Photo: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
PAUL O’SULLIVAN, CHAIR WESTERN SYDNEY AIRPORT CORPORATION: There are lots of other groups here who made this morning happen. I won’t mention everybody, we could be here all morning, but I do want to call out in particular the staff and the board of the Western Sydney Airport Corporation who are here. I’d like to mention as well our colleagues in the Department of Infrastructure in Canberra, to also acknowledge the Greater Sydney Commission, who has been instrumental. The Forum for Western Sydney, several of the members are here today. Our partners in construction, and our delivery partners, and of course members of the community, several of you who are here.
Today, doubt and uncertainty ends. Construction begins on the new Western Sydney International Airport. It’s a momentous occasion, an historic occasion and one which we are very proud to be marking in the presence of our national leader. So with that, I’d like to pass over to the Prime Minister of Australia, the Honourable Scott Morrison, to mark this occasion with a few words.
PRIME MINISTER: Thank you very much Paul, and Uncle Gordon can I also acknowledge the Darug people, elders past and present. Can I also acknowledge my colleagues who are here today, particularly Stuart Ayers, the Minister for Western Sydney, an absolute champion of the west here in Sydney and I know this is a very special day for you mate and for all of the people of Western Sydney. Alan Tudge, the Minister for congestion-busting amongst many other things, but that includes these big projects.
How good is this? This is an exciting day. Welcome to the future of Sydney. That’s what we’re seeing here. Our Government is into big projects, and there are few projects bigger than this one. This is a project that will determine the future of this wonderful city that I have known all my life. When I look out on these hills, and I think back hundreds of years ago, and when other people look west and they look north and the look south and they saw the potential of this incredible city and they went out and they started creating it. And that’s what’s happening here.
Our Government has been committed to this since the day we were elected back in 2013 and before. My own involvement in this project goes back to pre-1996 when I was in the tourism industry and we knew the importance of this project for our national tourism industry. Not just our New South Wales tourism industry but our national tourism industry. This is nation-building infrastructure, of course it is. It’s economy building infrastructure. It’s job-creating infrastructure. It’s city-shaping infrastructure. This will be a significant boost to Australia. It will make Australia even stronger. It’ll keep our economy even stronger, which means that our economy will be able to support the essential services the people of Western Sydney rely on, the people of Sydney, the people of Australia rely on. 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. Some 27,000 jobs.
But building, as the NSW Government knows, to an aerotropolis that is supporting 200,000 jobs. The groundworks which we’ll see commence today – that engineering feat of its own will be significant, as these dozers really get to work in the months ahead. You’ll see that work taking place. So it is a tremendously exciting day. I’d like to pay tribute to those who have gone before Alan and I, particularly the former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Minister Paul Fletcher who did some very heavy lifting for the Commonwealth Government in this area and of course Tony Abbott before that and Warren Truss who had a big involvement in these projects.
We keep our promises as a Government and this has been a big promise. This isn’t the only nation-building infrastructure we’re engaged in. Snowy Hydro 2.0 of course, big energy infrastructure. But of course the Tulla Rail Link down in Melbourne. You know it was almost 50 years ago the last time we built a seriously big airport in this country? It was Tulla. Here we are out in Western Sydney today, kicking off the next one. It’s about time, I think as we’ve all felt about this. It’s about time and we’re very pleased to be here today to kick this off today.
I want to commend everyone who has been an advocate for it, everyone who has worked in it. I want to thank the local mayors and the local councils who have been so supportive of this project. I want to thank those who have been out there advocating in the media and winning the argument which said ‘this had to be done’. Now it is going to be done.
I think that’s something all Australians can feel very proud about.
So with those few words Paul, probably a few more than I’d planned but nonetheless, I’m going to hand back to you and I’m looking forward to giving the radio signal to get this going.
How good is this? How good is this?