Thank you very much Paul and I’m so thrilled to be here with you Gladys, and your ministers and your officials as we are gathered here together with the Commonwealth team; Paul himself of course, Angus Taylor, until recently Assistant Minister for Cities, Craig Kelly, the Member for Hughes. But a phenomenal team that Paul has acknowledged; Steven Kennedy, Clive Mathieson, so many others that have worked together with the eight local governments here to bring together this City Deal. We’re also joined of course by Marise Payne – the Defence Minister but also the Senator for Western Sydney as well – and I want to acknowledge the Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission of course, who has already been acknowledged, Lucy, but the Deputy Chief Commissioner Geoff Roberts who together with chief executive Sarah Hill, actually led the Greater Sydney Commission’s engagement on the City Deal, they’ve done an outstanding job. And so many others here today who have worked to bring this agreement together, well done. Thank you too, to Barney Glover and Western Sydney University for hosting us here this morning.
This City Deal is a historic change for the better for Western Sydney. For the first time, working together we are putting a plan and the infrastructure, in place first.
Isn’t that a good idea? Do the planning and the infrastructure and then do the development, makes sense doesn’t it? It hasn’t happened often enough. This is why this is such a big change.
Now, already home – as we’ve just seen - to diverse, vibrant communities rich in natural beauty, Western Sydney is undergoing enormous change; change that in the coming decades will continue to turn this region into an even greater economic powerhouse than it is today. At its heart of course, is the new Western Sydney Airport, which the Commonwealth is building. We’re building that airport, it’s going to be a catalyst for the 200,000 jobs that will be created in Western Sydney over the next 20 years.
But this agreement between all three levels of government, goes much further than that.
Together, we’ve committed to make Western Sydney one of the best places to live and work in Australia.
We want to help you build the Western Parkland City; a smart, connected and livable city.
A place where you will want to raise your children and that you won’t need to leave, to go to work or study every day.
This City Deal commits our governments to the development of a North-South Rail Link that initially at least, will connect St Mary’s in the north to the Airport and a new Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis in the south. This rail line will be truly city-shaping; linking communities, building new ones and connecting Western Sydney’s residents to the countless job opportunities that will flow from that investment.
Our joint aim is to have the rail line connected to the airport in time for its opening.
The NSW Government, as we’ve heard, is also promising a rapid bus service that will connect the new airport to the centres of Penrith, Campbelltown and Liverpool.
The Aerotropolis, just south of the Airport, will start on 114 hectares of Commonwealth land – thank you Defence Minister - that will form the nucleus of a world-class precinct of knowledge-intensive industry and learning. It will create tens of thousands of jobs in the aviation, aerospace and defence industries, jobs that will flow into other sectors such as education, agribusiness, health, hospitality and retail. We see the potential for a STEM-focused university, vocational facilities and high schools, all with links to smart industry, growing inside the Aerotropolis.
In the shorter-term we will develop a skills exchange at or near the Airport to teach workers the skills they need to build the Airport. There will be a particular focus on supporting indigenous workers and businesses.
Together with the regional councils, we’ll be investing up to $150 million in community facilities and amenities to improve the livability of Western Sydney and preserve the unique character of each community, from the Hawkesbury to the north, the Blue Mountains to the west and Wollondilly to the south. We all share the Greater Sydney Commission’s vision of the Western Parkland City, where quality of life is put at the centre of any development.
These City Deals represent a major reform of my Government, fundamentally changing the way the Commonwealth engages in urban development and infrastructure.
Too frequently in the past, federal, state and local governments have been like ships in the night; often going in the same directions; sometimes going in different directions, but not working together as they should, as our community, as our citizens, as our constituents expect us to.
The Commonwealth has been seen too often as little more than a passive ATM.
No longer. Under my Government the Commonwealth is working with all levels of governments and communities, as a partner.
We’re reaching agreement on the key objectives, then working together to make sure we direct all of our resources – and do so as innovatively as we can - to achieve the same outcomes.
We’ve signed City Deals in Townsville and Launceston, deals that are already delivering for those communities in terms of investment, jobs and livability.
Earlier this year, we started work on a City Deal for Hobart and we’ve signed a memorandum of understanding with the Victorian Government to develop City Deals in that state, starting with Geelong and surrounding districts.
That is only the start. We are actively involved in discussions with other state governments about future City Deals to realise greater opportunities in other communities.
I want to acknowledge the spirit in which the Western Sydney City Deal was negotiated between our three levels of government. I want to thank the NSW Government and local councils for their commitment to this vision for the region.
I know that we will look back on this deal in a decade’s time - when the airport is operating, when the Aerotropolis is educating and employing a new generation of Australians, when this is one of the most livable and connected communities in the nation - and we’ll recognise that today here in Werrington, we began a great endeavor; to ensure the prosperity, the livability and the sustainability of the Western Parkland City and its people for generations to come.