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By Anjani Shyam
November 19, 2017
To say it was long overdue would be an understatement. In spite of being a city of over four million people, Sydney only had one international airport for decades. In April 2014, the Australian Federal Government announced the location of Sydney’s second airport in Western Sydney. The planned airport will be located in the suburb of Badgerys Creek, and is intended to be a 24 hour, curfew-free airport.
Construction on the project will begin next year, and has a plan completion date of 2026. Badgerys Creek airport will provide Sydneysiders in the ever-growing Western Sydney region easier access to airport services via road, rail, and bus connections.
Jobs, Jobs and More Jobs
According to economic strategists and advisers AlphaBeta, the second Sydney Airport is predicted to inject $22 billion into the Australian economy as well as create a massive 60,000 jobs for locals in the area.
AlphaBeta is just one party predicting significant economic benefits to come with the new development. Liverpool’s Mayor Wendy Waller has recently commented that the suburb in the south-west of Sydney can expect job opportunities from the Western Sydney Airport to take off long before the first planes start using the runway in 2026.
“We are very encouraged by the opportunities we can see developing for local residents to benefit from the construction and operation of the new airport,” said Mayor Waller in a statement. “Building the airport is going to cost $5.3 billion and will directly create 11,300 jobs. But that’s just the start of the opportunities.”
Real Estate in the West on the Up
With this new airport comes a lot of discussion about real estate in the area, as the region flourishes with construction job growth. Jobsite spoke to Peggy Willcox, a local realtor and founder of Mooney Real Estate, who predicts the large construction site will bring many new people to the area—all of whom need a place to live.
“The airport brings potential to for a third central business zone in New South Wales, in addition to Parramatta and the Sydney CBD. We have seen many ‘out of town’ investors flocking to Penrith due to the airport, and this isn’t limited to owner occupiers,” she says.
“We've had interest from local and international developers looking to subdivide land, and others who are looking to hold onto land ahead of potential further increases.”
Willcox says that some existing residents are less enamoured with the idea of a new airport.
“The residents that are opposed to the airport have definitely been loudest, in particular those in the Blue Mountains who fear for the environment and those directly under the flight paths in areas such as Orchard Hills and Twin Creeks.”
Connecting Sydney with the Rest of the World
Currently, those living in Sydney must rely on the existing airport in Mascot, sitting 12 kilometres south of Sydney’s CBD. For residents living in the West, the commute can take over two hours in peak hour traffic, both when driving and when taking public transport, with travellers often having to transfer between public transport services.
Whilst some local residents are concerned about the environmental costs associated with the project, Willcox states that plans for new amenities including the North West Metro line are being well-received by locals.
“I have heard more excitement around the new infrastructure, like the rail links and the Sydney Science Park, which I believe comes hand in hand with the airport,” Willcox says. “These new amenities and services simply wouldn’t be coming to the area if the airport wasn't on the horizon.”
With the current plans for Badgerys Creek to be an “overflow” airport, similar to Avalon Airport in Melbourne, there is significant opportunity for the Western Sydney Airport to take over from the existing airport. Despite the fact the new airport will only transition to a full-service airport when projected demand exceeds Sydney Airport’s capacity, the project is looking to provide Sydneysiders with easier access to travel.
It is clear that the new airport in Sydney has the potential to positively impact not only the thousands of residents in the area but also local retailers, transport bodies, and airlines. However, success is contingent on strong government leadership and support, modern and quick transport connections and thoughtful long-term planning for one of the state’s largest ever construction undertakings.
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