Chifley MP Ed Husic questions lack of local residents on Western Sydney Airport board

Chifley MP Ed Husic has again questioned the federal government's plan for delivering local jobs via Western Sydney Airport. Picture: Rob Homer
Chifley MP Ed Husic has again questioned the federal government's plan for delivering local jobs via Western Sydney Airport. Picture: Rob Homer

Another job generated by the proposed Western Sydney Airport has gone to someone living outside the region.

So far every position on Western Sydney Airport Corporation, the board overseeing the airport’s construction, has been filled by residents from the Sydney’s east, or from outside NSW.

Chifley MP Ed Husic said that “flew in the face” of the federal government’s promise the airport would help solve the west’s jobs deficit.

“Are you telling me there’s absolutely no one with the talent and skill to be involved in this project from western Sydney, a region of nearly two million people?” he said. “What a joke.

“The reality is this development is being driven in a typical Sydney way: the clubby east...calling all the shots on this development, with no regard for the impact of their decisions on us.

“They’re not accountable for the quality of their decisions. This is wrong and western Sydney does not deserve this.”

The latest edition to the board, chairman Paul O’Sullivan, was announced on Monday.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher said in a joint statement that Mr O’Sullivan’s record as chairman of Optus was a factor in his selection.

“Mr O'Sullivan's business leadership expertise makes him highly credentialled to lead the company delivering Western Sydney Airport,” the statement said.

"It’s the club from the east telling residents...what they’ll get and how they’ll get it," Ed Husic said. Picture: Simon Bennett

"It’s the club from the east telling residents...what they’ll get and how they’ll get it," Ed Husic said. Picture: Simon Bennett

“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.”

Mr Husic said he had “enormous respect” for Mr O’Sullivan, but noted “he’s not a western Sydney resident”.

The airport is projected to create 13,000 direct and 7000 indirect jobs by 2031, growing to more than 60,000 direct and 30,000 indirect jobs by 2063.

“It’s the biggest selling point used by those in the east who push this project,” Mr Husic said in parliament on Tuesday.

“Numerous jobs figures are thrown around - but here’s one jobs figure that you never hear from a Turnbull government minister: the guaranteed number of jobs that will actually go to western Sydney residents from this development.

“This government doesn’t have one. It’s not a key performance indicator.”