Central Station revitalisation
Central Station is one of the major gateways to Sydney and the Sydney Business Chamber believes this precinct needs to capitalise on the city’s economic success by providing additional commercial, residential and public space, as well as a world-class transport solution across Sydney.
The NSW Government announced the redevelopment and revitalisation of the station and surrounds in order to unlock growth and implement outstanding public transport connectivity.
In 2016 and 2017, the Chamber held forums on the Central Station precinct and the opportunities integrated station development could bring.
Western Sydney Airport
A new airport at Badgerys Creek has been a development about which the Sydney Business Chamber, Western Sydney has long-advocated. The Chamber has been the leading voice on this high profile issue since its formation. The Chamber led a coalition of business and community organisations to mount a campaign to lobby Government about the substantial economic, tourism and job creation benefits the airport would bring to the region.
Since the Federal Government’s decision to build the Western Sydney Airport, the Chamber has been a leading proponent for industry development around the airport.
The Chamber commissioned a report into the possibility of an aerotropolis and held a major airport conference.
In August 2017, the Federal Government confirmed it would establish a Government-owned company, the Western Sydney Airport Co Limited (WSA Co), to assist in the design and construction of the airport. Construction will begin in February 2018.
The Chamber hosted its second airport conference in November 2017 with Federal Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian among the guest speakers.
Parramatta Light Rail
Sydney Business Chamber, Western Sydney identified the route from Westmead to Strathfield, via Parramatta CBD as essential to transforming the region. The eight kilometre stretch between Westmead and Sydney Olympic Park was recognised as a valuable corridor with light rail linking four hospitals, two universities and two stadiums as well as servicing the growing residential and business population.
Together with stakeholders in the precinct, The Chamber advocated for the route, which was influential in the NSW Government announcing it as the preferred route. The Chamber continues to work with stakeholders to ensure the government keeps its commitment to the Parramatta Light Rail. Stage two of the project has been announced with the route leading to Sydney Olympic Park.
Bringing together leading business and community organisations, the Sydney Business Chamber, Western Sydney profiled the strong support that existed in the region for the relocation of the Museum of Contemporary Arts and Sciences (MAAS) to Parramatta. The campaign was part of a bigger campaign to address underinvestment in Arts funding across Western Sydney that included commissioning a report Building Western Sydney’s Cultural Arts Economy. The Museum is expected to be a catalyst for the growth of the knowledge economy of Western Sydney over the next three decades by supporting research and learning in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The NSW Government in late July 2017 made the decision to move the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta and together with the City of Parramatta to increase investment to grow the cultural arts economy of western Sydney.
Further, Riverside Theatre was allocated $100 million for its redevelopment.
Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels
The introduction of Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels (IHAPS) for all Sydney councils was something the Sydney Business Chamber had long advocated and in August 2017, the NSW Government passed legislation to mandate IHAPS for Sydney and Wollongong Councils, for all developments between $5 million and $30 million.
The Chamber argued that IHAPS would enhance the integrity of decision-making for participants of the system and will give confidence in local planning processes. The planning panels would also ensure assessment was undertaken by qualified professionals and would take the politics out of development determinations.
Panels have successfully been used by individual councils for a number of years, providing independent, transparent and skilled assessment of development applications and it made sense to mandate their use across the city.
Working Harbour and the revitalisation of the Sydney Fish Market
The NSW Government intends to transform the White Bay Power Station and Glebe Island into a mixed-use innovation district.
The Sydney Business Chamber in 2016 hosted a forum on the issues around maintaining Sydney Harbour as a “working” harbour and has engaged with a number of government agencies on the issues that arose from the forum.
Since then, Infrastructure NSW undertook an Independent Review of the role of Glebe Island. The review concluded that Glebe Island had a vital role in Sydney’s construction supply-chain and focused on the importance of maintaining an existing port and capacity to co-exist with an innovation district or relocate these functions elsewhere.
Complementing the port and bulk construction materials operations on Glebe Island, White Bay will continue to accommodate cruise vessels as well as maritime industry (contractors and vessel repair) and event management requiring quay-line (such as fireworks events).
The Chamber considers this as an important advocacy win.
In addition to this, the Chamber called for the redevelopment of the Sydney Fish Market in order to enhance its role as a key destination in the visitor economy.
In November 2016, the NSW Government announced the revitalisation of the market within the Bays Precinct was on its agenda.
Westmead Innovation Precinct
As one of the founding members of the Westmead Alliance, a partnership of councils, hospitals, research institutions and universities Sydney Business Chamber, Western Sydney initiated and commissioned the Westmead Innovation District report, which made the case for the potential for the precinct to generate 50,000 additional jobs by 2036. The report has become the foundation document to guide and drive the development of the precinct. Profiling the precinct in the media and activities of the Chamber and Westmead Alliance partners has resulted in increased government attention and funding with Westmead recently designated a Priority Precinct and the creation of a Westmead Cluster Champion to drive jobs and private investment in the precinct.
Sydney Cruise Industry
The Sydney Business Chamber as part of its Working Harbour Strategy called on the NSW and Federal Governments to work together to resolve the shortage of berths east of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to strengthen NSW’s economic share of the cruise industry.
The NSW Government included in its 2017 State Budget the development of a Cruise Ship Development Plan.
The Government in July 2017 established a cruise industry reference group including industry and government representatives, to recommend ways to address the lack of space for cruise ships.
Recommendations are due late this year (2017).
Sydney Modern Museum
The planned expansion of the Art Gallery of NSW will give visitors to the precinct a reason to linger around longer. The Sydney Business Chamber has long called for extra space after observing that Sydney was missing major exhibitions to Brisbane and Melbourne because there was no room.
But in June 2017, the NSW Government allocated $244 million for the Sydney Modern Museum, which would not only assist the gallery to achieve its potential to be Australia’s pre-eminent art museum but will play a vital role in the Sydney visitor economy.
Boxing Day Trading
Sydney Business Chamber, Western Sydney has pushed for Boxing Day trading hours in Western Sydney to align with trading hours in the Sydney CBD.
In the past two years, the region participated in a Boxing Day trading trial and in August 2017, the NSW Government announced it would move to legislate to allow Boxing Day trade to continue in Western Sydney and across the state.
This decision will see Western Sydney shoppers enjoy the Boxing Day sales and increase economic activity.