Defence key to ‘once in a generation’ opportunity for western Sydney

The first artist's impression of Badgerys Creek airport.

Aerospace and defence businesses are being encouraged to invest in what has been dubbed the NSW ‘Aerotropolis’ as federal, state and local governments agree to spend $20 billion on the 10,000-hectare greenfield site around Badgerys Creek airport.

The Western Sydney Aerotropolis will seek to create tens of thousands of jobs and emulate the success of transportation hubs Incheon in South Korea, Schiphol in the Netherlands and Dallas-Fort Worth in the US.

Speaking to the delegates at the inaugural Aerotropolis Investor Forum in western Sydney, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the defence and advanced manufacturing industries will drive the jobs growth in the new city.

"We see a world-class precinct of knowledge-intensive industry and of learning; a flourishing economic centre spread across 10,000 hectares," the Prime Minister said.

"We see a city that will create tens of thousands of jobs in the aviation, aerospace, defence and advanced manufacturing industries. Jobs will flow into other sectors, including education, agribusiness, health, hospitality, logistics and retail."

Already, nearly $20 billion has been committed for transport, health and education infrastructure across the region, with the federal government investing $5.3 billion to build the Western Sydney Airport set to open in 2026. 

The federal and NSW governments are also investing $3.6 billion in the roads that will support the airport, the Aerotropolis and the communities around them. 

Northrop Grumman is one of the first defence primes to invest in the area, with the company announcing last year it will be the first anchor tenant in a new high-tech defence and aerospace precinct at the new airport.

Northrops $50 million Electronic Sustainment Centre of Excellence will form an Australian capability to support electronic warfare equipment and advanced electronics.

The defence giant said the centre is part of its commitment to double its workforce in Australia to 1,000.

It will also maintain and service aircraft and systems, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the highly-advanced­ reconnaissance drone, the MQ-4C Triton.

Northrop Grumman international president Dave Perry welcomed the government’s investment.

“The governments strong commitment to grow the defence industry in Australia gave us the confidence to make this significant investment in western Sydney,” he said.

CEO Ian Irving told the Defence Connect Podcast that Badgerys Creek's university, defence industry and workforce proximity appealed to the company when deciding to invest $50 million into an electronics maintenance and sustainment centre in NSW.

"It really makes sense for us ... we've got this $50 million investment in electronics repair capability we wanted that to be in location that made sense from a supply chain point of view, from the point of view of having great workforce availability, university proximity and that new defence industry precinct, the university precinct out there at Badgerys Creek that's being developed, it just seems perfect for us to be able to do that, so we stepped up and said we would be a foundation tenant at that location," Irving said.



Defence key to ‘once in a generation’ opportunity for western Sydney
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