Senate debates

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Questions without Notice

Western Sydney Airport

2:55 pm

Photo of Nigel ScullionNigel Scullion (NT, Country Liberal Party, Minister for Indigenous Affairs) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the senator for that question. I can say the Western Sydney Airport is an absolute game changer for the people of that region. It's another one of those nation-building, job-creating projects that has been in the too-hard basket for successive governments. But, because we brought the budget under control and because we're taking people off welfare on the taxpayer side of the ledger, with one million new jobs created, we can afford to make these investments—just a tip for you guys over there.

The Western Sydney Airport is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2026 with a 3.7 kilometre runway and a terminal with a capacity for 10 million passengers a year. It's not a small investment at $5.3 billion, but, importantly, it's expected to support 11,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction and over 27,000 jobs for Western Sydney after five years of operation—more jobs in Western Sydney and more money injected into the economy. Some two million people will be closer to Western Sydney Airport than to the current airport.

The new competition will be good for consumers and it will be good for airlines. The new airport will also create more options for international visitors, develop new tourism opportunities and create construction jobs and ongoing jobs. This is a $5.3 billion investment, and, indeed, all of our $75 billion transport and infrastructure investment will be at risk if the Labor-Greens alliance gets back into government and trashes the budget that could allow us to afford this sort of infrastructure investment and the creation of this many jobs. I know I don't have to remind the people of Western Sydney of that. They know that, the people along the inland rail know that and the communities benefitting from the northern Australian roads also know that.

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