Local firm on growth path thanks to construction of new airport

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Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport (WSI) has been a boon for many local businesses since construction started in 2017.

One of them, bulk earthworks specialists O’Neill’s Plant Hire, is based right here in Kentlyn, a semi rural suburb in eastern Campbelltown.

O’Neills is a proud family owned and run business, providing services to WSI contractor AeroWest, a joint venture between Seymour Whyte and BMD, in the construction of the landside facilities, earthworks, drainage, as well as internal road networks and transport connections. 

“My parents sold their first house to buy a machine and started their own earthmoving business in 1967,’’ says the owner and operator of O’Neills Plant Hire, Eamon O’Neill.

“Dad moved the dirt, mum did the paperwork and picked up parts for the machines, while at the same time bringing up six kids. 

 “O’Neills now employs around 60 operators, with the majority living locally, so they appreciate the proximity of work at the airport to home,’’ he said.  

“Working on WSI has certainly given my company the opportunity to grow. We have been able to expand our fleet and have welcomed multiple new staff members. 

“Being engaged by AeroWest has opened some doors which have led to bigger projects for the company, and we have been able to expand our clientele.  

“The thing we are all most proud of is that we are part of building a great future for Western Sydney and for the people in our team, like me, who chose to live in Western Sydney with our families.   

 “When our staff members check in for a flight for the first time out of Western Sydney International Airport, how exciting will it be for them to be able to say, I built that,” Mr O’Neill said.

Simon Hickey, the CO of WSI said the airport had engaged more than 360 Western Sydney-based businesses since work on the airport began, from local tradies and construction companies, to caterers, security guards and other small and medium businesses.  

“We’ve seen support for locally based businesses of all sizes continue to grow in 2023 with total spend increasing by $100 million, from $400 million at the start of last year, and creating jobs for people who live locally who in turn spend more money in the West,” Mr Hickey said.  

“Currently there are more than 4,000 people working on site during peak construction. Half of the project’s workforce lives in Western Sydney and around a third are learning new skills on-the-job.   

“On top of the thousands of local workers the project employs directly, the additional $100 million spent in the last year has flow-on economic benefits across the region.  

 “This effect on the local economy and local jobs will be multi-generational. 

“We are so proud to be building Sydney’s new 24/7 airport and creating opportunities and a skills legacy for this vibrant, diverse region.”

Mr Hickey is pictured above (yellow high-vis top) with local MP Anne Stanley and O’Neill’s representative (orange tops) on site of the new airport under construction.

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