With a transformative City Deal underway, billions pouring into infrastructure projects and key industrial land unlocked, the economic fundamentals of Western Sydney remain “incredibly strong,” says the Property Council’s Ross Grove.
Three key takeaways:
A slew of government programs and stimulus support in response to COVID-19 will accelerate development, deliver billions to the local economy and thousands of jobs, says Grove, the Property Council’s regional director for Western Sydney.
Last month, the federal government announced it would inject an additional $3.5 billion into the $11 billion Sydney Metro Western Sydney Airport rail, with construction to kick-off later this year. The 23-kilometre metro line will include six metro stations, two servicing the new airport.
The NSW Government also recently agreed to rezone 850 hectares of industrial land as part of the Mamre Road precinct “after three years of advocacy on the part of the Property Council,” Grove says.
“The property industry generates more than $14.2 billion in economic activity across Western Sydney. Our industry accounts for more than one in 10 local jobs across the Western Sydney region,” Grove says.
“This was a key priority for our industrial committee. Sydney hasn’t released enough industrial land to keep up with market. This has driven up costs and sent key players to other capital cities.”
Mamre Road, part of the 11,200-hectare Western Sydney Aerotropolis, promises to generate around 5,200 construction jobs and 17,000 ongoing jobs when fully developed and will respond to growing demand for last-mile logistics, onshore manufacturing and automated warehouses.
A new $80 million Western Sydney Construction Hub will be located at the existing Kingswood TAFE NSW campus, delivering specialised training for 700 new students each year by 2023.
Five councils – Blacktown, The Hills, Parramatta, Camden, Campbelltown and Canterbury Bankstown – have signed up to the NSW Government’s accelerated assessment program and Grove says this will improve transparency, fast-track assessment and “lead to billions of dollars of new projects for Western Sydney”.
The NSW Government’s $70 million Accelerated Infrastructure Fund is also co-funding 14 infrastructure projects within two councils. Under the scheme, developer contributions are capped at $50,000 per dwelling until the end of the year. “This is good news for the property industry,” Grove adds.
Meanwhile, construction of Stage 1 of the Parramatta Light Rail, set to open in 2023, continues apace.
“Restrictions have allowed the construction program to move ahead. They’ve taken advantage of reduced traffic movements in the CBD to get ahead of the game, and as the workforce returns to Parramatta there will be less disruption.”
Parramatta remains an area of “huge opportunity”, Grove adds, pointing to low office vacancy rate and landmark office projects in the pipeline.
Parramatta’s office vacancy rate of 3.2 per cent was ahead of all other commercial office centres in NSW, according to the January issue of the Property Council’s Office Market Report.
Walker Corporation’s $3.2 billion Parramatta Square – one of the largest urban renewal projects in the country – “shows no signs of slowing”. The GPT Group’s tower at 32 Smith Street is pre-committed, Grove adds. And the new Powerhouse Museum represents the largest investment in arts and culture in the state since the Sydney Opera House. “Parramatta is still going to be a very strong city.”
Grove’s message is upbeat.
“The fundamentals of Western Sydney are still strong. Our population is still growing, we’ll still have an airport and governments are rolling out infrastructure to support that. Parramatta will still be a vibrant commercial hub. The long game for Western Sydney is strong enough to weather the storms in the short term.”