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Leveraging industry opportunities from the Western Sydney Airport and Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis

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  • Infrastructure
  • Liveability
  • Productivity
  • Sustainability
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A city supported by infrastructureInfrastructure
A collaborative cityCollaboration
A city for peoplePeople
Housing the cityHousing
A city of great placesPlaces
A well connected cityConnected
Jobs and skills for the cityJobs
A city in its landscapeLandscape
An efficient cityEfficiency
A resilient cityResilience
Planning Priority W8

A Metropolis of Three Cities outlines a vision for the Western Parkland City that is a first in the history of planning for Greater Sydney. It is a vision that focuses west, with the development of the Western Sydney Airport and Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis as its economic catalyst. This requires planning that is both spatial, in terms of the locations where new jobs will be created and the way in which people and businesses make connections; and sector-specific, in terms of the existing and emerging industries that can be harnessed to bring about both economic and social benefits for Western City District residents. This Planning Priority focuses on the District's industry opportunities and locations and how best to leverage these to create a larger pool of jobs closer to where people live, therefore creating a liveable and sustainable Western Parkland City.

Leveraging off Western Sydney Airport and Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis is one of the principal objectives for delivering a metropolis of three cities, specifically their role in delivering more jobs and a diversity for jobs to the Western City District. This is critical in that jobs growth in the Western City District has not matched population growth over the last 10 years - jobs growth in the District has averaged 0.8 per cent annually, compared to 1.7 per cent annually for Greater Sydney. In addition, the education qualifications of the resident workforce are lower than the average for Greater Sydney, which impacts on the ability for locals to fill the District's skilled jobs.

Enhancing the transport connections to the Western Sydney Airport, Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis and Western Sydney Employment Area together with integrated land use, transport and infrastructure planning are fundamental requirements for delivering on this outcome. Success in this area requires coordination across all levels of government and the Greater Sydney Commission will lead on this on behalf of the Western Sydney City Deal to drive this collaboration.

Maximising the opportunities of the infrastructure investment and planning for the area will achieve initiatives that support the growth of key industry sectors and skills development. In particular, Western Sydney Airport will create opportunities to grow a number of existing sectors of the Western City District such as aerospace and defence, tourism, agriculture and freight and logistics.

The quality of Western Sydney Airport and Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis as places is also fundamental in maximising the employment outcomes for the Western City District. This also includes the design quality of the transport corridors that are developed across the District.

The RAAF Base Richmond will support Western Sydney Airport and associated activities. Camden Airport is also an important general aviation facility. A state-wide approach to implementing the National Airports Safeguarding Framework is being developed by NSW Department of Planning and Environment to improve amenity and safety for the future Western Sydney Airport and ongoing aviation at Camden Airport and the RAAF Base Richmond.

Western Sydney City Deal Commitments: Jobs for the future

A world-class Aerotropolis

  • Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis
  • Western Sydney Development Authority

Investment and industry attraction 

  • Western Sydney Investment Attraction Office
  • Investment Attraction Fund
  • Establish jobs in the region
  • High-value employment precincts
  • Surplus government land to drive jobs growth

Expanding agribusiness opportunities

  • Agribusiness precinct

Support Indigenous businesses to thrive 

  • Indigenous Business Hub
  • Indigenous small business and skills package

More job opportunities

  • Indigenous, social and local participation targets

Western Sydney Airport and Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis as economic catalysts

Western Sydney City Deal will drive the development of the core economic catalysts for the Western Parkland City.

The Western Sydney Airport will deliver up to 3,200 jobs during construction and around 9,00012 airport jobs during operation over the next 20 years. The Airport is expected to support around 28,000 jobs by 2031, which will grow to nearly 48,000 by 204113. This includes 5,600 direct and indirect jobs in manufacturing, 6,450 in retail and 5,600 in professional, scientific and technical services. This growth will create substantial employment opportunities for the workforce in the Western City District.

At full operation, the airport will create at least 60,000 jobs, as well as logistics, trade, aerospace and defence, advanced manufacturing and tourism. This agglomeration of knowledge jobs in the Western City District will be the anchor for developing the Western Economic Corridor.

The air transport sector is anticipated to benefit most from the future Western Sydney Airport. Global companies will be encouraged to locate to the Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis, bringing high quality engineering, robotics and agribusiness jobs.

The high-value and sustainable nature of economic activity from the aerospace and defence industries sector provides a strong foundation on which to build local communities and attract tertiary institutions. Given the inherent link to advanced technologies, the aerospace and defence industries also have the potential to support the local labour pool with a diverse mix of transferable skills that would be relevant to many industries.

Leveraging the benefits of north-south transport corridors

The opportunity for Western Sydney Airport to anchor and catalyse a Western Economic Corridor is created by the first stage in a North South Rail Link and potential extensions and the Outer Sydney Orbital, both of which are planned to have connections to Western Sydney Airport. These transport corridors would also connect the Western Economic Corridor to the existing economic activity of the Greater Penrith to Parramatta and Liverpool to Macarthur corridors.

To maximise the benefits of these opportunities a number of planning initiatives are underway which seek to integrate the land use, transport and infrastructure activity along the north-south transport corridors. These corridors include the:

  • North West Growth Area
  • Western Sydney Airport Growth Area
  • South West Growth Area
  • Greater Macarthur Growth Area
  • Wilton Growth Area.

In addition, a new Growth Area is to be investigated for the Greater Penrith to Eastern Creek Area (refer to Planning Priority W5).

Industry sectors and skills

A Metropolis of Three Cities highlights the importance and role of the NSW Government in leading the development and coordination of sectorspecific industry development strategies to grow and globally position key sectors of the economy.

These sectors are important in fostering innovation in the development of highly-skilled jobs which drive productivity and global competitiveness.

The strategies build on and leverage existing industry and government activities and plans, and focus on delivering high-impact practical initiatives to drive sector growth through industry, academia and government collaboration.

A Metropolis of Three Cities outlines the strategies to support industry sectors. They cover the areas of:

  • industry skills and capacity building
  • investment attraction
  • export growth and facilitation
  • industry showcasing and promotion
  • opportunities through government procurement
  • government and industry partnerships.

The NSW Government also has two initiatives, LaunchPad and Aerospace and Agriport precincts, targeted specifically to the Western Parkland City.

To support these strategies, Objective 24 of A Metropolis of Three Cities emphasises the need to work with internationally competitive trade sectors to identify the barriers to growth, including regulatory barriers.

This Planning Priority reinforces the need to:

  • support the growth of internationally competitive industry sectors
  • respond to changing technologies
  • plan for tourism and visitation activities
  • protect and support rural industries.

Aerospace and defence industries

The NSW Government, in partnership with the Australian Government, is leading the development of a world-class aerospace and defence industries precinct, adjacent to Western Sydney Airport. The ambition is to create approximately 7,500 jobs and over $15 billion of gross value add over the next 30 years.

This will build on existing aerospace and defence activities at RAAF Base Richmond, which is now the hub of logistics support for the Australian Defence Force. The RAAF Base Richmond precinct and existing defence facility, Western Sydney University Hawkesbury campus, TAFE NSW Richmond, and Hurlstone Agricultural College will complement business activities around the Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis. The District's Australian Defence Force facilities are an important source of jobs and the RAAF bases at Richmond and Glenbrook, Holsworthy Military Reserve and the Defence Establishment Orchard Hills should be protected by allowing only appropriate and complementary uses around them.

Visitor economy

Western Sydney Airport will create significant opportunities to grow the international and domestic tourism markets, and thus the District's visitor economy, by attracting visitors to the heart of the Western Parkland City. This will better connect visitors to attractions such as the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and historical and cultural assets in Camden, Wollondilly and Hawkesbury local government areas. Opportunities will include the attraction of accommodation development for overnight stays.

The increased activity will also create a need for new and/or upgrades to tourism infrastructure. Amenity enhancements are also an important part of tourism infrastructure - such as the quality of roadside landscaping, particularly on main roads leading to the airport and to major tourism destinations.

These opportunities build on the recognised strength of the District's visitor economy. Growing from 7.5 million visitors in 2006, the Western City District now hosts approximately 12.4 million visitors each year. Many visitors are attracted to the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. The domestic overnight visitor market and the international visitor market are higher yielding and provide economic flow-on benefits to services like accommodation, hospitality, entertainment and leisure.

Photograph of visitors at a three sisters lookout in the Blue Mountains.

Blue Mountains

Visitors to the District represent 33 per cent of Greater Sydney visitors, 20 per cent of Greater Sydney visitor nights, and 23 per cent of expenditure in the Sydney and Blue Mountains Tourism Region14. The largest visitor segment, domestic day trips, accounts for 74 per cent of all visitors, followed by domestic overnight (22 per cent) and international visitors (4 per cent).

Tourism is the third largest employment sector in the Blue Mountains Local Government Area, accounting for 11.8 per cent of jobs15.

Leisure, cultural, sporting, educational and natural and cultural assets include:

  • Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, which is recognised by Tourism Australia as one of the 16 significant national landscapes across Australia and other national parks
  • rural and agricultural landscapes
  • agri-tourism and food tourism
  • sporting venues and recreational assets including adventure tourism
  • recreational activities in the gorges, canyons, dams, rivers and water ways of Wollondilly and Hawkesbury local government areas
  • the Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan and the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt Tomah
  • multicultural attractions such as Canley Vale Road eat street and Cabramatta Moon Festival
  • historical towns of Richmond and Windsor and tourist villages like Leura, Wentworth Falls and Blackheath
  • arts and creative industry hubs of the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury local government areas
  • affordable tourist accommodation in Liverpool with good access to the rest of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Canberra.

The District's multicultural population supports a robust tourist market from visiting friends and relatives market and attracts international visitation.

Growing the visitor economy through targeted activities and the development of new cultural and visitor infrastructure will help drive increased visitor numbers and develop significant employment opportunities. Western Sydney Airport creates opportunities for the Western Parkland City to become an alternative to the Eastern Harbour City for international tourists with more affordable accommodation and attractions like the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, Aboriginal heritage, historic rural villages and scenic landscapes.

Alliances between councils and key industry stakeholders create opportunities to cross-promote events, develop and support a wider range of activities and, importantly, realise the opportunities as Western Sydney Airport and Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis develops.

As the visitor economy has broad benefits, a districtwide strategy is needed to consider improvements to transport, visitor experiences and to plan for tourism. This will include identifying tourist zones, sites and activities in land use plans. The Western Sydney Visitor Economy Strategy 2017/18 - 2020/21 sets out a cohesive approach to destination management and marketing through government, industry and commercial partnerships. The strategy outlines that government and industry will agree to a common Destination Management Plan focusing on the need to raise the profile and opportunities of the broader visitor economy with councils.

Agricultural processing and export

A Metropolis of Three Cities seeks to support and protect agricultural production and mineral resources. In the Western City District, the Metropolitan Rural Area includes agricultural activities such as the production of eggs and poultry, cut flowers, turf and mushroom farms. The Western Sydney University at Hawkesbury Campus provides tertiary education in medical and forensic science, animal science, natural science, sustainable agriculture and food security with world-class research facilities in grasses, pastures, legumes, insects and ecology. Sydney University at Cobbitty also provides courses in agriculture and veterinary science, and the Elizabeth Macarthur Agriculture Institute provides world-leading research that is improving Australia's agricultural competitiveness.

Agricultural industries provide produce, employment and tourism opportunities and require long-term certainty to enable investment and growth, especially as the Western Sydney Airport may provide new international markets. The Western Sydney Employment Area will develop agribusiness and will also provide opportunities to establish high value intensive agricultural industries and will enhance export capacity for NSW Primary Industries to new international markets. Local agribusiness opportunities for processing and export can be leveraged through stronger links to rural areas in the district.

The NSW Government is working towards developing a concept for a potential agribusiness precinct that would look to be located adjacent to the new Western Sydney Airport. This initiative would aim to enhance export capability for farmers in NSW, link agribusiness to new markets, establish capacity for high value intensive agricultural industries, develop facilities to manage biosecurity risk, strengthen agricultural research and education, and help create future jobs and skilled workers to support the precinct and the agricultural sector.

Mineral resources

The Western District contains State and regionally significant mineral and energy resources, including construction material resources providing raw materials for concrete, roads, house bricks and roofing tiles among other products are located throughout the District. Significant resources around Londonderry and the Hawkesbury River supply housing and infrastructure development in Sydney.

These resources have potential to drive regional economic development by generating employment and supporting infrastructure, housing, jobs creation and other development needed for a growing population. Land use planning can respond to the life cycle of the mineral resources by adopting a multiple or sequential approach to the location of compatible activities on or near mineral resources land. Land uses will need to be carefully considered to ensure a balanced approach to managing growth and development in this region, including economic, social and environmental considerations.

Western Sydney City Deal Commitments: Skills and education

Education and skills

  • TAFE Skills Exchange near Western Sydney Airport
  • Education Partnership

Advanced manufacturing

Accelerating high-value opportunities in advanced manufacturing, include developing a strategy to support advanced manufacturing and industry development. Existing clusters include aviation in Ingleburn and Richmond, electronics in Greater Penrith and automotive in Ingleburn. The NSW Department of Industry is also developing an Advanced Manufacturing Industry Development Strategy to maximise benefits.

Education and training

Objective 24 of A Metropolis of Three Cities outlines the range of education and training initiatives delivered by the NSW Government. A number of initiatives will directly address skills shortages which hinder economic growth and support the ability for residents to be engaged with the high level of infrastructure and development investment occurring in the Western City District. These initiatives include:

  • Training Services NSW is working with State agencies and principal contractors to embed the Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program targets in projects for Western Sydney, allocating $10 million over four years for project coordination.
  • The Refugee Employment Support Program supports refugees and asylum seekers moving into sustainable and skilled employment. The program will assist up to 4,250 refugees and 1,000 asylum seekers across Western Sydney, with $22 million over four years allocated to this program.
  • The Aboriginal Centre for Excellence is a $20 million investment in a cultural and skills hub for Indigenous youth in the Western Sydney region. As well as providing opportunities for strengthening individual and community resilience, this initiative will have a particular focus on ensuring that local Aboriginal people, particularly young people, are equipped to seize opportunities stemming from this region's growth. The facility will deliver programs and services that support Aboriginal young people making the transition from the school environment into further education and employment.

The Sydney Science Park in the Western Sydney Airport Growth Area at Luddenham will be a fully integrated community creating more than 12,000 knowledge based jobs, catering to over 10,000 students and home to over 10,000 residents. Research and education partners include Birling National Avian Laboratories Centre; the CSIRO's first dedicated Innovation Zone and 'Urban Living Lab' in NSW; and the NSW Government's first STEM-inspired (science, technology engineering and mathematics) school (Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta).

This metropolitan cluster's agglomerations of health and education assets will be essential to the District's emergence as a major city region, while growing knowledge-intensive jobs, building the District's education and skills and servicing the growing population. Complementing the emerging Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis, these centres will, in the long term, become a ring of university cities (refer to Planning Priority W9). TAFEs also play an important role in training for the diverse range of essential trades and service jobs that support the District.

Study NSW will collaborate with education institutions, industry and local government in Western Sydney on implementing programs that enhance the international student experience.

Adapting to changing technologies

Rapid technological changes and digital advancements are disrupting established business models and the workplace worldwide. These changes are dramatically changing the way people and goods move around, providing more efficient transport services. While technological changes can reduce demand for certain types of jobs, they also help to deliver innovation, new knowledge-intensive jobs and business opportunities. As governments continue to engage with industry, assess regulatory barriers and update governance and policies to capitalise on changes, strategic land use planning needs to respond by providing a regulatory environment which enables the economic opportunities created by changing technologies

Western Sydney City Deal Commitments: Connectivity

Digital connectivity and smart technology

  • Western Sydney Digital Action Plan
  • Smart Western City Program
  • 5G strategy
  • Openly available data sets



Protect and support agricultural production and mineral resources (in particular, construction materials) by preventing inappropriately dispersed urban activities in rural areas.

Councils and other planning authorities


Provide a regulatory environment that enables economic opportunities created by changing technologies.

Councils, other planning authorities and State agencies


Consider the barriers to the growth of internationally competitive trade sectors, including engaging with industry and assessing regulatory barriers.

Councils and other planning authorities


Create capacity for tourist accommodation in appropriate locations through local environmental plans.

Councils and other planning authorities


When preparing plans for tourism and visitation, consider:

a. encouraging the development of a range of well-designed and located facilities
b. enhancing the amenity, vibrancy and safety of centres and township precincts
c. supporting the development of places for artistic and cultural activities
d. improving public facilities and access
e. protecting heritage and biodiversity to enhance cultural and eco-tourism
f. supporting appropriate growth of the night-time economy
g. developing industry skills critical to growing the visitor economy

Councils and other planning authorities


Consider opportunities to implement place-based initiatives to attract more visitors, improve visitor experiences and ensure connections to transport at key tourist attractions.

Councils and other planning authorities


Consider opportunities to enhance the tourist and visitor economy in the District, including a coordinated approach to tourism activities, events and accommodation.

Councils, other planning authorities and State agencies