The West will show Sydney the way
August 21, 2015 12:00am
Tim WilliamsThe Daily Telegraph
Committee For Sydney CEO Tim Williams.
BE in no doubt: the future of Sydney will be determined by what happens in the west and we shape that by what we do today. This is a big story. A story not just of what the west is asking for but what it’s offering.
It is about how in overcoming the challenge of what had been emerging as ‘‘the two Sydneys’’ — one with the top value jobs and the other with the population growth. We need to create one city that’s more balanced but also even more successful.
And one that has not just a second CBD in Parramatta but a new centre of Sydney at the heart of a network of high amenity, high connectivity centres of livability, commerce and education all connected to each other, to the Sydney CBD and of course that key game-changer the airport.
And connected, I add, by world class and fast public transport that will shrink the actual and the mental spaces in our metropolis.
The ambition to do all this animates the excellent and I think transformative agenda set out in Designing Western Sydney.
That’s the first opportunity: a fantastic process of collaboration that has led to a compelling understanding of the task ahead: a spatially specific economic strategy to set us on the road — or is it the light rail — ahead.
The second opportunity is the momentum of Sydney itself and that, whatever we hear to the contrary, this city’s growth is now locked in to virtually double in size by mid century.
The third opportunity is governance. Everybody knows beyond politics that we have good government in NSW with policies and resources to build tomorrow’s Sydney.
The governance reforms around the Greater Sydney Commission and creating bigger, more empowered, metro scale councils are clearly a key opportunity to get the capacity and integration our great city shaping cries out for.
The fourth opportunity is of course the infrastructure boom itself, which the west is actually a key instigator of. There would be no second airport for our global city without Western Sydney coming together to demand it and enable it. There would be no Powerhouse and cultural quarter coming to the west nor light rail projects with Parramatta at their heart.
The fifth opportunity is our people — their diversity, global fluency and increasing skills base. Whereas historically we have seen some concentration of disadvantage in parts of Western Sydney, there is a shift going on in where migrant talent is living. But most of all what we know is this: the opportunity for Sydney starts here.
Tim Williams is CEO of the Committee for Sydney. This is an edited extract of a speech he gave in Parramatta yesterday at the launch of an economic strategy for Western Sydney