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  • 28-Nov-2014 17:44 | Michael Sugg (Administrator)

    In June 2014, the Government announced Rebuilding NSW – a new plan to turbocharge NSW. This will release $20 billion in capital from leasing the State’s electricity businesses for investment in new productive infrastructure - meaning critical projects can get moving now, rather than years into the future.

    The NSW Government has reviewed the investment recommendations put forward by Infrastructure NSW, the Government’s expert investment body, and accepts these recommendations.

    More than $10 billion for investment to benefit Western Sydney 

    With a population of over 2 million people, Western Sydney is now bigger than many of Australia’s capital cities. Rebuilding NSW
    invests $10 billion in Western Sydney and presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build the infrastructure that Western Sydney desperately needs.

    This includes:
    • Sydney Rapid Transit - a $7 billion investment to increase the number of trains accessing the city by 60%
    • Parramatta Light Rail - a $1 billion investment to transform Parramatta
    • Western Harbour Tunnel - allowing up to 50,000 cars to bypass the CBD each day.

    This will ensure Western Sydney not only keeps up with forecast population growth, but thrives, delivering the jobs and economic foundations to become an even better place to work and live.

    Parramatta as Sydney’s second CBD

    Parramatta is Sydney’s second CBD and it needs the transport connections to support continued growth. The Government has already reserved $400 million for a light rail network in Parramatta. The Government will commit a further $600 million for light rail, bringing the funding commitment to $1 billion.

    Confirming Parramatta’s status as Sydney’s second CBD means investing in the cultural and sporting facilities the city deserves. The Government will create a Parramatta Cultural Precinct as a component of current urban renewal activities in the area. Parramatta has a range of cultural and heritage assets that could be better connected and utilised. To complement this, the Government will consider relocating the Powerhouse Museum collection to the new precinct.

    A congestion busting plan

    As the engine room of our State’s economy, the Government is committed to delivering improved transport infrastructure to the people of Western Sydney, especially for its major roads. 

    WestConnex will help bust the city’s congestion and better connecting western and south western Sydney with the Sydney CBD, port and airport.

    The Government will build on the benefits of WestConnex by reserving $1.1 billion to invest in the northern and southern extensions and the new Western Harbour Tunnel.

    In addition to delivering new motorways, the Government will use our existing roads more effectively. This includes reserving $400 million to implement Smart Motorways technologies,
    including on the M4. Investments to address bottlenecks and pinch point upgrades will be targeted to improve traffic flows and reduce congestion in Western Sydney. Our city needs transformative projects like WestConnex, but it also needs these small upgrades to better manage our roads. We will deliver both.

    Public transport links to the west

    An efficient, reliable, accessible public transport system is critical to the prosperity and quality of life of any city. Rebuilding NSW provides us with the opportunity to extend the benefits of public transport to more communities across Western Sydney. Public transport connects people to jobs and improves the liveability of Western Sydney by providing access to key destinations.

    The reliability and frequency of services on the existing passenger rail network will also be improved progressively under Sydney’s Rail Future Stage 2. The Government will reserve $1 billion to deliver this plan for the Western Sydney Rail Upgrade Program which specifically targets the capacity constraints on the T1 Western Line.

    Construction of the North West Rail Link is well underway with services planned to commence in 2019. In addition, a $7 billion contribution reserved for Sydney Rapid Transit (SRT), together with funds already earmarked, ensures the project is fully funded, with a mid-range estimated cost of $10.4 billion. The proposed network will include new rapid services at stations in Bankstown,
    Punchbowl, Wiley Park, Lakemba, Belmore, Campsie and Canterbury.

    The benefits of the SRT will be wider still – it will unlock new rail capacity across the entire rail network. Western Sydney needs more trains, fewer delays and faster connections. We are delivering the upgrades to make this happen.

    Better hospitals and schools in Western Sydney

    In addition to the Government’s record investment in health and education, Rebuilding NSW presents an opportunity to build the new schools and hospitals Western Sydney needs to accommodate future population growth.

    This will include a share of:

    > the $700 million Future Focussed Schools Program to deliver new schools in Sydney’s growth areas.
    > the $600 million Hospital Growth Program.

    Business cases will be developed for hospital investments at places such as Rouse Hill and Campbelltown, as well as for new paediatric capacity in South Western Sydney. 

    The Government is also exploring innovative education models. 

    Upgraded stadia and cultural facilities 

    Western Sydney also needs an increase of investment in its arts and cultural infrastructure. Families in Western Sydney shouldn’t always have to travel into the Sydney CBD to participate in cultural and sporting activity.

    The NSW Government will also engage with Western Sydney councils to identify coinvestment proposals for cultural infrastructure. Engagement will commence immediately.

    Western Sydney will also benefit from the $600 million stadia fund. As part of that, the Government will identify the best investments for rectangular stadia at Parramatta/Sydney Olympic Park - investments that will provide world class sporting venues for Western Sydney.

    The Government will also look at long term options for the construction of an outer Western Sydney stadium to support expected population growth. 

    Planning for future growth

    In the long term, land will be reserved for future Western Sydney road corridors, which may include the Outer Sydney Orbital and the Bells Line of Road – Castlereagh Connection to the M7. This will ensure that we are able to deliver infrastructure efficiently and effectively when it is needed. This is part of our strategic long term planning approach to develop Western Sydney.

  • 28-Nov-2014 17:15 | Michael Sugg (Administrator)

    Rebuilding NSW will deliver a $10 billion windfall to Western Sydney, including in areas such as health and transport, NSW Premier Mike Baird announced today.

    The revised State Infrastructure Strategy is a 20-year blueprint for NSW that is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to turbocharge the state from the long-term lease of 49 per cent of the State’s electricity network businesses.

    “In 20 years, every second Sydneysider will live in Greater Western Sydney and that is why more than half of the funding on offer in this Strategy is being spent in a way that will benefit Western Sydney,” Premier Mike Baird said.

    “With a population of over two million people, Western Sydney is the engine room of the state – and these funds will transform the area for generations to come.

    “We have a plan and a vision, but more than that we have a plan that is funded. That is the difference between my Government and the empty promises that were all the people of NSW ever got from Labor.”

    Mr Baird said the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government accepted all of the  specific funding recommendations for Western Sydney made by Infrastructure NSW, including:

    • $7 billion for Sydney Rapid Transit, including a second Harbour crossing, new CBD stations and the conversion of the Bankstown line to rapid transit. This is on top of the $3.4 billion previously set aside. Based on a mid-range estimate the project will be fully-funded;
    • $1.1 billion Westconnex/Western Harbour Tunnel
    • A Western Sydney Rail Upgrade Program worth $1 billion to improve the current network and provide additional and faster services for the T1 Western Line including Penrith and Parramatta;
    • $600 million for Parramatta Light Rail, on top of the $400 million already allocated, taking the total allocation to $1 billion; and
    • $600 million for Western Sydney hospitals, including additional paediatric capacity in South Western Sydney

    Western Sydney will also benefit from:

    • $400 million for Smart Motorways;
    • $600 million for stadiums;
    • $700 million for Future Focussed Schools;
    • $300 million for pinch points;
    • $300 million for Bus Rapid Transit; and
    • $100 million for Clearways.
    Transport linkages will also be improved with the reservation of land for future Western Sydney road corridors, as well as upgrading road networks to support the Badgerys Creek airport precinct.

    Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian said the funding would permanently change how people moved around the region.

    “Sydney Rapid Transit is a game-changer – for this city and for Western Sydney,” she said.

    “Public transport connects people to jobs, and these improvements will get workers to their offices faster, and will get mums and dads home quicker.”

    She said the additional money for the Parramatta Light Rail will help cement Parramatta as Sydney’s second CBD.

    Minister for Health Jillian Skinner welcomed the health projects to match the pace of the population growth.

    “These significant investments in Western Sydney’s hospitals are an investment in the health of the community. They will deliver first-class facilities with state-of-the-art equipment,” she said.

    Mr Baird said the health and transport infrastructure in Western Sydney will provide a critical framework for the region but added that Rebuilding NSW also recognises the importance of sporting and cultural assets with:
    • $600 million for stadiums, focussing in on Moore Park and Western Sydney; and
    • The creation of a Parramatta Cultural Precinct where CBD-based art and cultural collections can be shared in Parramatta and Western Sydney.

    Mr Baird said the 20-year fully-funded plan, in which all projects will be completed or underway by 2024, was future proofing Western Sydney, ensuring the residents had the very best in services and the region had the capacity to reach its full potential.

  • 28-Nov-2014 16:49 | Michael Sugg (Administrator)

    Infrastructure NSW has made 30 investment recommendations on the next round of critical infrastructure for NSW—set out in the ‘State Infrastructure Strategy Update 2014’, published today.

    The recommendations are for infrastructure projects and programs valued at $18.9 billion.

    Independent modelling by Deloitte Access Economics has found that if implemented effectively the

    recommendations would increase the Gross State Product by $30.9 billion and add 122,000 more jobs.

    Infrastructure NSW’s report targets three priority areas: Global Sydney’s competitiveness; supporting population and economic growth in Greater Sydney, including Parramatta and Western Sydney; and ensuring productive regional industries and connected regional communities.

    The ‘State Infrastructure Strategy Update 2014’ was prepared by Infrastructure NSW at the direction of the Premier to guide how proceeds from the Rebuilding NSW initiative could be spent.

    Infrastructure NSW Chairman Graham Bradley said that accelerating much needed infrastructure has the potential to deliver significant economic and social benefits to the community.

    “There is considerable capacity to deliver elements of the Government’s infrastructure program sooner—in transport, health, water and culture, sporting and environmental infrastructure,” he said.

    “The 30 major projects and programs we have recommended are strategically important and
    economically sound. They should be brought forward, with final business cases prepared over the next 18 months.

    “This will allow the NSW Government to take budgetary decisions in a timely fashion, after the proposed Rebuilding NSW transaction.

    “The investments proposed must be complemented by continued intensive use of existing assets to

    make the most of past investments".

    “Working with the private sector, given the breath and pace of delivery, to maximise value for money

    outcomes, will also be critical to success,” Mr Bradley said.

    Key investment recommendations include:

    • Increasing Sydney’s global competitiveness
      • $8 billion to deliver a step-change in capacity and reliability of Sydney’s rail system:
        • Western Sydney Rail (Sydney’s Rail Future Stage 2) $1 billion
        • Sydney Rapid Transit $7 billion
      • $6.3 billion to expedite critical motorways to be funded as toll roads including:
        • WestConnex Northern and Southern Extensions $1.8 billion
        • Western Harbour Tunnel $4.5 billion
      • $1 billion to reduce congestion in the road network:
        • Urban Pinch Point Program $300 million
        • Expanded Clearways Program $100 million
        • Smart Motorways $400 million
        • Transport management systems $200 million
    • Supporting population and economic growth in Greater Sydney, including Parramatta
      • $600 million for the Parramatta CBD Public Transport Improvement Program
      • $300 million Bus Rapid Transit and Bus Priority Program
      • $300 million Pinch Point Upgrade Program Sydney – Illawarra
      • $100 million Corridor Preservation Program
      • $1.4 billion for Education and Health facilities in Greater Sydney:
        • Schools Growth Program $700 million
        • Hospitals Growth Program $600 million
        • Care Co-location Program $100 million
      • $1.2 billion for cultural and sporting investment for Global and Greater Sydney:
        • Cultural Infrastructure Program $600 million
        • Sports Stadia Infrastructure Program $600 million
    • Ensuring a competitive and connected regional economy
      • $3.1 billion for efficient freight transport to ports and markets:
        • Freight Road Corridor Program $2 billion
        • Bridges for the Bush $200 million
        • Fixing Country Roads $500 million
        • Fixing Country Rail $400 million
      • $1 billion Regional Growth Roads Program
      • $1 billion Regional Water Security and Supply Fund
      • $300 million Regional Schools Renewal Program
      • $300 million Regional Multi-Purpose Health Facilities Program
      • $300 million Regional Environment and Tourism Program
    Some of the other key reforms recommended include:
    • Improving passenger rail journey times between Sydney and Parramatta, as well as the Central Coast and Illawarra
    • Review options for Beaches Link with a view to implementation in 10 to 20 years’ time
    • Comprehensively plan for Sydney’s second airport at Badgerys Creek
    • A number of freight corridors are identified for investigation
    • Identify funding sources to implement flood mitigation and evacuation options for the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley
    • Develop a whole of sector cultural infrastructure strategy.

    The recommendations in the Update were prepared for the NSW Government for its consideration in

    developing plans for infrastructure investment. The State Infrastructure Strategy Update 2014 is

    available at

  • 28-Nov-2014 16:23 | Michael Sugg (Administrator)

    Parramatta Road urban renewal strategy

    The community is being asked to provide comment and feedback on proposed plans to reinvent one of Sydney's most infamously congested road corridors – Parramatta Road.

    We are committed to considered, sensible revitalisation of this corridor, which has been an eyesore in our global city for too long.

    The 20-year urban transformation of Parramatta Road will help create up to 50,000 jobs and 50,000 new homes.

    We are focused on improving the supply of homes near jobs and near public transport and other infrastructure – these plans deliver on that commitment.

  • 28-Nov-2014 15:25 | Michael Sugg (Administrator)

    Family-owned Inbound Tourism Operator and Corporate Travel Agent JC Travel Professionals have been recognised for their contribution to the NSW tourism industry at the annual Awards night held on Thursday, 27 November at the glittering Dockside Pavilion, Darling Harbour.

    Founded by Egyptian immigrants Freddy and Sahar Mikhael in 2004, JC Travel Professionals has grown to overtake their nearest competitors as Australia’s largest inbound tourism operator for the Middle East, responsible for bringing tens of thousands of visitors to Australia each year.

    The founder and Managing Director of the family-owned, Sydney Hills-based agency, Freddy Mikhael, said that winning the gold award was both an incredible achievement and a stunning motivation to grow bigger and better.

    “Winning is an incredible feeling.  This is our first time here and we were excited just to be a finalist among so many amazing businesses and organisations,” he said at the Awards Event held in Darling Harbour’s glittering Dockside Pavilion.

    “But this is the start of more hard work and we want to prove we deserve this and we will be back next year having grown even bigger and better,” said Mr Mikhael.

    “When we came to Australia as a family in 2002 we had one goal; make a difference to our adopted country, our lives, and the lives of our wonderful team.”

    This win comes not long after winning the title of Most Outstanding Travel Agency at the Sydney Hills Local Business Awards in 2014.  As winners of their category at the NSW Tourism Awards, JC Travel Professionals are now automatic finalists at the Australian Tourism Awards, the ceremony of which will be held in Adelaide in April 2015.

  • 27-Nov-2014 15:47 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Rosehill Gardens is the perfect venue for all your new year Business and Event needs, offering a wide selection of versatile indoor and outdoor spaces.  



    Greater Sydney’s prestigious racecourse has the ability to cater for a diverse range of conferences, product launches, gala dinners and corporate hospitality. 



    Paul Carabetta has recently joined Rosehill Gardens as Business Development Manager – Corporate and brings to the table a wealth of knowledge, experience and well established connections throughout the Greater Western business community.



    Previously the Food and Beverage Operations Manager of the Riverside Oaks Golf Resort, Paul will assist in finding the right solution with you to make your event seamless at Rosehill Gardens.



    Paul looks forward to connecting with you:


    P: (02) 9760 6255


    M: 0418 250 584



  • 27-Nov-2014 15:37 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The launch of Twilight Racing at Rosehill Gardens is set to quench Sydney’s thirst for end-of-week late lunches, ‘Thank God It’s Friday’ cheer and end-of year-catch-ups with work mates and friends. This is your first and only chance this season to enjoy balmy evenings on the trackside lawns, so book today to celebrate the festive season with live music, great food and entertainment.


    To book your hospitality please contact Anthony Nicolaou, Business Development Manager – Commercial on:


    P: (02) 9760 6215



    For more information please visit

  • 27-Nov-2014 09:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What do you think is the biggest challenge facing businesses in Western Sydney? 


    “We need it to be a true regional centre and not an outlying Sydney suburb”.

     That’s what one of the many participants in our research told us. Do you have a different view?


    Your opportunity to participate and join over 200 other businesses who have had their say closes on Monday 1 December. 


    Please take 10 minutes to share your insights by completing our online survey before it closes.

    As part of Western Sydney Business Connection's continued engagement with the businesses of Western Sydney and as a valued contact of WSBC, you are invited to have your say on the big issues affecting businesses in Western Sydney.

    Developed and led by WSBC gold member William Buck and in conjunction with WSBC, “Making Western Sydney Greater” is a research initiative designed to identify the most important issues for businesses in Western Sydney, and to drive positive change. 

    The research is proudly supported by WSBC Platinum Partners St George Bank and The University of Western Sydney.


    The results from this research will enable us to:

    • Inform government on the key issues you identify
    • Create seminars and training targeted to your needs
    • Arrange networking opportunities for local businesses with common opportunities, interests and challenges
    • Develop resources to directly support Western Sydney businesses
    • And more ...

    As a participant you will receive a full copy of our findings from this research and priority access to any seminars, networking opportunities and the like that are held. 

    You will also be doing your part in "Making Western Sydney Greater".

    We look forward to hearing from you with any questions and to your participation in the research


  • 26-Nov-2014 16:39 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In conjunction with the Federal Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda released in October 2014 was an announcement of a reform program for Employee Share Schemes (ESS).  No legislation has yet been released and there is a consultation process underway to ensure that key aspects, which were not in the original announcement, are appropriately covered when the legislation is released.


    In terms of measures announced, there are changes to the taxation of options that will impact a broader range of employers. From 1 July 2015, the taxing point of options will be the time of exercise. This is a positive change to the current rules and should make options a more attractive form of rewarding employees - the taxing point will once again align with the time the employee is able to realise a gain on the options. 

    Perhaps the most publicised part of the announcement is the proposal to provide assistance to start-up companies.  The current proposals provide that, to qualify as a start-up, companies must: 

         i.          not be a listed company;

           ii.          have an aggregate turnover less than $50m; and

          iii.          have been incorporated for 10 years or less. 

    Any shares and options granted under an ESS will only qualify for concessional treatment provided: 

    ·       Options: the exercise price is not less than market value of the shares at the date of grant;

    ·       Shares: the discount granted must not be more than 15% at date of purchase.

    Once a company satisfies the conditions to qualify as a start-up, any qualifying shares and options granted under an ESS will receive the following advantages:

    ·       The first taxing point for both shares and options will be deferred until the shares are  sold, with a 15 year time limit suggested in the Government’s media release; and

    ·       The entire gain made on the sale of shares will be taxed as a capital gain. Provided the asset (either the shares or options) disposed of has been held for more than 12 months, the gain should qualify for the 50% CGT discount. 

    ASIC has recently announced changes to its employee incentive scheme class order relief, that, once effective, will reduce the administrative burden of implementing some employee share schemes. However, it is not yet clear how ASIC may address the need to simplify the regulatory requirements for start-ups as contemplated in the latest proposals. The timing of ASIC’s changes provides an opportunity for the Government to establish a tax, reporting and regulatory framework that will encourage wider implementation of ESS plans. 

    The announcements present an opportunity for corporates to re-examine remuneration structures and how they look to incentivise their employees. There is clearly food for thought as it is clear that some companies will have the capacity to provide significant value to their employees.

    Author: David Pring, Partner, KPMG’s Private Enterprise.


  • 26-Nov-2014 15:04 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    icon_connect Deloitte Private Connect icon_entrep Entrepreneurs

    WSBC presents the first in a series of three articles from Platinum Partner Deloitte on the power of the Cloud and accounting solutions.

    The many benefits of the cloud are well understood by most entrepreneurs. The total cost of IT as a percentage of revenue is reduced and the savings can be reinvested in growing the business. But, for an entrepreneur, while the IT savings can be compelling, the biggest benefit of cloud computing is the agility it enables. Importantly, it gives the enterprise the flexibility to take advantage of opportunities and scale up effectively as the business takes off.


    Of course, alongside all the benefits of the cloud, there are two downsides we often see. One is highlighted in a recent study by Intermedia and Osterman research that shows the average small business is drowning in cloud applications, causing inefficiencies, lost productivity and data integration issues. The report found that, on average, small businesses use 14 individual cloud applications and that each user interacts with more than five software applications. 

    The other, perhaps more frustrating downside is that even when a business has made the right application choices, some are still using pre-cloud accounting practices. So while these businesses have come some way along the cloud journey, they still need to walk the final mile to get the full benefits of this exciting technology shift.


    Let me explain. While many businesses have migrated their financial information to the cloud, they’re still working on a quarterly reporting timeframe – sometimes longer. Typically, businesses that do this have their bookkeeper or accountant produce a financial report for the previous quarter when their Business Activity Statement is due – which is almost three months after the end of the reporting period.


    These businesses operate in a financial information vacuum from one reporting period to another. They don’t have information about their present financial position at their fingertips which, when used to its full potential, is exactly what the cloud enables.


    In contrast, businesses that are taking full advantage of cloud accounting services can see their accounts receivable and accounts payable in real time. They can produce an up-to-the minute profit and loss statements and balance sheets. Then they can use this information to make strategic decisions about the future of their business.


    One of our star clients, Crisp Creative Salad’s founder Ted Tolfree, is an entrepreneur who is harnessing the full potential of the cloud in his business. Having completed a full migration of his financial information to the cloud, all the business’s invoicing and accounting is done electronically, which reduces the potential for human error.


    “Being able to see our overall spending and reporting whenever we want gives us the oversight and control I need as a business owner. So when we meet with our Deloitte Private advisor we talk about the plans for the business, instead of the day-to-day accounting. It’s taken the relationship to a new level,” Ted explained in a recent blog post. 


    “We use other cloud-based software that integrates well with Deloitte Private Connect, so we can see the full picture across all aspects of our business,” he says. 


    For entrepreneurs, having access to real-time financial information is absolutely vital.


    • It gives founders confidence in the business’s financial figures when talking to potential investors.

    • It gives investors confidence the business is on top of its numbers.

    • It means the business has truly up-to-date numbers at hand, which can inform decisions about whether to hire new staff, how much stock to order and investment priorities.

    • It reduces the risk the business will burn through its cash reserves prematurely.

    • It means that if mistakes are made during the bookkeeping or accounting process, they can be picked up quickly and corrected.


    Early stage ventures are by their nature risky enterprises. But there are ways that entrepreneurs can manage these risks. Having live financial information available is one of the best ways to do this.


    Related: hear Ben’s thoughts on the ‘Inevitable Shift to Fixed-Fee Advisory Services for Accountants’ published on Digital First.


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