Western Sydney is in the midst of the largest infrastructure and investment boom in its history. With Commonwealth and NSW Government investment of more than $11 billion in road, rail and utilities already underway, the future of Australia’s third largest economy and one of the fastest growing regions is indeed bright.
In March this year, the Prime Minister, the Hon. Scott Morrison MP, announced Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport as the official name of Australia’s first new international airport in more than 50 years. Honouring one of Australia’s greatest aviators and pioneers, the parallels between Nancy’s journey to create new frontiers of aviation in Australia and our own mission to uplift Western Sydney’s economy and forge new frontiers in technology and innovation are clear.
The past year saw a concerted focus on establishing the strategy and systems to support the safe construction of Western Sydney International. We focused on embedding a safety governance and assurance framework capable of supporting the construction phase of the project, as well as progressively accommodating aviation safety requirements ahead of operational readiness. In line with this approach, WSA’s Safety Management System (SMS) was implemented in alignment with the requirements of ISO45001, while WSA’s safety audit program was prioritised around high-risk construction activities undertaken on-site by Principal Contractors. These key safety activities were executed with the support of WSA’s Delivery Partner, Bechtel, and provide the basis for our continued workplace health and safety (WHS) focus in the next financial year
Having commenced early earthworks on six per cent of the Airport site in 2018, we are now focused on the commencement of bulk earthworks, which will see activity expand significantly as the project becomes one of the largest earthmoving projects in the nation’s history. It is incredible to see the Airport site transforming every week, and in June we reached the significant milestone of moving one million cubic metres of earth on the site.
The near completion of our Experience Centre and site office in September are also key milestones. We launched the international design competition for the terminal building, and signed MoUs with Qantas and Virgin Australia and a number of high profile international freight and logistics companies. It is encouraging that even at this early stage, Australia’s biggest airlines recognise the potential and significance of Western Sydney International.
We are of course grateful to the traditional owners of the land who continue to play a significant role in the design and development of the Airport through our close engagement and development of our Aboriginal Engagement Masterplan. Our community and industry engagement programs have also ramped up. We participated in more than 150 local community events and meetings and launched our local school safety program in May 2019. In partnership with Liverpool City Council, we launched the Minecraft Airport Design Competition. These are just a handful of activities over the year.
Our work with the community is of paramount importance to us and we are committed to being responsible and conscientious neighbours. As we move to our second year of construction activity, I would like to extend my gratitude for the ongoing support of local residents and businesses with whom we interact on a daily basis. I express my thanks also to our team for the tremendous work they are doing both on-site and in the community to minimise the impacts of site activity and to keep our community informed and engaged with us.
It is pleasing to see the collaboration between our team and the many people from across government and the private sector who are involved in delivering the Airport. Importantly, we have a shared determination and passion to deliver the Airport with the safety of our workers, the community and the environment front and centre of every decision and action we take.
Across the organisation, so many of our people are themselves long-term local Western Sydney residents. We are all passionate about providing a meaningful legacy and that begins with delivering jobs and opportunities to the region as we work together to build Western Sydney International.
Chief Executive Officer