A mock-up of what Western Sydney Airport will look like upon completion (planned for 2026). (ABC News: Supplied)
The Federal Government says bulldozers will hit the Western Sydney Airport site by the end of the year, triggering the physical and symbolic start of Sydney’s long-awaited second airport site — however, lingering questions remain over flights paths and the community impact.
The Turnbull Government on Saturday announced engineering giant Bechtel, which is behind major airport upgrades in London, Dubai and Hong Kong, will oversee construction of the $5.3 billion airport.
It also announced Australian companies Lendlease and CPB have been awarded the early earthworks contract, with bulldozers set to be on site “before the end of the year”.
“The Western Sydney Airport is going ahead,” Federal Cities Minister Paul Fletcher said on Saturday.
“Of course there are a range of stringent environmental conditions that need to be met in constructing and operating the airport.
“We are working to communicate the benefits of the airport to locals and indeed to people around Australia [so] that people understand this project and what that’s going to mean for western Sydney.”
Early-stage earthworks for the project, which is scheduled to be finished by 2026, will see 1.8 million cubic metres of earth being moved.
The Federal Government claimed the initial earthworks would create 180 jobs, with 10,000 jobs created during the long-term construction period.
However, Western Sydney locals surrounding the airport site are still in the dark over specific flight paths.
Western Sydney MP and Labor’s employment services spokesman Ed Husic said residents in the area were interested in two things: would they benefit in a job and whether their home was going to be affected.
“The Government announced this back in 2014, they have been pumping out a steady flow of media releases talking up all the benefits and have refused to issue the flight paths,” he said.
“Now, I’ve heard about pubs with no beers, but airports with no planes?
“After four years we have no idea where these planes will fly, and no resident concept. How about we ease the flow on the media releases and start ramping up the flow on information for residents.”
Mr Fletcher said there were a number of community consultation forums planned so that people understand this project and what it means for western Sydney.