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Major works contract for Western Sydney Airport to be awarded in 2019

written by Gerard Frawley | August 7, 2017

Western Sydney will feature a single 3,700 metre runway.

A major works contract for the Western Sydney Airport will be awarded in 2019, according to WSA Co, the new government-owned corporation tasked with building Sydney’s long-awaited second airport.

The new WSA Co website reveals that the new airport will be built via a single package of works contract, covering design and construction, expected to be awarded in 2019.

“At a minimum, the main airport works for the Stage 1 development will include: earthworks to move and redistribute 22 million cubic metres of soil on the Badgerys Creek site; a 3.7-kilometre runway, aprons, taxiways and other appropriate aviation facilities; a multi-level terminal with a floor area of up to 90,000 square metres; drainage and utilities; car-parking facilities for around 11,500 cars; and on-site roads,” the website details.

The contract will be awarded after an expected two-stage process comprising an expression of interest from which shortlisted companies will then be issued with a request for proposals.

WSA Co’s formation was announced jointly  on August 7 by Minister for Urban of Infrastructure Paul Fletcher and Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann, with the government appointing four directors to the WSA Co board, led by chair Paul O’Sullivan.


“Mr O’Sullivan’s business leadership expertise makes him highly credentialed to lead the company delivering Western Sydney Airport,” the Ministers’ statement reads.

“His deep experience leading an infrastructure business as it established market share against a long established incumbent will be of great value as Western Sydney Airport is planned and constructed before commencing operations by 2026.”

The former Optus chief executive is joined on the WSA Co board by former Qantas chief information officer Fiona Balfour, Ernst & Young veteran Tim Eddy, and civil engineer and aviation infrastructure and airports expert (and current Auckland Airport board member) Christine Spring.

“The board’s early priorities will be to recruit its CEO and senior management and to commence procurement of construction activities,” the statement reads.

“To complement the experience of the directors announced today, the Government expects to appoint further directors in coming months, with a further focus on construction expertise and experience in Western Sydney.”

Creation of WSA Co was flagged in this year’s federal budget, which showed initial funding for the new corporation would be $2.3 million split across the Department of Finance ($1.7 million) and Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development ($600,000) in 2017-18.

But over the next 10 years the government plans to inject up to $5.3 billion in equity into WSA Co to build the new airport.

Just days ahead of the budget the federal the government announced it had opted to go it alone in building Sydney’s long-awaited second airport at Badgerys Creek after Sydney Airport Corporation, which operates Sydney’s Kingsford Smith airport, chose not take up its right of first refusal to build and operate the proposed new airport.

The new airport is expected to begin receiving its first passengers in 2026 and initially will be capable of handling up to 10 million passengers annually.

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Comments (30)

  • Tim


    Contracts in 2019 and open in 2026. Wagners could have it open by Christmas 2019!

  • Ken Weeks


    Just give it to Wagners so we can get on with an operating airport at the cheapest cost – ASAP.

  • deano



  • J butler


    And who will this dopey lot seek it to when it’s finished??

    The taxpayers will build it and the Government will sell it!! The money wil be spent in some looney toons project, never to be seen again.

    Sound familiar?? It should..

  • Lechuga


    Taking their time aren’t they? I thought Sydneys airport issues were a problem now not in 10 years. By then Melbourne, Brisbane and even Canberra will be taking the load off of Sydney.

  • mike9


    did anyone actually read the idea about a board for a non-existent airport ?, more directors to be appointed, and then they will look at a construction contract. Do we really pay for these clowns? well apparently we will for the next 9 or 10 years.

  • Peter


    Exactly. Give it to Wagners.

  • Marc


    Wagners = Completed yesterday

  • JR


    Is that it..????!!! Surely that’s not what the Sydney West Airport looks like?
    All this fuss over something that looks like a tiny regional airport? Looks exactly like Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport! And that was built in no time with no fuss!

  • Gary


    JR – that is the first stage only. However give the job to the Wagners to build the complete project!

  • Stiven


    Why do we need a board of directors ? WSA ? More overpaid fatcats ! We already have a minister for infrastructure. We have a minister for finance. And we have a treasurer signing cheques of taxpayer dollars.

  • Scott


    Let’s stop delaying the process, ‘Wagners will turn the dirt the quickest’ let’s get them moving.

  • G4george


    Wagners wont get the contract…..this airport is all about creating jobs….many jobs over a long period, the most expensive tender will win it and it will take years to construct along with the inevitable union troubles that come with the deal.

  • ben lang


    wagner=last year it would have been done years ago if they had the right people in charge

  • Lechuga


    It literally looks like Avalon does now.

  • Patrick Kilby


    We all seem to be enamoured with Wagners. They had to face nothing like the earthmoving task and build next to a river and the environmental approvals required for that. The terminal most of you think is tiny has in fact 16 aerobridges, and is over two levels, much the same size as Adelaide and bigger than Canberra which was several hundred million. As to establishing a company to do it makes an eminent amount of sense. You capitalise it, it builds the airport on a low debt basis then you sell a functioning company. That is actually how it is done and how any private sector bidder would have done it. The Wagners may in fact win the construction contract next year when approvals are granted. But then again contrary to popular opinion they have never built anything on this scale. Wellcamp is tiny by comparison.

  • Rodney Marinkovic


    Just believe to government, will geave contracts to company with best references, most effective and efficient. Including most comparative price.
    Western Sydney Airports, as huge project will be done in two or three stages. WSA will be modern struture for twenty first Century. Obviously with full transparency. Lucky western areas. For employment, rising prices to properties. Badgery’s Creek is biggest project in Sydney, after Olipic Park project, sam twenty years ago.
    WSA is flagship project in aviation facility in next fifty years in this lovely country. So great!!!.??✈??????????
    Rodney Marinkovic and Aviation Enthusiasts
    Kings Park 2148 NSW

  • Teddy


    @Patrick Kilby

    You might be right, but the only company with recent holistic experience in this field in Australia is Wagners. They are the only company that has done anything approaching this scale. If anyone has an appreciation of scope and management it is more than likely to be them. Up-scaling the experiences of Wellcamp is better than starting with a blank sheet and a blank cheque.


    You are correct in saying this project is about jobs as much as anything else. What a shame our governments however are happy to get 1 overpriced project completed over a long time scale, whilst effectively wasting an opportunity to get 2 or more projects for the same money. If the government ignores a quote for $3 billion in order to accept a quote for $6 billion (just because it pours more money into an area for a longer period), then the public has every right to be bloody angry. The extra $3 billion could just as easily be spent on another major project/s generating other jobs. Overlooking an opportunity to get 2 or more pieces of infrastructure and instead settling on 1 is nothing short of criminal (or should I say political) behaviour on the grossest scale.

    It smacks of Yes Minister and the hospital with 500 administrators but no patients.
    Minister – “This money is for making sick people better”.
    Sir Humphrey – “No minister, this money is for making ‘everyone’ better”.

  • EH



    I fear your analogy with Yes Minister’s St Edward’s Hospital may well be right on point.

    A board to administer an as yet unbuilt airport, a projected budget that seems bent towards social welfare more than actually trying to get value, and despite all that, a predilection towards creating infrastructure long after it is needed (e.g. rail) rather than before, when a green field site makes it the cheapest it will ever be.

    If the Federal and State governments have predetermined that Western Sydney needs an input of $5-6 billion dollars spent over 10 years to support jobs then at least squeeze as many projects into that funding as possible – at least more projects should theoretically lead to more infrastructure that in the longer term supports more employment (the old proverb ‘buy a man a fish’ vs ‘buy a man a fishing rod’).

    Surely getting multiple ‘different’ pieces of infrastructure for that money is better than just one (noting that in this case all the direct supporting roads, rail, and the airport itself is really just one very large project). Surely there are other rail lines, or roads, or hospitals in the Western Sydney area not connected to WSA that desperately need building – and if the whole airport project can be delivered more cheaply then the excess funds can then be usefully redirected to other infrastructure.

  • Patrick Kilby


    You still haven’t convinced me they can do a project on this scale (earthmoving, runway works and largish terminal) inside three years from 2019; and for only $3b. One billion for each element?

  • Jason


    I am absolutely convinced Wagners could not only meet the requirements of the contract on time and on budget, but given what they have done and are currently involved with around Queensland I’m certain they could also concurrently build a fully operational rail spur to link into the CityRail network. Stop knocking them and give them a shot. Lets at least hope John Holland is no where to be seen given the carnage they have left behind in WA across a number of State and Federal Government projects and Defence facilitates.

  • rpaps5


    The comments about Wagners not having to do as much in earthworks and environmental approvals is rubbish. They moved thousands of tonnes of rock and met ALL required environmental regulations required at the time! They moved their equipment and required infrastructure onto the site to minimise delays and improve efficiency.
    The terminal size may well be larger but as that is already designed, the construction should be a no-brainer for a competent construction firm.
    As for setting up a board of directors before awarding a contract – the Federal Government has stated on many occasions ,it will be funding the construction – NO company or board required!! If they want to sell it later, then set something up.
    Right now it is just delaying tactics! keep the politics out of it, The Wagners have a proven track record of efficiency and achievement while the Fed Government has just the opposite track record.
    Give us value for money for once!
    Of course many are enamoured with Wagners, they could have it half finished b the time the Fed, Govt lets a contract! Even if the price is 3 times the cost of Wellcamp, it is still only 10% of the Govt. estimate!

  • Patrick Kilby


    There is quite a difference between moving the ‘thousands of tonnes’ you refer to and 22 million tonnes. The earthmoving task is bigger than the Brisbane new runway airport works. Not sure why Wagners didn’t get that gig either.

  • Random


    @Patrick Kilby

    Wagners moved 22 million tonnes of rock & gravel (350,000 truck loads) on the Wellcamp site. See the link below.

    Also built a terminal with 12,900 metres sq of undercover space. This is obviously smaller but a larger terminal is evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

    So overall WSA is not on a scale that is overly difficult or different.

    The major difference is that Wagners did it all using internal agreements rather than external contracts.


  • Marilyn Riedy


    By setting up a company to deliver this the government thereby avoids parliamentary scrutiny. This has been a disgraceful project from the start. This location has so many environmental and health impacts on the residents and the World Heritage Blue Mountains that it is absolutely outrageous that this was ever resurrected.

    Government has hidden the impacts from the public, ignored all environmental and health concerns, delivered marketing propaganda instead of information, targeted so called information sessions in working hours so commuters could not attend and used MSM to denigrate opposition.The EIS has so many flaws and yet it was rubber stamped by Josh Frydenburg. The EIS also admits the people will die because of the air pollution impacts of the location at the back of the Sydney Basin and yet that is acceptable. An EIS without flight paths is a joke!

    So many people are still unaware this is a 24hr airport. None of the noise mitigation protections available to KSA residents will operate here. The most likely affected locations of Blacktown and The Hills districts have been denied representation on FOWSA forum. This is social inequity in its purest form.

    How much money will be siphoned off to this company? How much will the Directors earn? How much will they be responsible for the consequences? WestConnex followed this same procedure of hiding the negatives, misinformation and marketing, appoint a company with directors to deliver and it is an absolute shambles! WSA will go the same way. No supporting infrastructure accounted for! $5 billion in cost will blow out enormously if the needed infrastructure of a fuel pipeline, rail connectivity, another toll way to connect the M7 to the airport are all taken into consideration!

    How many hospitals, schools, mental health, public transport, aged care and social programmes would that money fund? How many regional centres could benefit? But no! Idiot Abbot made a Captains pick. We are doing it! It should have gone the way of Knights and Dames. We do not want this white elephant and we don’t need it when an increase of the hourly cap at KSA by just 5 would be sufficient. Absolute insanity!

  • Helen Corbett


    Why not appoint some people to the Board who actually live in Western Sydney and know the problems the Airport will encounter when begins to operate as per the current proposal. Forget the fact that it will never be economically viable and will require $1 billion plus in Government subsidies just to keep open for the first ten years according to a study by Deutsche Bank. If the Airport was even close to economically viable than Sydney Airport Corporation would have built it to protect their investment in KSA maintaining their monopoly position in the Sydney Basin as per their contract when they bought KSA.. The only reason the Government is building BCA and doing it through a new company is because no private company is reckless enough to invest the money required given the expected returns. Creating a new company gets the debt used to build it off the Government’s balance sheet and avoids the public scrutiny that would apply if the Government built it themselves. Beware the International Ratings Agencies are not that easily fooled and will count this debt when accessing our credit rating. Expect second rate under performing, grossly over budget project just like the NBN.

  • Francis


    Sydney has a natural second International Airport at Newcastle, and $6 billion could link it to Hornsby with the first short but rugged segment of the East Coast bullet train, with a 36 minute transit.

    That would free the vast Badgerys area to become about six new suburbs.

    The second segment to build is Glenfield-Moss Vale-Goulburn-Canberra, 280km in 52 minutes.

    The costly tunneling to Sydney Central can be postponed because it doesn’t go anywhere until it has Canberra and Newcastle to connect to.

    This is a much better aviation outcome, avoiding the conflict of two major airports in the Sydney Basin, as well as hospital and firefighting aircraft and general aviation from Bankstown, Camden, and Richmond.

  • teddy



    There’s not much point changing the structure of Sydney’s aviation environment (ie building a second airport) if it is not a 24 hrs / day facility.

    Currently Sydney creates major inefficiencies within Australia because other cities that are not curfew restrained (MEL, BNE, PER particularly) cannot access Mascot KSA.

    Any new airport must be unrestricted by curfew. To do otherwise will only serve to ensure your fears of wasted money come to fruition.

  • Thatcher


    @Marilyn – from ‘http://westernsydneyairport.gov.au/’:
    “The nearest suburban residences to a Western Sydney Airport will be around 10.5 kilometres away, while the nearest suburban residences to Sydney Airport’s runways are only 600 metres away.”

    I can say, that I live south of Hornsby, about as far from KSA as Blacktown is from Badgerys Creek. But Hornsby is at higher altitude. KSA traffic flies directly over my house, and I it rarely notice it other than as background “chatter”. It certainly doesn’t wake me up.

    You may have experience with older jets, but modern jets are far quieter. The only ones I really notice nowadays are DC-10 / MD-11 freighters, and the 747. A380 are more of a deep rumble. I would be surprised if there are any / many MD-11 or 747 still flying when Badgerys Creek becomes operational.

  • Peter Foster


    This airport has been long overdue. It fascinates me that we take so long to build the thing.

    How long did it take for Changi Airport in Singapore to build??

    The aircraft used are so much more quieter now than they were in yesteryear when I used to live in Lane Cove all those years ago with the flight path going past my balcony with 707’s, DC8″s, and VC10’s going over. Funny enough, we got so used to them that when the big strike was on, the silence was deafening.
    We do live in a big city, and we are playing catch up in a big way after all the procrastination over the last 20 odd years. Get used to it.

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