Prime Minister Tony Abbott has confirmed a second airport for Sydney, triggering tens of millions of dollars of infrastructure investment for Sydney’s west.
After months of speculation, Badgerys Creek, 50 kilometres west of Sydney's CBD, was approved by cabinet on Tuesday as the location of the airport.
Construction of the airport is expected to begin in 2016 and will spur the creation of up to 4000 construction jobs at its peak.
Mr Abbott said the bulk of the investment for the airport would come from the private sector, with government to take the lead on building surrounding infrastructure, including roads.
The cost of building the airport is estimated at $2.5 billion.
Sydney Airport has first right of refusal to build and operate the airport.
“It's a long, overdue decision which, to be honest, has been shirked and squibbed by successive governments for far too long,” Mr Abbott said.
“I also want to stress that the government's approach will be roads first, airport second, because we don't want the people of western Sydney to have an airport without having the decent transport infrastructure that western Sydney deserves.”
Mr Abbott said the project would create 60,000 new jobs for western Sydney once the airport was fully operational.
The Prime Minister said details about how the infrastructure package will be funded will be made in the coming days.
It’s understood the federal and NSW governments are close to finalising a deal on how much federal money will be on the table.
An initial figure of $200 million that had been floated was insufficient in the view of the NSW government.
“I think this is a good news story for western Sydney,” Mr Abbott said.
“It's good news for jobs and, because of the importance of Sydney in our national economy, it's good news for Australia.”
Mr Abbott played down concerns that airport noise would become an issue at the new flightpath in the way it has for residents around Sydney Airport.
"I don't believe this is going to be anything like the problem at Badgerys that it has been at Mascot," he said.
"For a couple of reasons - first, because, quite frankly, people don't want to travel in the middle of the night.
"And, second, because we are just dealing with far, far fewer people.
"If you look at the noise footprint, some 4000 people live within a Badgerys' noise footprint.
"The equivalent footprint at Sydney is 130,000. So I just don't think it's going to be anything like the issue that it is elsewhere."
Mr Abbott added: "We are certainly not saying there will be a curfew."
Qantas immediately welcomed the announcement on Tuesday, with chief executive Alan Joyce describing Badgerys Creek as the right site.
"After decades of debate, we applaud today’s announcement by the Prime Minister,” Mr Joyce said.
“The role of second airports has been well-established in several of the world’s major capitals. Sydney is the key gateway for air traffic in and out of Australia and the benefits of having two major airports will be felt nationwide."
Western Sydney Airport Alliance spokesman David Borger said the decision to build at Badgerys Creek was long overdue.
He said residents would support the decision because it will create jobs and raise living standards.
However, western Sydney Labor MP Ed Husic said locals are being "blackmailed".
"They say 'If you want better infrastructure you have to support the airport and by virtue of blocking the airport you won't get better infrastructure'," he told ABC Radio.