With $35 billion worth of infrastructure in the pipeline, Western Sydney is finding its momentum.
However, there is still a long way to go.
Infrastructure projects recently given the green light, such as the Parramatta Light Rail and Western Sydney airport, will generate jobs. But how do we ensure long-term employment opportunities? And how do we connect people to these opportunities?
By 2021, 52% of Sydney’s population is forecast to be in Western Sydney, but only 38% of jobs will be in the region. Currently, some 300,000 workers commute east every day for work. Official projections indicate that by 2041, 140,000 more commuters will be using the region’s already congested transport links to the city.
The jobs deficit is one source of inequity between east and west, but the lack of connectivity between jobs and homes, in particular north/south transport links, also plays a role. Infrastructure projects and transport upgrades such as Sydney Metro Northwest and WestConnex aim to address the worsening congestion on the routes spanning radially out of the CBD. But according to Deloitte Access Economics research, to meet increasing transport demand, it is predicted that 19 new freeways, six new train lines or 1,700 more buses would be required to transport workers to jobs in the east.
Perhaps a more realistic solution would be to create more jobs in the west.
Deloitte’s Shaping Future Cities: Designing Western Sydney, launched by NSW Premier Baird in December last year, is a blueprint to do just that. Putting forward 133 recommendations, grouped into 25 strategies, the blueprint sets out a three-stage process to build platforms for jobs growth, create jobs in specific industries and connect local people to those jobs.
Shaping Future Cities not only highlights Western Sydney’s new found momentum, but also its potential. Spanning over 9,000 square kilometres, Western Sydney is Australia’s third largest economy.
“There is so much multiculturalism in Western Sydney and its young, entrepreneurial population makes it a vibrant and exciting place to be. We’ve recently seen NSW take the lead as the economic powerhouse of the nation and there are a number of industries calling Western Sydney home that will be the country’s key economic drivers for the next one to two decades,” said Deloitte Western Sydney Managing Partner, Danny Rezek.
“We’re also seeing significant investment in infrastructure by the NSW government as well as a commitment to tangible job creation outcomes - the development of the Parramatta Light Rail and the decision to locate the Greater Sydney Commission in Parramatta to name but two. You can already see these initiatives having a positive impact and contributing to Western Sydney’s momentum.
“It’s important that we maximise these opportunities. To this end Deloitte is collaborating with the 25 Shaping Future Cities Champions – business and community leaders from across Greater Sydney – emphasising Western Sydney’s competitive advantages and implementing the recommendations in the blueprint,” said Rezek.
One of the 25 strategy champions is WSBC’s CEO, Michael Sugg, who is responsible for the Plus One strategy, which asks, ‘what if every business in Western Sydney was empowered to hire one more employee? How can we challenge businesses to grow, and in doing so, create more jobs in Western Sydney?’
“The Plus One strategy is essential to the overall success of the Shaping Future Cities blueprint,” said Sugg. “Major infrastructure projects around road, rail, light-rail and the new airport are a fantastic boost for the region. But these projects on their own will not maximise long-term employment opportunities. We need to build an enduring jobs legacy, and to achieve this, every single business in Western Sydney – some 150,000 across the region – needs to be engaged and made aware of the growth opportunities Western Sydney can offer, in turn creating long-term employment opportunities. Local business chambers and associations, like WSBC, can assist those businesses looking to grow by connecting them with the plethora of resources available that will help them identify and act on growth opportunities,” Sugg concluded.
As part of Deloitte’s continued commitment to delivering against the Shaping Future Cities blueprint, Danny Rezek will be chairing the second day of the upcoming Developing Greater Western Sydney conference, taking place in early June. “I am delighted to be actively involved in this conference. The more we recognise and leverage Western Sydney’s strengths – as well as address its challenges – the more we can plan and manage longer term growth.
“Sydney needs to embrace its future as a polycentric city, with Parramatta the dual CBD and growth centres including Liverpool, Penrith, Campbelltown and Bankstown. The conference is an opportunity to think about how the significant infrastructure pipeline will be delivered, how it will integrate with the regional planning to be undertaken by the Greater Sydney Commission and how it will shape the future of the west,” Rezek concluded.