Property Council puts western Sydney in COVID recovery spotlight

Picture: Shutterstock
Picture: Shutterstock

The Property Council has made a number of key recommendations for the NSW Government to safeguard western Sydney's construction industry future as we bounce back from COVID-19.

Western Sydney Director Ross Grove said his recommendations followed on from the recent $5 billion WestInvest Fund, which he welcomed, but said "we need to have recommendations in place to ensure the money is spent wisely and is not treated like an open cheque book."

His first recommendation was to unlock the North West Growth Area.

"We applaud the NSW Government on the continuation of the Accelerated Infrastructure Fund to continue the flow of infrastructure to the North West Growth Area, spanning parts of The Hills and Blacktown local government areas," he said.

"We note that further growth opportunities are 'paused' pending a review of floodplain management announced earlier this year. When the review is complete, we encourage the government to adopt and implement any recommendations that would enable planning proposals to continue.

"This may mean the NSW Government needs to make some critical decisions around major infrastructure projects including the Castlereagh Connection Motorway route, the Tallawong to St Marys rail link, and potentially the raising of the Warragamba Dam wall."

Secondly, he said opportunities abound to expand the NSW Government's Communities Plus program to continue the renewal of public housing stock across the region in partnership with the private sector.

"Telopea is undergoing a long-term transformation, where 600 ageing social housing dwellings will be transformed into a vibrant mixed community of more than 1000 social and affordable dwellings, and around 2500 private homes. With the light rail set to provide a 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," he said.

Mr Grove said the delivery of business start-up hubs across Liverpool, Blacktown, Penrith and Campbelltown were also important.

"In 2017, the NSW Government announced the establishment of the Sydney Startup Hub, providing a common office premises for new businesses above Wynyard Station to collaborate and get their ideas off the ground. 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."

Mr Grove also encouraged the use of a portion of the WestInvest fund to bring forward the delivery of Liverpool's Fifteenth Avenue Smart Transit Corridor, providing a high frequency dedicated bus link between Liverpool and the new airport.

His final recommendation was increasing funding for the Government's Community Building Partnership Program to $1 million per state electorate in the areas most severely impacted by lockdowns.