It has been proven to me, time and again, that when you orient a major infrastructure project around safety, everything else falls into place. On-time performance and a quality culture each begin with ensuring that safety is embedded deeply in the project.
I’m proud to say that this financial year, our total recordable injury frequency rate was 1.26, well below our benchmark of 5. In turn, the project remains on time for the airport’s scheduled opening in late 2026 and has performed strongly across a range of other important measures. While there is never an opportunity to relax vigilance when it comes to safety, particularly as we enter a more complex construction phase, I am proud of the commitment to safety that is present across the project.
We are building Sydney’s new airport. A digitally enabled place of connection with an experience activated by a deep understanding of our passenger, airline and air cargo customers. This financial year, we delivered 2 important proof points of this experience.
Firstly, the awarding of our baggage handling contract demonstrated our innovation focus. This modern, convenient and secure system, a first in Australia, represents the next generation in baggage handling. It will give passengers and airlines confidence that their luggage will arrive safely and reliably. Even at this early stage of Western Sydney International’s development, the value we will provide to our customers is becoming clear.
The second was the recent awarding of the terminal design and construction contract. Our design means that Western Sydney International’s passenger terminal will be Australia’s best. It will be an incredible environment, a place built on strong sustainability principles, filled with natural light and airflow, that will enable a fast, easy experience for our passengers. We have consulted with First Nations Australians throughout the design process to ensure that the terminal reflects a strong sense of place that is unmistakably Australian.
Put simply, people are going to love catching a plane from Western Sydney International’s passenger terminal and airlines will love its efficiency and reliability.
While we are building an airport for all of Sydney, we are proud that it calls Western Sydney home. Rich in cultural diversity, the Western Sydney community is made up of more than 200 ancestries. Many of its members are first-, second- or third-generation Australians who came to Australia wanting to work hard and seize the opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their families.
This is one of the reasons why Western Sydney Airport’s purpose of driving socio-economic uplift and prosperity resonates so strongly with the community. The airport will be a catalyst for incredible growth and transformation. Its direct and flow-on benefits will generate jobs and opportunities in Western Sydney and beyond. That is our purpose, one that the WSA team and I are strongly connected to.
This financial year the development of Western Sydney Airport’s commercial proposition took its place among the project’s highest priorities. We are focused on translating innovation and customer-centricity into an outstanding airport business that is strengthened by diverse revenue streams.
While Western Sydney International will first and foremost be an international and domestic passenger airport, air cargo will be an important part of our business. The opportunity for our future air cargo customers was revealed in May 2021, with a call for registrations of interest for our air cargo precinct. This once-in-a-generation chance to be a part of an air cargo community that will grow with global market demand to eventually become one of Australia’s largest, generated strong interest from across the world. We will work with our potential partners to understand their needs and ensure we develop a made-to-measure, modern facility that serves Australia’s growing air cargo needs for decades into the future.
We are building an airport for Western Sydney’s future, so maintaining a strong focus on our responsibilities to the environment and the community is fundamental. We are independently audited against the stringent environmental protection and sustainability standards that we must meet as we develop the airport, but we are also looking for opportunities to go further to ensure Western Sydney International fulfils its promise to future generations.
This year we have rolled out a number of environmental and sustainability initiatives, including diverting 3 million tonnes of crushed sandstone from the WestConnex tunnelling projects from landfill and using it on site as a base for internal roads, buildings and our future runway.
Our workforce targets are one of the ways we ensure that the socio-economic benefits of the airport begin now, well before the first aircraft lands. I am proud to say that the number of local, learning and diverse workers who are part of Team WSA means that we are comfortably exceeding each of these targets. This performance includes the number of Aboriginal people we have employed since the project began, which on average to the end of the financial year sits at 4% of our team, more than double the 2.4% target.
I would like to personally thank the many stakeholders who share our vision for Western Sydney and who have done so much to help us bring Western Sydney International to life: our shareholder ministers, the people in the many Commonwealth and NSW government departments who support the project, local council leaders and representatives from the community and business sectors, not to mention the many local communities in the region.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge what has been an extraordinary level of commitment from every member of Team WSA, including my colleagues on the executive leadership team. Our success this year is in large part due to your passion, talent and dedication to Western Sydney Airport’s purpose.
I am firmly focused on ensuring that the momentum continues to build as we move quickly towards the start of operations for Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport at the end of 2026.
Chief Executive Officer