Media Release
Renewed focus on Sydney’s innovation districts required for jobs and industries of the future
20 May, 2024

Media contact

Matt Levinson

A new report today urges government to secure the jobs and industries of the future, with five key actions to fire up powerhouse innovation districts like Liverpool, Macquarie Park, Randwick, Tech Central and Westmead.  

‘The Role of Government in Innovation Districts’ report was produced by the Committee for Sydney, Property Council of Australia NSW Division and Business NSW to focus attention on Sydney’s nationally significant innovation district network. 

Jeremy Gill, Head of Policy, Committee for Sydney: “Innovation districts are key to our state’s economic future, but they’re facing serious challenges due to a lack of engagement from government.  

“Places like Tech Central and Westmead are where Sydney’s future inventions and world-beating companies will be created. Without NSW Government support, these districts will struggle to reach their full potential, and Sydney will be beaten by other cities around Australia.  

“This isn’t hypothetical – just last week the federal government co-invested $940m into Psi Quantum in Queensland, despite Sydney having some of the best quantum minds in the world, including Australian of the Year, Professor Michelle Simmons AO.  

“We’ve already lost our fair share of GST in the federal budget, but we can still secure our share of the $23bn Future Made in Australia program. 

“NSW represents a third of Australia’s population – we need a government with a plan to secure $7.5bn in federal investments with a significant share directed into innovation districts to create the next wave of advanced manufacturing and clean-tech innovations. 

“Any less will mean the future of Australian technology moving north and south to Brisbane and Melbourne.” 

Daniel Hunter, CEO of Business NSW: “Innovation districts are not just hubs of creativity and technology; they are the bedrock of our future economy. By fostering an environment where entrepreneurs and businesses can thrive, these districts contribute significantly to economic diversification and job creation across NSW. 

“Business NSW strongly advocates for ongoing investment in the state’s innovation districts. It is essential for nurturing an ecosystem that supports startups and provides them with the resources necessary to innovate and grow.  

“We believe that such strategic focus will not only drive business confidence but also secure long-term economic resilience and prosperity for NSW. 

“Supporting innovation districts in Western Sydney is a commonsense way to create thousands of well paying, local jobs closer to where people live in Sydney and help address the jobs deficit in Sydney’s outer suburbs.”

Katie Stevenson, Property Council of Australia NSW Executive Director: “Innovation Districts are petri dishes for the ideas and insights that grow to shape society as a whole — but these do not come about of their own accord.  

“These hubs need to be supported by social and other infrastructure, and the encouragement of both local and international private sector investment. This is where government comes in.  

“Government is a critical enabler of and investor in our innovation districts and precincts, without which our entrepreneurial culture would stall. Hand in hand with industry, the NSW Government is responsible for creating the right policy environment to support our innovation and technology ecosystem. The Property Council is pleased to see the Minns government’s commitment to doing so.”  

Sydney has a nationally significant network of innovation districts, globally competitive tech and engineering talent, and it’s listed in the top 15 cities worldwide for deep tech and top 20 for financial centres. 

Notes for editors: 

The Innovation Districts Alliance includes Committee for Sydney, Property Council of Australia (NSW Division), Business NSW, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Connect Macquarie Park Innovation District, Campbelltown Health and Education Precinct, Liverpool Innovation Precinct, Macquarie University, University of New South Wales, University of Sydney and University of Technology Sydney.  

The new report on ‘The Role of Government in Innovation Districts’ puts forward five key actions:  

  1. Commit to innovation districts as critical engines of economic growth in NSW – and provide dedicated leadership to push them forward. 
  2. Flexible policy and spatial planning – enable these key precincts to quickly evolve with changing needs and competing priorities. 
  3. Align with federal priorities – we’re competing with the world’s great cities, we need to work together and align with federal schemes to accelerate innovation.  
  4. Boost funding to make NSW’s innovation districts more competitive – and allocate funding to lift up our diverse communities.  
  5. Integrated planning and transport around innovation districts – to ensure social infrastructure benefits deliver for the broader community.