- Property and construction account for about $19B of economic activity in Western Sydney
- Western Sydney director of the industry body has outlined five key recommendations
With property and construction industries accounting for $19 billion in economic activity across Western Sydney, supporting about 121,465 jobs, the Property Council of Australia (PCA) has announced recommendations to safeguard Western Sydney’s recovery from Covid.
Ross Grove, PCA Western Sydney Director, outlined five key recommendations he said would safeguard the area’s future following on from the $5 billion WestInvest Fund.
Firstly, Mr Grove said the North West Growth Area must be unlocked.
“Western and southwestern Sydney is doing it tough,” he said.
“Restrictions on movement, family connectedness and artificially restricted employment options are driving many local families to the breaking point – and as we emerge from lockdowns we need to ensure our economy rebounds as quickly as possible.”
The Property Council has welcomed the Accelerated Infrastructure Fund which will continue the flow of major projects to the North West Growth Area, which spans The Hills and Blacktown local government areas.
“We note that further growth opportunities are ‘paused’ pending a review of floodplain management announced earlier this year,” added Mr Grove.
“When the review is complete, we encourage the government to adopt and implement any recommendations that would enable planning proposals to continue.”
He said this may require the New South Wales government to reconsider critical decisions around major infrastructure projects such as the Castlereagh Connection Motorway route, the Tallawong to St Marys rail link, and the raising of the Warragamba Dam wall.
Public housing on the agenda
Mr Grove said the NSW government’s Communities Plan should be expanded to renew public housing stock across the area in partnership with the private sector.
“As our city grows, it is important to ensure the growth works for everyone and we don’t leave anyone behind. Our region hosts several ageing social housing estates that no longer meet the evolving needs of social housing tenants like they once did,” he said.
He noted Telopea is undertaking a significant transformation whereby 600 ageing social housing dwellings will be transformed into a mixed community of over 1,000 social and affordable dwellings with 2,500 private homes.
“With the light rail set to provide a Telopea with Parramatta I’m particularly excited about the suburb’s future – we need more of this approach across other parts of Western Sydney too,” he said.
Mr Grove said it was important to deliver business startup hubs across Liverpool, Blacktown, Penrith and Campbelltown.
“In 2017, the NSW Government announced the establishment of the Sydney Startup Hub, providing a common office premises for new businesses above Wynyard Station to collaborate and get their ideas off the ground.”
“We understand a similar model is being pursued within the Parramatta CBD and encourage its expansion to smaller office spaces at commercial centres across the region.”
Transport and community funding
He also said a portion of the WestInvest fund should be used to bring forward the delivery of Liverpool’s Fifteenth Avenue Smart Transit Corridor by providing a high-frequency bus link between Liverpool and the new airport.
“With a fraction of the infrastructure spend, Liverpool has the potential to provide the same public transport access to the new airport as the metro line from St Marys,” he said.
“This is a project which has progressed with support from both the NSW Government and Liverpool City Council. With the appropriate funding brought forward, its construction can be expedited and it’ll deliver benefits well before the airport opens to the public.”
Lastly, he has suggested increasing the funding for the Community Building Partnership program to $1 million per state electorate in areas that have been the most severely impacted by the lockdowns.
“The Community Building Partnership Program was introduced as a stimulus measure during the Global Financial Crisis to ensure small projects were being delivered by community-based organisations across the state.
“It delivers practical social and economic benefits to impacted local communities, and the localised assessment ensures funds are distributed efficiently for the maximum benefit.”