Job creation in Sydney's west critical
Sydney's biggest urban issue is traffic congestion linked to inadequate infrastructure. About 200,000 people set off daily from western Sydney heading to jobs in the east. This daily mass migration creates queues on trains and buses, bottlenecks on the roads and wastes hours for each traveller.
If nothing is done to redress the commuter flow from west to east, then over the next 20 years the number of those affected could rise to more than 300,000.
The most important single change that could help the whole of Sydney would be providing large numbers of new jobs in western Sydney. Without this, the the city's transport systems just won't cope.
The Urban Taskforce has worked with key western Sydney developers Goodman, Leighton Properties and Australand, along with the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils, to develop 10 key actions to get more jobs in the west. Urbis research has led to the concept of having an alternative to Sydney's ''global arc'', with a jobs focus on the ''Western Sydney Jobs Diamond''. This is an area connecting Parramatta, Liverpool, Penrith, Rouse Hill and the Employment Lands Precinct.
A new marketing campaign is needed and a strong subregional jobs delivery plan under the new planning system. We need to free up zoning with hybrid and mixed-use zonings. Catalyst projects such as the Moorebank Intermodal of a new second airport at Badgerys Creek can drive new jobs. The NSW government must decentralise more public service jobs to western Sydney, leading to new office buildings. To give focus to the jobs drive, a western Sydney economic development authority needs to be established with real powers and a western Sydney infrastructure and investment fund to ensure the infrastructure supports jobs. Finally, economic incentives need to be put in place to encourage businesses to locate to western Sydney. A critical component of getting more jobs will be to get a greater diversity of jobs. More professional and service industry jobs are needed in the region.
Ultimately, we need more jobs within the industrial estates in western Sydney. But we also need more commercial office buildings and high-tech information technology areas to give a diversity of jobs. The planning system should allow the market to provide jobs where they best serve local needs.
Chris Johnson is the chief executive of the Urban Taskforce.