated “aerotropolis” – creating a metropolitan centre that develops its own infrastructure, land use and economy.
The federal government has pledged a $5.3 billion investment in the Western Sydney Airport.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that the airport will be the catalyst for 200,00 new jobs for the region.
Under the plan the federal and NSW governments have committed to fund the $7 billion North-South rail link, from St Marys to Badgerys Creek via the new airport, 50-50.
Turnbull said that “the objective is to have the rail open and operating when the airport opens” in 2026, describing it as part of the government’s commitment to nation-building infrastructure.
The NSW and federal governments will jointly fund a $100-million business case to investigate possible station sites for the new rail link from St Marys to the airport site at Badgerys Creek, 50 kilometres west of Sydney’s CBD.
The Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis, part of which will include commonwealth land at North Bringelly, is a metro area adjacent to the western Sydney airport zoned for manufacturing, research, medical, education and commercial activities.
NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said the deal was a nationally significant announcement: "This is about putting western Sydney on the map globally. We open a new chapter here".
"When people stand in Parramatta, they won't be looking East for the best jobs, they'll be looking West for the best jobs.”NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian
The plan includes the introduction of smart digital technology, STEM-education facilities to train skilled workers for the airport city, rapid bus services linking Liverpool, Penrith and Campbelltown with the aerotropolis and an investment attraction office to attract investment.
The government also announced a new planning regime to cut development costs and boost housing supply.
Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue chairman Christopher Brown said that the north-south connection was a steel spine for the region.
“Badgerys Creek Airport represents a new era for the region and it is vital that our booming cities in the south-west and north-west are connected to it, from the outset. This is, after all, not Sydney’s second airport, but Western Sydney’s first airport,” he said.
Brown said that the north-south link, along with the West Metro, which connects Sydney to Parramatta, were the two most important transport projects for Western Sydney when it came to employment generation, improved liveability, housing affordability and reduced congestion.
In a joint statement Labor’s Shadow Infrastructure Spokesman, Anthony Albanese and state Labor Leader Luke Foley said: “Federal and State Labor have long argued for a Western Sydney Rail Link with a North-South line to boost productivity and improve the quality of life of residents of the region.”
Foley said a State Labor Government would deliver the rail link faster because it would not build the Northern Beaches Mega Tunnel nor waste $2.5 billion on stadiums.
“Our focus is Western Sydney,” Foley said.