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Western Sydney will be the land of opportunity

The Daily Telegraph: op-ed

The new Bradfield City Centre will change the future of Sydney and help drive Australia’s economy to the frontier.

Located next to the new Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport, this development will forever transform the way this city lives, works and identifies itself.

This isn’t about a single building or development, it’s another step towards creating a new city that attracts new investment, creates new cutting industries and delivers new, better paid and more diverse jobs closer to home for those in Western Sydney.

The monumental investment and decisions that led to yesterday’s milestone will improve the lives of the people in Western Sydney and build a foundation for Australia’s success.

Like the decision to build Western Sydney’s first airport. Not a budget airport, but what will become one of Australia’s biggest and most technologically advanced.

Then there’s the critical decision not to give away the land around the airport for more housing and urban sprawl.

Instead, a decision to reverse a 200-year trend of putting in housing before jobs and infrastructure by building a 22nd Century City which will be the Indo-Pacific’s magnet for new advanced industries, new investment, and high skilled jobs.

And the decision to have a City Deal between all three levels of government, underpinned by more than 20 billion dollars of investment in roads and rail. This includes the 11-billion-dollar commitment to build the metro rail project which links St Marys to the airport and the airport to Bradfield City Centre.

The decision to create the Western Parkland City Authority to overcome historical problems of piecemeal decision-making by coordinating the infrastructure, attracting investment and driving world class urban renewal.

Another decision to activate Bradfield with an injection of over one-billion-dollars for enabling works such as roads, rail, water and utilities. And the decision to bring the universities of NSW, Western Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong together in a unique new alliance to deliver the skills and research that will attract new industries.

As well as the decision to make Australia’s world-leading science organisation, the CSIRO the anchor tenant at Bradfield.

But these decisions are not about buildings or dollars. They are about leadership from both sides of politics and at all levels of government.

They are about the grit and determination to stare down the people who don’t live in Western Sydney but who constantly object to these projects.

We’ve heard enough from them. It’s time to dial into Western Sydney, our nation’s third largest economy.

The Parkland City area, which includes the Blue Mountains, Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Liverpool, Penrith and Wollondilly, is one of the fastest growing in Australia. By 2036, it will make up more than a quarter of the state’s entire population growth.

By 2056, the Parkland City is expected to be home to two million people - five times the size of Canberra!

We are too big to ignore. It’s time Western Sydney took the limelight, and secured the infrastructure, investment and funding it deserves. 15 to 30 per cent of all new infrastructure spending to be precise, in keeping with the share of the State’s population it is expected to accommodate

The decisions I’ve outlined are reversing decades of historical unfairness. 

For every 100 jobs in Greater Sydney, 40 of those are in the eastern city and just 15 are in the Parkland City. This forces people in Western Sydney into long commutes, robbing them of time with their families.

It takes people in Western Sydney almost twice as long to get to their jobs than it does for people living in the eastern city.

None of this is fair and it changes now. With a new city centre in Bradfield, with the new airport, with the $20 billion being invested across the Parkland City on projects to improve liveability, opportunity and connection.

The cumulative impact of the work being undertaken is truly visionary and now a reality. For all of us.

Jennifer Westacott AO
Western Parkland City Authority