Airport could create 60,000 jobs

Hope that an airport at Badgerys Creek could provide more jobs and a bigger share of tourist dollars for western Sydney are sky high.

"Airports are one of the only pieces of transport infrastructure that generate more jobs in operation than during construction," a Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development spokesman said.

"These range from aircraft maintenance engineers, airline staff and baggage handlers to customer service, retail and logistics staff.

"There will be a large number of good trade jobs with the construction phase [and] an ongoing need for tradespeople to keep the airport running."

Analysis by the department in 2013 found that if a full-scale airport was built at Badgerys Creek, jobs could increase, with population growth, to more than 60,000.

The spokesman said passenger volume and businesses moving their operations close to the airport site would influence the number of jobs on offer, though many would be filled by locals.

Hills, Hawkesbury and Riverlands Tourism chief executive Lori Modde said an airport at Badgerys Creek could be the impetus tourism marketing bodies needed to help western Sydney operators increase visitor spending.

The organisation's 2013 destination management plan estimates that for every $72,000 spent on tourism in the area, one full-time job is created.

"Our operators can't apply for Destination NSW grants as they are not 'regional' according to their criteria and yet the opportunities on offer with Sydney marketing do not suit the target audiences for greater Sydney destinations," she said.

"Maybe it's going to take the second airport [to change that]."

Penrith Valley Chamber of Commerce president Peter McGhee said western Sydney could not afford for its growing job deficit to continue.

"There needs to be a 'game changer' that will provide the impetus for local job growth," he said. "The airport has the ability to do this."

Employment profiles on The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils' website show that while 93 per cent of people in greater western Sydney are in full or part-time employment, about 60,000 are unemployed.

Senior vice-president Tiffany Tree said the organisation wanted to be part of the negotiations that would see improved infrastructure and more employment.

"While we anticipate the airport will provide great social and economic benefits for the western Sydney region, we are yet to see any details from the federal government outlining the scale of the project," she said.

This story Airport could create 60,000 jobs first appeared on Parramatta Sun.


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