RDA Sydney has welcomed the release of the NSW Government’s Western Sydney Airport Agribusiness Precinct Feasibility Study as a potential game changer for farming in the region.
RDA Chair Dr Rob Lang said the study showed there was enormous potential to capitalise on Western Sydney’s existing world-class peri-urban agriculture sector and to leverage the opportunities arising from the Aerotropolis at Badgerys Creek.
“Western Sydney already produces around $169 million worth of agricultural produce annually and the study shows this could increase to bring in around $2.8 billion and create 14,500 jobs over 10 years,” Lang said.
RDA Sydney has worked closely with both the State and Federal Governments to develop opportunities for agribusiness in greater Sydney.
“Our 2017 study showed the enormous potential of this industry to boost jobs and investment in Western Sydney and to capitalise on the opportunities arising from the Aerotropolis,” Lang said.
“A high-tech agribusiness precinct, adjoining the Western Sydney Aerotropolis, would generate new investment opportunities and deliver long term benefits to businesses seeking to take advantage of the new facilities and proximity to international freight services.”
Primary producers across NSW also welcomed the prospect of an integrated transport system and centralised post-harvest services that would result in better efficiencies and streamlined biosecurity arrangements.
“The proposed 500-hectare greenfield site presents a once in a life time opportunity to construct purpose-built infrastructure, adopt innovative business models and embrace the circular economy,” Lang said “A shift to shared services and commercial collaborations would ensure the sustainable use and reuse of precious resources including water and energy.”
“Centralised data centres and automated climate-controlled environments, key elements of urban intensive food production systems, will require a highly skilled workforce and the whole region will benefit from the creation of an additional 2,500 new high tech jobs and 12, 000 indirect jobs as a result of this precinct, ” Lang said.
Anchor tenants committed to the agribusiness precinct have already been announced and include Sydney Markets Limited and The University of Sydney. The study notes that new curricula and on the job experience will be needed to ensure the delivery of a flexible multi-disciplinary workforce.
“With Sydney’s second airport due to open in 2026 and construction well underway now is the right time to hit the accelerator and start planning and allocating resources to this important project,” Lang said.
“We would urge the government to expedite the feasibility study and ensure that the Western City and Aerotropolis Authority has the resources required to finalise this study and start implementation as soon as possible.”