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Western Sydney: vital for the economic health of all of Australia

Matt Coetzee

Matt Coetzee, Aurecon Global Leader for Environmental and Planning

21 June 2017 - The importance of the Western Sydney region to NSW’s future is reflected in the substantial investment being made by the NSW Government into the region.

According to Matt Coetzee, Aurecon’s Global Leader of Environment and Planning, this reflects the Government’s view that Western Sydney is a vital economic hub not just for the State, but for all of Australia. Vital to this outcome, however, is a planning approach that is integrated, well-articulated, inclusive and capable of being implemented.

Western Sydney is already home to over a quarter of NSW’s population, and the NSW State Budget estimates that the region will add an additional one million people over the next 20 years to the existing two million currently living in the region. It also forecasts that the new Western Sydney Airport will inject some $1.9 billion into the local economy, and create some 60,000 new jobs. This presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create long-term benefits for the community of Western Sydney, Sydney itself and New South Wales.

According to Coetzee, similar major developments have failed, most commonly due to inadequate or inappropriate decision-making structures. The NSW Government’s Western Sydney Cities Deal agreement with the Federal Government is another innovative approach to planning and investment that could have a huge impact on the success of development across Western Sydney.

“The Cities Deal is an incentive programme that integrates all three levels of government and the private sector to drive development,” said Coetzee.

“It follows a process, underpinned by inclusive, transparent and comprehensive decision-making, to facilitate an increase in infrastructure investment, including public transport projects, a programme of employment and investment attraction, improved housing affordability and improved environmental and liveability outcomes, and should be a model for other regional development initiatives.

“One of the most important aspects of the Cities Deal is the co-ordination between governments to deliver reforms that better integrate infrastructure, land use, housing, stakeholder needs, investment and environmental planning decisions. This co-ordination provides the framework for holistic decision-making that allows for better quality solutions, consistency, clarity for investors and helps to avoid bureaucratic blockages,” he said.

“At its core, it provides greater opportunity to actively integrate community stakeholders into the planning and development process. One cannot underestimate the importance of this for long-term viability and performance of this development, and therefore the benefits it will deliver to NSW,” he said.

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