Ground has been broken on Australia’s Western Sydney airport, which is expected to strengthen the economy, create infrastructure and boost jobs in the region.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the Western Sydney Airport will provide a gateway to the world, not just for people but for freight as well.

He said: “For half a century Sydneysiders have talked about a second airport. By tomorrow, bulldozers will be moving and work on the Western Sydney Airport will be underway.

“This airport will remove the handbrake from the Western Sydney economy.

 “This is job generating infrastructure. Most times when infrastructure is built, there is job creation in the short-term and then it tails off when the project is completed. But with this project, job creation will accelerate when the airport is completed.”

The prime minister said that the government had secured all approvals over the last four years and congratulated Western Sydney Airport Company, which it established to make the airport at Badgerys Creek a reality.

According to the minister for Finance and the Public Service, Mathias Cormann, the government’s investment of up to A$5.3bn ($3.8bn) in equity in Western Sydney Airport will have long-term economic returns.

Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population, Alan Tudge, said that the project is not just about building an airport, but to create a prosperous and sustainable future for the people of Western Sydney by bringing jobs, education, industry and innovation together.

The Western Sydney Airport will serve up to ten million passengers and with a later expansion to two runways, it will cater for up to 82 million passengers, similar to London Heathrow and JFK in New York.

Initial earthworks are expected to be completed by the end of 2019 and Western Sydney Airport has invited expressions of interest for the first of three major earthworks and airside civil works packages, which is expected to be awarded in mid-2019.

The initial earthworks phase will involve shifting 1.8 million m³ of earth to level the site.

 Major earthworks are expected to commence in 2019 and will involve moving 22 million m³ of spoil on the site.
 Around 30% local workforce will be employed during construction and 50% local workforce when fully operational.

The government has set a target of 10% diversity, including 2.4% indigenous workforce; and 20% learning workforce including apprentices, graduates and trainees.