Construction for the new Western Sydney Airport in Badgerys Creek is officially underway, promising a fruitful future for Australian agriculture.
Set to open in 2026, the $5 billion airport will operate international, domestic and freight flights, creating a booming export economy and an agricultural hub.
“This is the biggest game changer, I think, for the city of Sydney since we built the Harbour Bridge – that’s how big a deal this is,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said as he turned the first sod in at the site in Badgerys Creek on Monday 24 September.
Breaking ground on construction for the new Western Sydney Airport. A long-awaited project in partnership with NSW Government.
Welcome to the future of Sydney. pic.twitter.com/GBJHsnuZaK
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) September 24, 2018
It is estimated that the project will create more than 11,000 jobs during the construction phase and 28,000 jobs within the five years of the airports opening in eight years time.
“This will be a piece of economic infrastructure that supports our economy, that supports all Australians from one end of the country to the other, Mr Morrison said.
What does this mean for agriculture?
The new agri-precinct will provide just-in-time supply chains and 27/7 airfreight facilities for international markets, particularly for China, and Southeast Asia.
Australian farmers will be able to provide fresh produce to international markets within 48 hours, providing a paddock to plate experience.
Previously many Australian farmers, particularly horticultural farmers, have been locked out of exports due to the perishable nature of their produce and the insufficient nature of the current agricultural supply chains.
According to NSW Farmers Association President James Jackson, the incidental benefit for farmers will be that competition will be created amongst buyers.
“This will whittle the market power of supermarkets, and increase the farmer’s bargaining powers. The benefit cannot be underestimated.
“It will allow farmers to take advantage of new opportunities, and reduce the time and freight costs associated with traditional agricultural supply chains,” Mr Jackson said.
The agri-precinct will provide farmers outside the Sydney basin and beyond to Central West NSW the opportunity to supply the bulk of what is exported from the airport.
New opportunities for Australian Agriculture
In light of the new airport and the potential economic drive it will bring to the area, the Shorton Labor Government this week committed $20 million to transform Western Sydney into a global food security powerhouse.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Joel Fitzgibbon said the $20 million would establish a new agri-technology research centre at Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury campus in Richmond.
“The centre will research new technologies to help Australian farmers in and around our cities get more of their great produce to market, and more quickly.
“It will also help shore up Australia’s own food security to make sure we have enough quality produce to feed our growing population,” he said.
NSW Farmers Association are adamant that an improvement of transport links to and from the Western Sydney Airport to cut down the transit times from producing regions are essential for the agri-precinct’s success..
“A freight journey between Orange and Western Sydney Airport, which is just over 200km, can take close to five hours, by contrast a 300km journey between Sydney and Canberra takes just over three hours. This is unacceptable,” Mr Jackson said.