Property Australia

Five ways to boost Western Sydney

Karen Jamal Karen Jamal September 28, 2021

The NSW Government’s new $5 billion WestInvest Fund, announced last week, promises to create jobs and growth. The Property Council’s Ross Grove has five ideas to get the biggest bang for buck.

 

  Three key takeaways:

  • The $5 billon WestInvest Fund was made possible following the sale of the NSW Government’s 49% stake in WestConnex for $11.1 billion
  • NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has promised the fund will “rejuvenate local communities with improved parks, better open spaces, giving town centres a boost and providing opportunities to grow”.
  • Property Council Western Sydney director Ross Grove offers five ways to maximise spending: unlock growth areas; expand investment in social housing; invest in business start-ups; fast-track transport links and expand successful community grants programs.

 

The new WestInvest Fund will allocate $3 billion to projects that upgrade parks, urban and green space and local sporting grounds, modernise schools and high streets, enhance arts and cultural facilities and clear local traffic.

The remaining $2 billion will be reserved for high priority projects that will be developed in consultation with local communities.

The Property Council Western Sydney director Ross Grove has five key recommendations to “ensure the money is spent wisely and is not treated like an open check book”. These are:

 

  1. Unlock the North West Growth Area

Sydney’s North West Growth Area, which spans parts of The Hills and Blacktown local government areas, is becoming an increasingly popular place to live.

But in March, NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes pressed pause on billions of dollars of new residential development pending a review of floodplain management.

“When the review is complete, we encourage the government to adopt and implement any recommendations that would enable planning proposals to continue,” Grove says.

The NSW Government may need to “make some critical decisions” around major infrastructure projects, like the Castlereagh Connection Motorway route, the Tallawong to St Marys rail link, “and potentially the raising of the Warragamba Dam wall,” Grove notes.

 

  1. Expand Communities Plus

The NSW Government’s $22 billion Communities Plus program is renewing the state’s social housing portfolio. Grove says “opportunities abound” to expand program 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 says.

“Telopea is undergoing a long-term transformation, where 600 ageing social housing dwellings will be transformed into a vibrant mixed community of more than 1,000 social and affordable dwellings and around 2500 private homes.

“With the light rail set to connect 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.”

 

  1. Invest in business start-up hubs

The Sydney Startup Hub, launched in 2017, provides more than 17,000 sqm of space across 11 floors above Wynyard Station. New businesses can collaborate with some giants of industry – Microsoft, Caltex, Optus and Westpac among them – to get their ideas off the ground.

Grove urges the NSW Government to replicate the model in Liverpool, Blacktown, Penrith and Campbelltown.

“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.”

 

  1. Fast track Liverpool’s Fifteenth Avenue Smart Transit Corridor

Grove says a portion of the WestInvest fund should provide a high frequency dedicated bus link between Liverpool and the new Western Sydney International Nancy-Bird Walton Airport.

“With just 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,” Grove notes.

“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 will deliver benefits well before the airport opens to the public.”

 

  1. Boost the Community Building Partnerships program

The Community Building Partnership program has, introduced in 2009 as a stimulus measure during the global financial crisis, has awarded more than $362 million to more than 16,600 small, community-based projects.

Grove calls on the state government to increase funding to $1 million per electorate in the areas most severely impacted by lockdowns.

“The program delivers practical social and economic benefits to impacted local communities, and the localised assessment ensures funds are distributed efficiently for the maximum benefit.”

 

Grove says the property industry stands ready to support the delivery of WestInvest projects. “Across Western Sydney, property and construction accounts for a staggering $19 billion in economic activity and 121,465 full-time equivalent jobs. As we emerge from lockdowns we need to ensure our economy rebounds as quickly as possible.”

Tags: CITIES