GREATER Western Sydney is already the third largest economy in Australia but its economic boom is set to grow exponentially over the next 20 years as a raft of new development projects come online.
Within the next two decades Western Sydney is set to have an international airport, upgraded hospitals, thousands of new homes, town centres with a village vibe, a high-speed rail link to the CBD, open parkland spaces, new motorways, new social and cultural infrastructure, and improved education and healthcare services targeting the wealthy middle class from southern Asia.
And these facilities and services will create thousands of new jobs which will help reshape the Western Sydney region into one of the most attractive places for investment in the southern hemisphere.
This blueprint for the future of Sydney was forged yesterday at a riveting convention in Parramatta which concluded that Australia’s economic prosperity is strongly tied to the success of the west.
The Catalyst West forum at Western Sydney University brought together 350 of the brightest minds from government, industry and the community to brainstorm Sydney’s future and the improvements required to make sure our city remains the best in the world.
Committee for Sydney chairman and KPMG special adviser Michael Rose said the future of Sydney lies in creating a diverse and highly educated population in the west which is supported by a good legal system, strong tech sector, reliable places to live and fast transport connections to the CBD.
“The great challenge is to connect the CBD, Parramatta and Western Sydney Airport with Campbelltown, Liverpool and Penrith, and to fill the gaps with town centres to provide jobs,” Mr Rose said.
“The challenge for leaders is to help make the case as to why the success of Sydney is important for the region, NSW and the nation … Sydney can’t succeed unless Western Sydney succeeds.”
Sydney’s population is set to grow by 2.6 million people in the next 30 years to 7.3 million, with a majority of this growth set to occur in the west. At the same time the population will age significantly, requiring access to additional healthcare services.
South Western Sydney Local Health District director of finance Ross Sinclair said millions of dollars in upgrades have already been announced for Campbelltown and Westmead hospitals and Liverpool Hospital is next on the list.
Mr Sinclair said integrating healthcare services across the region with new hi-tech analytics and digital platforms was a priority.
Property investment group GPT has $20 billion in assets in Australia with $9 billion located in the west. GPT development director Paul Walker said his firm was focused on creating a new town square for Sydney — similar to Melbourne’s Federation Square — at Sydney Olympic Park within 10 years.
“When you go to Sydney Olympic Park, they have the best sporting events and the best entertainers, and you get hyped up and want to make a big day out of it, but there is no reason to stay,” he said.
Fourth-year Western Sydney University student Tatjana Bozovic, who spends up to four hours each day travelling to and from university from her home in Cecil Hills, said improving the transport system should be one of the biggest priorities: “It’s not just work and jobs, we also have a social life. Right now it takes me more than an hour to get to the beach.”
Psychology student Rose-Emily Bellino, 20, from St Marys said raising mental health awareness was a critical way to improve healthcare in the region. “I feel like there is a need to emphasise our mental health and the overall health sector,” she said.
SEVEN THINGS WESTERN SYDNEY NEEDS
1. Build new town hubs supported by better roads linking Parramatta to Western Sydney Airport, Campbelltown, Liverpool and Penrith
2. Social and cultural infrastructure such as more theatres, arts, restaurants, green spaces, outdoor gyms (example- see artists impression image in CHP“Town square for Sydney” at Sydney Olympic Park)
3. Future industries: lightweight product manufacturing in western Sydney such as pharmaceuticals for exporting, plus defence companies such as Northrop Grumman and Thales
4. Reshaping education – better schools and universities will attract more of the growing middle class from China, Indonesia and Malaysia
5. New jobs in the “knowledge economy” – moving more white collar industries into Western Sydney so employment is not so reliant on trades
6. Future of healthcare in western Sydney lies with IT investment. Digitally integrating public hospitals, private hospitals and GPs together for a better patient experience
7. A new high speed Metro West train line to achieve a “30-minute city” – reduce cars and increase night time economy