January 16, 2014
Source: The Daily Telegraph
By: John Lehmann
Sydney’s movers and shakers believe the city is experiencing a “new burst of energy”.
But they have warned housing affordability and transport systems must be improved to avoid the economy stalling.
A survey of 70 of Sydney’s leading organisations by the Committee for Sydney found 73 per cent believed the city was showing signs of “new or continued momentum”, up from 59 per cent last April.
Committee for Sydney chairwoman Lucy Turnbull said cranes had returned to the skyline, infrastructure was being delivered and new housing and office projects were under way.
“Sydney is experiencing dynamism at a critical moment in the national economic cycle in which the commodities boom has moderated,” she said.
But Ms Turnbull warned the “stresses of growth”, including housing affordability, needed to be better managed to ensure the momentum was not short-lived.
“We must turn this new burst of energy into a strategic and long-term breakthrough in Sydney’s productivity and performance,” she said.
“Sydney needs sustained growth, policy innovation and investment if it is to remain Australia’s first city and play its crucial role for the nation.”
The survey of the Committee for Sydney members – which includes big businesses such as KPMG and Lend Lease through to community-focussed enterprises such as the Opera House and St George Community Housing – rated flexible working arrangements, housing affordability and the livability of Sydney as “very important” factors in attracting and retaining staff.
The issues the organisations wanted the lobbying group to focus on were transport, affordable housing, infrastructure and western Sydney.
The survey also identified a desire for the committee to closely monitor the performance of governments in 2014 to ensure that “aspiration and policy are turned into real changes on the ground.
And that Sydney gets the strategic and investment focus it needs to flourish and deliver economically”.
Committee for Sydney chief executive Tim Williams said the Abbott government needed to get behind Sydney by investing in key projects.
“Invest in Sydney and federal government will get a bigger bang for their buck in terms of GDP uplift and productivity than anywhere else in Australia,” he said, adding that structural reforms were a critical part of the process.