Chris Johnson

By Donna Kelly

9 August 2012 – The Urban Taskforce Australia is continuing its campaign to free up development in Sydney by pushing for more work locations in western Sydney, as a way to ease commuter congestion.

In a report just released, the Urban Taskforce found the most?e the number of daily commuters heading from western Sydney to other parts of the city.

Chief executive officer Chris Johnson said every day 200,000 people made the journey with the figure likely to rise to 300,000 by 2031 unless “major actions” were taken to “dramatically increase jobs” in Western Sydney.

“If most of these commuters worked in western Sydney we would dramatically reduce the congestion on Sydney’s roads and the public transport system as well providing more time with families,” he said.

“To change a jobs deficit of this order will require some high level actions from the NSW Government but the gains will be to the whole city. In particular the enormous cost of infrastructure to cope with mass movement can be minimised.”

Mr Johnson said the Urban Taskforce had developed a 10-point plan by working with consultants Urbis and a number of on the ground developers of job-related facilities in western Sydney.

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils had also been involved in discussions about the importance of generating more jobs for the region, he said.

The 10-actions are:

  • the creation of a Western Sydney “Jobs Diamond”
  • more diverse jobs; a marketing campaign
  • the development of a sub-regional jobs delivery plan
  • more flexible zoning
  • catalyst projects such as a second Sydney airport at Badgery’s Creek
  • government office decentralisation
  • a Western Sydney Infrastructure and Investment Fund
  • development of a Western Sydney Economic Development Authority
  • economic incentives for businesses.
  • See the The Urban Taskforce Australia fact sheet on the 10 Actions

“Planning bodies often talk about the ‘Global Arc’ of high order jobs flowing from Sydney Airport through the city to Macquarie University,” he said.

“We are proposing to balance this with the Western Sydney ‘Jobs Diamond’ where the region’s most important jobs will be located. The diamond will have the major cities of Parramatta, Penrith and Liverpool as well as major university and health campuses and key employment land areas.”

Mr Johnston said the taskforce supported a call for a development authority for Western Sydney along with the establishment of a Western Sydney Infrastructure Investment Fund to provide a coordinated approach for levies and funding.

A new second airport at Badgery’s Creek could also be a catalyst for many jobs in the region, he said.

“The nature of work is changing fast in the internet age and planning rules need to encourage mixed use and hybrid zoning to allow a variety of jobs to be established,” Mr Johnston said.

“More public service jobs must be relocated to Western Sydney which is where many staff live.

“The NSW Government should survey their workforce and then decide where the best location for decentralised offices will be. Blacktown, for instance, has a shortfall of 50,000 jobs and some of this could be reversed by locating government jobs in the town centre.”