This opinion article by Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott was first published in The Australian on Friday 18 June 2021.
The Berejiklian and Morrison governments are driving huge improvements in western Sydney, with $20bn committed to game-changing infrastructure including new road and rail systems. Crucially, this strategic investment also includes a world-leading 24/7 international airport, which is the ticket to unlocking incredible opportunities for western Sydney, NSW and the entire nation.
As chair of the Western Parkland City Authority, I’m honoured to be helping drive these changes.
The Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport and the Western Parkland City – the area between Windsor to Wilton, which includes the jobs and innovation hub known as the Western Sydney Aerotropolis – are opening up new horizons.
Locals will find it easier to get around, to travel, and they’ll benefit from the creation of thousands of jobs. Nationally, world-class agricultural products will be able to reach lucrative overseas markets around the clock.
The region will act as a magnet for new hi-tech, high-productivity industries positioned to dominate the global economy in areas such as space technology, defence, agribusiness and pharma, freight and logistics, health and education. This includes specialised sub-industries such as civil space, unmanned aircraft systems, warehouse and supply chain automation, autonomous vehicles and green buildings.
It will create lasting jobs in areas such as additive manufacturing, carbon fibre composites, precision machining, and automated and digitised manufacturing systems. These technologies will extend the Western Parkland City’s strengths in manufacturing, allowing businesses to expand into high-value markets such as space and satellite systems.
For years, the state and federal governments have been pursuing a quiet transformation of western Sydney but this week the Berejiklian government has put its foot on the accelerator. The injection of more than $1bn to kickstart work on a new city centre, named Bradfield after legendary engineer John Bradfield, will turn what is essentially a massive paddock into the country’s most advanced city.
Just as Bradfield’s most famous project, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, opened up opportunities for a young nation, so too will this visionary development for a new generation of Australians.
Bradfield will be Australia’s first clean-energy hydrogen-ready, cyber-secure, autonomous city with commercial and community facilities including retail, cultural and childcare. Work on the Bradfield City Centre will support thousands of construction jobs. Over time, Bradfield will accommodate up to 17,600 people in ongoing highly skilled jobs and help deliver 200,000 jobs across the Western Parkland City.
The creation of an Advanced Manufacturing Research Facility onsite will provide a centre for global and Australian companies to collaborate with universities on research and development. A key feature is the New Education and Training Model. This initiative will enable undergraduate and graduate students to study specialised TAFE and university micro-credentials at the same time as working in one of the nearby international corporations.
Students will get targeted, relevant and specific qualifications that place them at the top of the queue for new jobs while also meeting the needs of industry. Leading companies, including Hitachi and GE, and institutions are already lining up to be part of this. CSIRO will locate its Sydney headquarters there.
And we are seeing other parts of Sydney’s west become magnets for commerce and people, including the ABC announcing its intention to relocate 300 employees to new facilities in Parramatta.
NSW has once again proven it is open for business. It is a template for the rest of the nation, with purpose-led government, decisive leadership and genuine investment driving a new golden era of prosperity.
Jennifer Westacott is chief executive of the Business Council of Australia and chair of the Western Parkland City Authority.