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Liverpool Round Table. Liverpool Round Table. Featured


Transformation and opportunities 
FOLLOWING is an edited transcript of the recent Access News Australia Round Table hosted by Liuverpool City Council on the subject: Liverpool: A Global City.
Mayor Wendy Waller: Good morning everybody. Welcome to our Round Table.We hope you get a lot out of today. I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land and pay my respects to elders past and present.  
Jim Taggart:  Well, Madam Mayor, thank you for that introduction.  And a very warm welcome to each and every one of you. I’m really delighted to be here and facilitate what I think is going to be one of the most exciting ones in terms of the various stakeholders around the table that I’ve entertained. Can I just say, Madam Mayor, congratulations on taking this step.  It’s a very exciting time for you and your team. Ok so let’s start with the introductions. Michael, I’ll start with you. 
Michael Walls:  So my name is Michael Walls. I’m a newspaper editor, publisher and journalist. I’ve worked in News Corp and Fairfax.  I’ve worked for universities, managing media and publiucations including UNSW and AGSM.  These days I publish Western Sydney Business Access and Central Coast Business Access. We also have an interest in several online businesses. We’ve been doing these Round Tables for about 4 years now and we’ve done about 35 of them and Jim has been Chairman of most of them.  So, thank you to Liverpool Council for working with us today on this one.  
Jeff Gibbs:  My name is Jeff Gibbs. I’m the Chief Operating Officer of Moorebank Sports Club.  I’ve been working there for about 10 years.  We’re a club that’s grown over the last 10 years. And I’m glad to be here today.
Jim Taggart: Thanks Jeff. Diane?
Diane Wells:  I am an accountant and I live in Casula and work from home. But today, my hat is I’m the treasurer of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce.  So, I’ll be at all of you to make sure you’re all members.
Jim Taggart: Thanks.
Pat Hall: I’m Pat Hall. I’m the CEO of Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections. We look after about 22,000 people anually in Community Centres. We run social enterprises, things like that.
Jim Taggart: Thank you.
Mark Roberts: I’m Mark Roberts, Senior Manager, Strategic Projects, University of Wollongong.  I suppose, relative to other organisations around the table, we’re a new member of the Liverpool family.  Hopefully out of today’s discussions, I suppose, some of the perspectives from an outside organisation looking in at what we saw as some of the opportunities here.
Jim Taggart: Thank you, Mark.
Amanda Larkin: I’m Amanda Larkin. I’m the Chief Executive of South Western Sydney Local Health District, of which Liverpool is our Tertiary facility. Probably for Liverpool, we are one of the biggest employers locally – but more importantly, a driver in terms of I feel around Liverpool’s future. Our relationships and partnerships with the universities and also the businesses, I think are critical going forward. I think there is significant priority on what Liverpool will look like from a health and education perspective in the next 5, 10 years.  And I think it’s a really exciting time. I have no qualms to say to you: this needs to be the best hospital in Australia. It has absolutely the potential for that in terms of what it’s doing at the moment. Our partnerships with UNSW have been long and deep.  And probably with Liverpool itself, we would be one of your longest standing institutions, and we stand proud in terms of delivery of services for a community that, in south western Sydney, over the next probably 5 to 10 years will be well over a million.
Jim Taggart: Thank you, Amanda. I’ll just briefly say I’m Deputy Chairman of the Regional Development Board for Sydney. I sit on 3 councils in their audit and risk committees.  I teach at Notre Dame part time.  I’m retired.  I have 7 beautiful grandchildren.  So, really, that’s more important than all the other stuff. It’s just to give you some idea of what I do.  I’ve been involved with the Salvation Army for the last 23 years and have done lots of different things. So I’m very delighted to be part of Western Sydney. Thank you, Madam Mayor.
Mayor Wendy Waller: I’m Wendy Waller, Mayor of the City and grandmother to 10 – and the youngest is sitting next to me. They’re all girls. No boys. Liverpool is very much I think a city on the move.  I have to say, since the election in September – and I’m not being political – there’s been a real change in tempo and change in what’s happening.  And I think we’ve gone from just looking at buildings being built to a lot more structure and a bit more community focus but also issues that mean a lot to all of us, but also to our residents – plus the employment opportunities which we’re working very hard to get onboard.  And I think we’re having some success with that – and that’s because everybody is working together and we’re all on the same page.  And I think that’s so important that we’re all working together for the same end.
Kiersten Fishburn: I’m Kiersten Fishburn. I know most of you. I’m the Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council. I actually came this morning from doing my staff induction. And, at that, I got to talk about the fact that Local Government, I believe, is the most exciting tier of Government to work in. In my job, you usually get to do everything from speaking to a Federal Minister to inspecting potholes on Fifteenth Avenue – and that’s in the same day. I love the fact that we are very community focussed as a Council and an organisation.  And Pat and I, you know, go back longers than that. I also think that not only is Local Government the best place to work, but Liverpool Council is the most interesting Council to be in.  We are the only Council in Australia that is getting an airport in their back garden just for a start.  You know, not many other Councils are getting a $5.3B investment straight in the back garden.  But we are the seventh largest Council in NSW.  And that will increase in size and scale.  We’re the second fastest growing population in NSW, next to Camden which is next door to us. And we are the second most multi cultural, next to Fairfield which is next door to us on the other side. So we have some really interesting dynamics at play in our Local Government Area, along with all of the things that Amanda mentioned in terms of the growth, and the hospital, and the education sector. So, that’s my booster speech.  I’m kind of Booster In Chief.  And I think, you know, thank you for being here and sharing the Liverpool journey with us.
Jim Taggart: Theo?
Theo Psychogios: I’m Theo Psychogios. I’m a Partner with Deloitte, and I lead the Economic and Commercial Advisory Practice in Western Sydney for the firm, and was the lead author on a piece we put out about 18 months ago called Shaping Future Cities, which was a focus on trying to create 200,000 jobs in Western Sydney and which we were very lucky to have a great patronage from both representatives of Liverpool and all the Western Sydney communities, and very large organisations.  So, we feel very invested in this region  and looking to see its prosperity and its opportunity fully realised.
Jim Taggart: Thanks Theo. Peter?
Peter Hutchings:  I’m Peter Hutchings from Western Sydney University.  I’m here in the capacity of being the Provost with responsibility for the development of our Liverpool Campus, which is an offshoot of my other role which has been Provost at our Bankstown Campus. So, the University is strongly committed to a vision around developing education for Liverpool, and the employment opportunities,  not just having a teaching campus.  We’ve also got a Business Incubator as part of that campus.  So that’s an important element of what we’re hoping to do.
Jim Taggart: Thanks Peter.
Tony Kelleher:  Tony Kelleher. I’m representing the University of NSW.  I’m currently the Acting Dean of Medicine.  I’m a Clinical Immunologist by training.  And I’ve been caught up doing translational research with impact on affected communities. So, the University of NSW has this 2025 strategy, which we’re a couple of years into. And one of the underpinning parts of that strategy is for the University to be outward looking and to impact on affected communities.  And, as a Doctor and as the Dean of Medicine, I want the University and the Faculty of Medicine to impact on these deprived communities. I think the University of NSW has a track record of doing that very effectively.  And we look to do that more effectively and build on our long term relationship with Liverpool Hospital.  So, we’re very enthusiastic about this.
Jim Taggart: Thank you very much.
Gerard McSpadden: My name is Gerard McSpadden. I work for Abacus Property Group.  We’re a listed Australian real estate investment trust.  We are heavily invested in Liverpool.  We own Liverpool Plaza and a number of other development sites around the LGA.  So, we are into commercial and residential as well.  And I was just saying to Jim this morning that it was just last Friday that our Managing Director and a number of our Directors were sitting around and we had a 2 and a half hour strategy session on one Council – and that was on Liverpool.  We were trying to work out what we were doing, where we were going, what our intentions were with our properties around the site. So, I was really looking forward to partaking in today.  So, thank you for the opportunity.
Jim Taggart:  Very good. And Arthur?
Arthur Inglis: Thank you, Mayor Waller and Kiersten for the opportunity to be here.  Just to introduce our company and myself:  I’m a fifth generation member of a family company. We sell horses. And we’ve been occupying our premises around the corner from the University of NSW for 110 years.  So, that’s certainly before the University was there. Coincidentally, we have been in an area which is devoted now to education, health and research.  That’s part of our programme for Liverpool.  We’ve now been relocated.  So, we have purchased land on Warwick Farm Racecourse – twice as much land as we’ve held before. It’s been a 10 year project planning our relocation. And we’ll be occupying those new premises earlier in the New Year.  We’ll be completing in December. And we have a 144 room 4 and a half star hotel going in as well as auditorium and a lot of event space.  Our launch sale is 800 horses on 10 February.  But our horse sale is actually only occupying our premises for about 10% of the year.  So, the rest of the time will be event space and open for business. We do look forward to working closely with the Council and also all the stakeholders within Liverpool.
Jim Taggart: It is. Ok let’s get started, Madam Mayor, tell us about your city.
Mayor Wendy Waller: Well currently we have over 100 people a week coming into the City.  Unfortunately we’ve got 70% of our population leaving the City to go to work – usually on roads, more than trains.  Our train service, unfortunately because of the adjustment to timetables, has now gotten longer and slower.  We’re seeing employment opportunities arise throughout the LGA.  I’m not too sure of the figures, but they are improving. We are also seeing over 1,400 Development Applications in the pipeline from concept to actually DAs being in the office being considered.
Jim Taggart:  Well me about that, you getting 1,400.  What does that look like, in terms of planning?
Mayor Wendy Waller: Well, from my perspective it’s to ensure we have the right mix of infrastructure:  green space, recreation fields, education, road networks and so on.  We’re playing catch-up at the moment because the planning hasn’t been very good in the past.  And it’s not anybody’s personal fault.  It’s the way that I think things happened.  We have incredible problems with intersections like Hoxton Park Road and Terminus Street, and also Bigge Street.  And other ways of getting in and out of the City are also problematic plus parking in the CBD is always one that everybody has a complaint about. The reality is, the city is growing and will continue to grow. So, we need to fix that infrastructure so that we actually can make sure that people can get in and out, and that they feel safe as well.  Also, the crime figures say we are safe.  So, the perception that we’re having a huge amount of problems with crime, isn’t a reality.  So, we’re a pretty safe city. We’ve now got, as you know, the Universitys in the CBD which will bring a totally different tone to the CBD and start to stimulate, I think, a night life. We’ve reopened the Mall.  But we’ve got some challenges with the birds and the lighting, birds  now eating the lighting bit by bit.  But we are trying to improve the look of the City.  We’re modernising it a little bit.  And I think we’ve achieved that. We’ve also opened a big Splash Park in Bigge Park, which personally I’m again not too sure about. But it is well attended on hot days by little folk – having tested it myself – not personally, but with little folk.  It is quite an interesting facility in the CBD. So, we’re trying to plan for our future as well.  We’ve got the proposal in Scott Street, which is going to be a University and also with the Council Chambers. And we are hoping it’s constructed and finished by 2021. And it’s a big project.  So, being a little cynical and having been in Local Government for over 20 years, we’re watching the time line move out slowly every time we have a briefing.  And also, too, I think in the long term, we’ll probably find that the University will take up most of that space and we’ll probably have to find another home.
Jim Taggart:  The University of Wollongong?
Mayor Wendy Waller: Yes. The Western Sydney University is opening in Masrch I believe.  My old University.  And it will also attract a lot of students to the CBD.  And I’m conscious from the design of that particular venue, there’s a lot of internal comforts for the students as well.  And there’s been offers done with Westfield so they can get a percentage off meals in the Food Court.  So, there will probably be an influx of students within the CBD and the Mall area, which we’re hoping will stimulate night restaurants in the Mall, which would be useful. We are very multi cultural, we have over 150 different nationalities in the area.  And quite harmonious when you look at what happens across the world today. And we also took, I think, was it 30% of the Syrian Refugees?  
Kiersten Fishburn:  Roughly.
Mayor Wendy Waller: I think we’ve managed that process reasonably well, given it is a complex issue.  And a lot of folk have really come to Liverpool, I think with a genuinely open heart. And we run regular Citizenships ceremonies.  We actually have about 80 to 85 – sometimes 90 people – being made Citizens about every 4 to 5 weeks, in Liverpool as well. And I’ll tell you a quick story.Recently, a gentleman got his Citizenship.  He had a little boy with him.  He left the stage – came back for the little boy.  And he said to me:  It’s the first time I’ve had a country to call home.  I’ve been a Refugee all my life. And every time I tell that, I choke up because I thought, well, you know that probably sums up Liverpool.  Liverpool is a home – and while it has all the complexities of business and Universities and work, it is a home.  And I think that’s what we really have to work hard for – is to ensure that it is a place where people can be born, can go to school, can live and work, and have their families, and be very proud.  And I think that’s our main aim.
Jim Taggart: Madam Mayor, we’re going to talk about that in the second part because that’s really the vision of what you’re trying to say.  At the moment, let’s talk about the current state.  And I’m going to shoot to you in a moment, and then to you, Gerard, about your conversation last week in a very general sense about what you think are challenges going forward. Kiersten, can we have your thoughts?
Kiersten Fishburn: I think the Mayor has summarised very well the interesting prospects in Liverpool.  It’s a home.  It’s a very established, it’s a very old City.  It’s the fourth oldest City in Australia, which people forget.  They kind of think of Liverpool as a Here Come Lately and actually it’s been an integral part of Australia’s Defence area for over 200 years.  The Hospital’s been around for over 200 years as well. It’s a very old and established community – contributing as well to the agricultural basin of Sydney since Colonisation – and yet at the same time, it is also one of the fastest growing areas and the economy is shifting rapidly in ways that we couldn’t have predicted a few years ago. I started at Council 6 years ago.  It’s a completely different City in 6 years.  When I came here, I have to admit I came from the City of Sydney and I kind of thought:  What cowboy town have I walked into?  And it was a very differerent environment.  It’s now a much more professional feeling Council and feeling in the community and CBD. Some interesting announcements recently that have reshifted the direction of the City as well – the location of WSA Co, the company that’s going to build the airport, in Liverpool – was an almost immediate game changer.
Kiersten Fishburn:  I just want to conclude with that, by saying the risk, though, is that you leave your community behind while you take advantage of these things.  And that’s the tension for all of us, I think, is making sure that people don’t get left behind.  We do have people who have at the moment low education levels in Liverpool.  And we don’t want to leave them out of this jobs boom that we’re about to see.  So, it’s finding that balance of being the next big City.  And I firmly believe it will be Sydney, Parramatta and Liverpool in a couple of years.  That will be the automatic way that we’re discussed. But we treasure the community we have.  
Jim Taggart: Thank you for that. That’s a really good reflection about what’s happening, particularly in contrast to Parramatta. Gerard, your thoughts on development and going forward. What are the challenges you would have thought about last week with your partners?
Gerard McSpadden:  I’m a Penrith boy.  So I’m born and bred in Penrith.  I now live in the Inner West.  But I love the west of Sydney.  I’m proud of it.  I tell everybody where I’m from.  And the irony is that there’s always still that “creep” factor.  People go:  Oh, you grew up in Western Sydney.  And from my experience, Liverpool still has a little bit of that stigma as well, when you talk to people from a commercial perspective.  And I start singing its praises. I start telling people how exciting this community is and how dynamic and how much growth economically is going to be happening here. I think the challenge that we’ve got in Liverpool is that we’ve still got a lot of the story to sell.  Most people, if you go east of Parramatta, don’t really understand what’s happening here.  All those stats are fantastic.  I love hearing that residential growth is fantastic.  In retail, that’s exactly what I want to hear.  One of the big challenges, and one of my responsibilities is Liverpool Plaza.  And we’ve got 41 specialty shops in there.  I cannot get anybody of significance interested in going in there from a food perspective because the town, at 4:30, 5 o'clock, shuts down.  It is a ghost town. And you go to Parramatta, 10 or 15 years ago, it was exactly the same from a retail perspective and a food perspective.  And I keep saying:  In 5 years time, this place is going to change.  You can’t get a restaurant to come in and pay you rent or to take on a business for 5 year’s, waiting for that to happen. So, that’s just a loss making exercise for them. 
Jim Taggart:  So, that will come into the second part about opportunity.  Is that what you’re saying?
Gerard McSpadden: Look, the main context of our conversation the other day was:  where is the place heading? What should we do? We’ve got a number of sites in Liverpool.  And we’re an investment house.  We’re actually looking to make money for shareholders, but we’re also looking to be engaged in the community.  And so, that’s why we work closely with the Councils that we’re engaged with.  But, we also have the overlay of:  we’ve still got to run a business, as well.  So, it’s really understanding:  well, what opportunities exist in that community?  What economic opportunities exist.
Jim Taggart: OK. Thanks for sharing that with us. Pat, your thoughts?  22,000 people a year.  That’s a big number.
Pat Hall:  Mostly disadvantaged people. People who do not have high levels of education, people who do not have employment, people who live in social housing or live in housing that their rent takes most of their income – and it’s very hard for them to survive. So, from my point of view, I’ve worked in Liverpool for 30 years.  And I have never been as heartened as what I am now seeing the direction that Liverpool Council’s taken, because community is now back in the forefront of the Council.  That’s really important because the community buys your products, the community goes to your shops – the community.  And even if you don't have much money, you can still go to McDonald’s and buy – not that I think that’s good – but they still spend money. Whether they’re low income or not, they still spend money.  So, they’re still a very important part of Liverpool Council.  And if you don't have education, you’re never going to change the likes of Warwick Farm, where I work. And I really firmly believe in education.  And I work really hard to make sure my community has access to education and employment.  And in fact, we run social enterprises. And we turned over $99,662 last year in our little enterprises.
Jim Taggart:  Is your clientele growing?
Pat Hall: Oh yes, yes.  
Jim Taggart: Tell us about that cohort.
Pat Hall:  I’ve been here 30 years.  And we had third generation unemployed for many years.  Now, we have refugees and migrants.  And their desire to change their lives is amazing to watch.  We have so many different cultures in our centre.  And they want to change their lives.  And they want to be educated.  And they come to me and say:  Thank you, thank you – because they can’t afford to go to TAFE.  They can’t afford to go.  So, we provide enrolment fees through philanthropists.  
Jim Taggart:  So, thanks for sharing those concerns that you have – because, Madam Mayor, 22,000 people is a big number when you’ve got 200,000 here – approximately 5% or whatever it is.  So, it’s a big number.
Pat Hall: Annually. Yes.  
Jim Taggart: Theo, what’s going through your mind?  
Theo Psychogios: Well look, I think what I’ve observed after several years of working in the region is:  perception defines reality.  What I mean by that is people who live and work in Western Sydney get it.  They see it.  And they’re in there.  And up until 2026, the majority of the City’s population isn’t in the west.  But it will tip at that point and will be dominated in the west – or there, statistically. And so, to Gerard’s point, I think part of the challenge of the west in general and Liverpool in this instance is very much about defining what is the reality in people’s minds.  So, statistics are important;  stories are important;  language is important. There’s a big exercise to get the media to think of Western Sydney and Liverpool, in particular. And Amanda, unfortunately the story related to you which should be positive ends up having that negative connotation so often, because of the language that they use. And so, there needs to be a sensitivity given to how that works and how that sets perceptions for people.  I think the thing that strikes me the most, in particular about Liverpool, is that it’s on a see-saw.  Many areas have discrete advantages. They’re really solid and heavily weighted in those areas.  And I think even Liverpool, for every positive, has got a traded-off challenge. A growing population with needs gives you a large base to grow off.  That’s really positive.  But that requires focus to get them there. So, every step forward is partly a step back until you get those building blocks in place.  And to me, the focus on community first.   You’ve got to quarantine, you’ve got to absolutely put “not negotiable” your community space for a couple of reasons. I think it’s entirely unfair that that load that gets loaded onto developers to say, because of planning background – this is not a Council issue – it’s a broader issue: we’ve neglected to do this, we now need you to pay significant levies to go and create areas where that money could be more proactively used in a collaborative way between developers to create amenity and service.  I think that you’ve got to quarantine, and you’ve got to think about the city that you want. When I think about Liverpool, it needs to build a narrative and a physical connection between its river and its airport.  And so, when I think about the City I actually don’t think about the CBD.  I actually think if you start focussing on the CBD – albeit that there is work and it’s a centre that needs to work and needs growth and opportunity – but if that’s where that focus goes, you’ll actually be turning your back on the growth from the river all the way back out.You’ve got to get your town centre right – absolutely.  And Western Sydney centres all have this challenge.  Their town centres have let them down.  But in retrospect, we’ve got to remember too how Western Sydney was made. We’re 70 years later.  We’re now playing catch-up on what was neglected at that point in time.
Jim Taggart: Thanks Theo. Amanda, your thoughts?  I mean, you’re at the cutting edge. And I look at the Universities and so on where there’s strong relationships.  Your thoughts.
Amanda Larkin:  So, I actually want to put a slightly different picture.  Theo, I hear what you say – that it’s very much around language and story.  I also hear Gerard.  I actually don’t think that’s true.   Yes, often Liverpool Hospital is on the front page of the paper or on the front news because there’s been some sort of significant incident.  But there are some absolute jewels in the crown here that people really need to understand that we’ve got. We’ve got a CBD – not like Parramatta, not like Blacktown.  We’ve got a CBD connected to the main transport line.  Roads are a bit of a challenge, I’ve got to say.  That’s one of my issues around in terms of how you get in.  But it’s not unfixable – right?  It’s very fixable. You’ve got a walkable City, where people can get from one end, get off a train and walk to the other end, and actually get there. Councils can’t be looking at that mixed space in the CBD between residential and commercial which, to get a CBD going, you really need both. We’ve got Universities – and I’m talking probably behalf of you, but you’re linked with me – who are absolutely bending themselves over backwards.  If I get one more proposal from a University in terms of “what we’d like to do with the hospital” – I’ve probably never had that much interest in probably the total time that I’ve been down here in the South West – and I’ve done it for a long time. So, there’s this absolute vibe because people understand it’s happening right now.I hear the thing about the West and whatever.  But there is so much that we can actually leverage off here. That’s what we’ve got to talk about. So, from Liverpool’s perspective, we want a health, education and academic precinct.  We want a precinct that’s absolutly very much in commercially with industry who want to come out here and relocate and actually work with us in terms of industry development.  We’ve got some discussions going with Samsung, both from a commercial perspective and a device perspective – but also broadly in terms of the impact that they want to have around health.
Peter Hutchings:  I think it’s fundamental.
Amanda Larkin:   But it’s not going to go anywhere if we have the chip, you know.
Peter Hutchings:  We’ve got to look forward, don’t we?
Amanda Larkin:  And the chip has really got to go.  But, I don't know why we have it, because if you just look at it – all you’ve got to do is to go down the main street and see the University – Western Sydney University.  Like, it’s literally coming out of the ground.  This is not 500 students.  This is 2,500.  
Gerard McSpadden:  But the people who actually are interested in coming here still don’t know the full story.  And, around this table, we absolutely know it.  But what I’m saying is that there is a whole stack of information that you just outlined that needs to be shared about what’s happening in Liverpool.
Amanda Larkin:  Yeah.  But I don't know whether we should be in this continual competition.  You know.  UNSW has had its main focus in Randwick for years.  It’s not going to change that.  But its future is out here, because this is where the population is going to be.
Theo Psychogios:  Two things that sort of I wrote down earlier. Liverpool is the world in one city.  Being able to demonstrate that diversity, that culture – you’ve got multi generations who have been here from other places in the world, the ability to do research into their health outcomes that could be globally relevant is interesting to me.  And it’s going to be Sydney’s Western Gateway to the world.  But those 2 concepts, to me, need to be really reinforced to get the richness of the opportunity that’s here. 
Diane Wills:  But my perspective as a resident, you paint a glowing picture.  But really, the suburbs are good.  Cecil Hills and Casula – you look at them – well planned, developers have had to put in trees and parks.  But Liverpool, the image is just flats. That’s all people see. Flats and a traffic mess. 
Jim Taggart:  The views of business at the moment?  In a general sense.
Diane Wills: Well, there’s very little business in Liverpool, because there’s no commercial.  But, you know, in the future if we can attract it, it may be.  At the moment, there’s very little. They have to go to the suburbs.
Jim Taggart:  Alright.  It’s 20 past 10.  Can you believe, we’ve nearly been going an hour?  The conversation has been very fruitful and I’m trying to get different perspectives.  Jeff, you look after a large organisation.  Tell us about that and where you’re going, and the challenges you have.
Jeff Gibbs:  So, we run a club out in the South East of the LGA.  So we are actually this side of the river.  So, I guess the challenge for us is looking and seeing what Liverpool has to offer and how are we going to grow.  We recently acquired another club.
Jim Taggart:  Does that mean you’re looking?
Jeff Gibbs:  Yep.  So, we recently acquired a club in Kareela.  We’ve purchased land out in Gregory Hills.  So, we’ve got an opportunity.  We’re kind of looking:  do we grow our base.  Now, we love our home.  That’s where we came from.  Our club’s existed since 1994.  It’s where we grew.  We love our membership base.  But we’ve got to look at the opportunities and see where we’re going to invest. So – and all the things I’m hearing are great.  All the things that I’m hearing are really good.  If there’s growth in students, if there’s growth in – and where will they stay?  So, if there’s 5,000 students coming, are they going to stay on campus?  Is that the plan?
Jim Taggart:  You are looking at opportunities?
Jeff Gibbs: So, we’re also a community club.  We know our community really well.  We invest in sporting codes.  We invest in a lot of junior sport.
Jim Taggart:  And Jeff, sorry to interrupt.  But Madam Mayor, I don't know if you know that Moorebank Sports Club just won 2 big awards.  You might like to just share that.
Jeff Gibbs:  We won the WSABE award. So, our boss won Leader of the Year. Tracey Lentell, our CEO, won Leader of the Year.  And we just won for our training and development as well.  So, I think the way we do things is quite good.  I think the way that we run our club is quite well.  And the challenge for us is, if we wanted to say become a destination venue, if we want to become like Bankstown Sports or any of those clubs that have a brewery downstairs, that have an Italian precinct, you know, we’ve got to look at the investment of that and how we do that, and the opportunities that are here – because we would love to do that in our home, but we just need to see if that would work.
Jim Taggart:  OK.  Thank you for that, Jeff.  Arthur, your thoughts?  I mean your name is synonymous with the South West and your family name.  And what are your thoughts?  You know.  I think you said third or fourth generation, or fifth.
Arthur Inglis:  Fifth generation. Look, I do hear the thing about East versus West.  And we have had a lot of trouble shifting thoughts for even – like a lot of our customer base, the vendor base are regional – rual and regional – and they still think of Sydney as being East.  They think it’s a long way to go.  But I say:  From where? So, it’s kind of been a bit of a challenge.  But, the way we’ve approached it is, even though we’ve still got dust on the ground and it’s very much a construction site, we just invite people to come along and show them around.  And they’ve actually been pretty easily converted.I’m very encouraged to hear the rapidity of the growth anticipated. I’ve always sort of assumed it’s a 10 or 15 year frame,  but very encouraged to hear how instantaneous or current it is.
Jim Taggart:  Thank you for that.  Peter, your thoughts just going through.  
Peter Hutchings:  I think in terms of discussions around the centre of town and the changes that the student body is going to bring, our experience in Parramatta has really been a learning experience for us. So, we’ve got a 14 storey high rise in the centre of Parramatta, just off the station.  And that building has activated over an extensive period of time. And the design of the Liverpool building is going to continue that activation. We’ll actually have a full floor for student amenity, a library floor – our libraries operate 24/7 – and the experience has been not only to our students spending an extended period of time in the building, but students from other Universities are also spending extended periods of time in the building.  And we’ve been happy to accommodate that, because it’s just part of the liveliness of the facility.
Jim Taggart:  And I think the number is about 10,000 that you’re working towards?
Peter Hutchings:  Yes..
Jim Taggart:  Kiersten, your thoughts please?
Kiersten Fishburn:  I guess from the perspective of the Chief Executive of the Council, we feel that acceleration every single day. The DA pipeline is $1 billion at the moment, in which Council are investing fairly heavily as well.  It’s got a Civic Place at a $100 million investment.  We’ll show that Council is prepared to put our money where our mouth is in terms of commercial in the CBD. I hear what you’re saying, Diane, and I would agree with you.  We need to have that activation, and that commercial activation, to generate and keep that business acceleration going. I’m also liking hearing that the community is at the forefront of people’s minds as well.  People do forget in Liverpool, a certain amount of land is still zoned Rural.  You know.  It’s a very unusual Council area to be in.  And the communities are long established. And I think to talk to Amanda’s point, too, one of the things that I see – and the majority of our staff are locals – and many of them are third, fourth generation migrant families, and they see no reason to leave Liverpool.  That old perception that you would only come here because there was nowhere else for you to go and the moment you made it you go somewhere else is simply not true any more.  And that’s particularly true of the migrant population where their children become Tertiary educated, so you have more middle class communities.  And we see that around the Cannes Hill area in particular. And then they stay and they’re proud, and they live in this area and the schools improve as a consequence as well.  It’s a fantastic and rich dynamic.
And I agree.  It’s about making sure that we get our messaging on point about that because that’s the lived reality of most of the community.  You know.  They’re proud to be in Liverpool.  They don’t see it as a hardship location in any way whatsoever.  And even our community that are less advantaged have pride in their area as well.  And I think that that’s a really important thing to carry with us, as we go through this rapid process of economic growth and development.
Jim Taggart:  Thank you for that summary.  Ok we’ll break now for lunch if that’s OK withn everyone.
Jim Taggart:  Welcome back everyone. OK, I’d like to now look at the universitgoes and the airport. Tony if I could turn to you to start, what’s going through your mind? 
Tony Kelleher:  So I mean the major investment from the University of NSW up to now has been in health and around the hospital.  And that’s been a longstanding investment, both in terms of training medical students and also more recently, over the last decade, in research at the Ingham.  And that investment is going to continue.  We’ve just made an appointment at the Ingham that the University will invest approximately $8 million in it over the next 5 years. That’s an internationally renowned individual that we’ve recruited to the Ingham Institute. So, the investment in health and the interaction with Liverpool Hospital we see as a great opportunity. But beyond the hospital, to affect the health of communities, as I said, the University or the Medical School has a great track record of actually making impact within disadvantaged communities and making a difference.  And we’re growing that capacity out here at the moment, in certain areas – mostly in infectious diseases.  But we look to move beyond that into cancer and other things. But, you know, with this development and with this ambition that’s being expressed around this table, and the opportunities like the airport, then you know the ability to then involve other faculties within the University such as Engineering and the Built Environment are the conversations we’re having internally within the University – both myself with the Deans of those Faculties, but also at a Divisional level.So, the University has restructured itself and now has a Division of Enterprise. And so, this initiative is being discussed within the Division of Enterprise and how the University is looking to engage with that, going forward. And so, as I said, the Vice Chancellor’s vision is very outward looking but is also an interdisciplinary vision.  He wants people with different skills working together to gether novel solutions to problems.  So, you know, I think there are great opportunities in health, but beyond that as well. And so, the conversation at the University is how we get involved in this.
Jim Taggart:  Thanks for being so open and transparent in sharing that, Tony.  I really mean that. Thank you very much. Mark, your thoughts?
Mark Roberts:  So, we’re now nearly 40,000 students.  But, in opening the South Western Sydney Campus, that’s our eighth Australian campus and down the South Coast/Illawarra – and it’s actually our third Sydney campus.  We’ve had the Southern Sydney Campus at Sutherland for 13 years and the Business School in Circular Quay which has got 1,000 students too.  So, we have been a player in metropolitan Sydney’s education scene for some time.  We’ve also got 5,000 students in Dubai and 4 and a half thousand in Hong Kong  Nearly half of our students are Internationals – half onshore, half offshore.
Jim Taggart:  Sorry. So I’ve just got clarity half of the 40,000?
Mark Roberts:  Yes. So about 47% are iternational.
Jim Taggart:  OK. Thank you.
Mark Roberts: Which is sort of unusual for a regional based University to have evolved to that point. We see that’s a particular opportunity here as well.  We started up with 200 students and 44 of those are Internationals already.  So, we’ve got a quarter there, and we expect that to grow to a significant cohort as we grow. Prior to joining the University in 2012, I had 20 years in the State Government. And I’d have to say that, in urban planning, economic development and such, I formed a view way back in the 1990s that Liverpool was the sleeping giant in NSW.  And I think, as all the planets are suddenly aligned for Liverpool and with what’s happening, it’s not just about its place in the metropolis – it’s major place in the State of NSW and in the National scene. Since our genesis 50 years ago, being a major player in transformation for the Illawarra economy – and that’s an economy that’s gone through a massive structural change.  It’s a very multi ethnic community – traditional had a lot of social disadvantage. We are hoping too, that in coming into Liverpool – and see ourselves very much as we have a responsibility as a Citizen of Liverpool as well to be part of the wider work of taking Liverpool forward, that we can bring a lot of experience in our work and our home region into driving the Liverpool story forward as well, too, together with the other Universities. And Western Sydney University has been doing it in this region for a long time.  It deserves a lot of credit as well – and will continue to carry that forward. Our story is we’ll be looking to progressively build our South Western Sydney Campus through to over 7,000 students by the 2030s, starting off small.  It will be a progressive build.  And we’ll go to 450 students next year, further on, identified in terms of the Liverpool Civic Place project. We’re early in the stages of that journey.  But I think we’re trying to actively participate in a range of those things.  And I think that will just continue to grow and develop in the future.
Jim Taggart:  I want to jump to Badgerys Creek and I’m conscious that we’ve not really drilled too much down into health and so on.  We’ve gone across, rather than depth.  So Kiersten, please?
Kiersten Fishburn: Well, the airport. So, the land at Badgerys Creek has been designated there, what?  For 40 years?  It was actually first mentioned in Federal Parliament in 1947. So I always say any time people say Local Government moves slowly, remember that.  And to the announcement that it was finally going to be built was a real relief to the land owners, because essentially nothing has been able to open in the western part of the LGA for 40 years because of the potential of Badgerys. We did a survey of our community last year.  And 87% of people surveyed said that they believed that the airport would bring economic benefit to Liverpool – which I thought was extraordinarily high.  The statistic I like is that 98% of people had heard about the airport.  The mind boggles that you can live in Liverpool and and not know about it. So, in terms of timelines, as I mentioned, WSA Co will be located in Liverpool. They open up in mid November which is extremely exciting. And the first tenders for the airport went out yesterday.  The Minister came to meet with the Mayor to advise her.  And that’s where the geotechnic design and the first runway is due to be completed in 2026.  We have been assured that it is on time – and that they will move heaven and earth to make that actually happen. So, the fact that there is going to be an international airport in less than 9 years is mind boggling. Council’s aspiration for it very much is that it’s designed as an aerotropolis so that it has business – smart business – located around the airport – not residential. Residential constrains airport use and capacity.  We’ve got plenty of land.  You can put resi in a lot of other places in Liverpool.  But we would really like to see businesses that connect into our strengths already, which are Defence – we’re an old Defence City, we’ve started as a Defence City – the Health and Education areas, Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing, and then around the Agribusiness which bleeds into our equine history as well.  So actually, well, the businesses we want to see around the airport and the businesses in Liverpool are already smart and strong there.  So, we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel.  We’re just trying to lift up a notch to where we get there.  And we’d very much like to see University presence around the airport as well. We always say:  a bit of healthy competition in the Tertiary sector seems to benefit us very well.  So, we’ll certainly keep encouraging that.  
Mayor Wendy Waller:  I think we’re also trying to encourage some sort of TAFE systems for the construction of the airport.
Kiersten Fishburn:  Yes. That's right.  
Mayor Wendy Waller:  A bit like Barangaroo.   
Michael Walls:  So, let’s ask all that land, the whole aerotropolis concept – is all that land in Liverpool Council?
Kiersten Fishburn:  The majority of it.  So, the heart of the aerotropolis would probably  be North Bringelly, which is south of the airport – which is Liverpool’s land.  Above the airport – above Elizabeth Drive – is Penrith Council.  And we work very collaboratively with Penrith around the airport.  And they have their Science Park proposal – Celestino Science Park.  So, that would blend into it as well. But the benefit to aerotropolises is being able to get airside very quickly.  I can’t believe I can even talk about this.  My Degree is in Art Theory.  But the benefit is to get airside very quickly.  And obviously, with the airport being in our LGA, you’re going to get that flow-on benefit.  But I mean, while Councils often are in – you know, I talk about Universities being in competition – Councils are often very similar – actually, this is a regional benefit.  Well, it’s a National benefit really.  But the regional benefit will flow to the residents of Penrith, Campbelltown, Camden, Wollondilly just as much as they will to us.  So, it beholds all of us to be mature about this and to discuss the best possible planning you can regardless of where it goes in the LGA.
Mayor Wendy Waller: There’s also currently 8 Councils needing to get together regularly around the concept of the airport and what sort of regional projects we would like to support to ensure this is a mature sort of development.  And in that, we’re hoping to get some sort of individual projects in the different LGAs to strengthen their sort of ties to the airport, and so help their residents.  And that’s been going on for about 12 months. The Federal Government’s very involved and very supportive.  
Peter Hutchings:  Getting there.
Mayor Wendy Waller:  Well, that’s true. I think the State Government has been caught on the hop a bit, to be honest with you.  They’re coming slowly to the table, quite genuinely.  But I think it was a bit of a surprise that 8 Councils got together and actually talked to each other.  
Kiersten Fishburn:  But the maturity of Local Government being able to speak with one voice despite their many different colours and flavours. And I don't think they realise what a powerful beast that created, by suggesting that Councils speak collaboratively.
Mark Roberts:  And it’s important keeping that going.  I’ve been on the other side of the fence.    
Theo Psychogios:  And I think the greatest advantage that you have in that process is that you have a unifying single focus around the airport.  
Mayor Wendy Waller:  Well I know Kiersten and I have been in situations where we’ve been advocating for Camden and Wollondilly – quite genuinely – because we know whatever happens there will affect us as well.  
Theo Psychogios:  You need that balance.
Jim Taggart:  And that’s really important. Tony?
Mark Roberts:  So, I was just going to ask about – so, a question out of ignorance.  The transport arrangements from the airport and how does that intersect with this sort of area, or the CBD of Liverpool – because, you know, you’d want it to be...
Mayor Wendy Waller:  Alright. So that is an extremely good question.
Kiersten Fishburn:  Not well. Not well at this point in time.
Mark Roberts: So, that’s a vulnerability.  Right?
Kiersten Fishburn:  And if we talked about a sticking point, well, transport and the road network and transport infrastructure is the biggest single issue for Liverpool that Liverpool Council can’t control at that moment, if that makes sense. We’ve been lobbying very strongly for a North/South connectivity to connect up all these Councils plus the Leppington Spur, which is the easiest way to get to the airport with the existing rail network.  And then, we are also lobbying – and there are some documents there – for a bus rapid transit system to run out of the Liverpool CBD to the airport, starting in the next couple of years, so workers can get out there. We’re really astute enough to know you’re not going to get a metro from Liverpool CBD to the airport yet.  You probably wouldn’t get that till the second runway went in.  But we’re very concerned, if we don’t get the rapid transit there, you don't have the connectivity and you haven’t preserved the land corriders – whereas, if you’ve got the T-Way, you’ve preserved the land corridor for metro or light rail or whatever mode.  I mean you’ve got to be mobile.
Mark Roberts:  Then you go upscale in the infrastructure.
Kiersten Fishburn:  That’s exactly right. Although – I mean you could – you can drive to the airport in 25 minutes now, with a good wind behind you.  Even assuming increased density on the roads, if you had clear signalisation which we’re proposing, you can stick to 20, 25 minutes.
Mark Roberts:  And that’s relatively easy to implement.  
Kiersten Fishburn:  It’s very easy to implement.  Yeah.  So, we are getting some traction on that proposal, because it’s fairly cheap.  Compared to rail, it’s extraordinarily cheap.  
Mayor Wendy Waller:  And the State Government, in fairness, has given us some money to do a fairly major study along Fifteenth Avenue. That means that they’ll go to the next stage after that.
Mark Roberts:  So, are there any solutions that might undermine the viability of the Liverpool CBD – you know – so that you just have people bypassing Liverpool, rather than making it a hub?  Is that a risk?
Kiersten Fishburn:  It is a risk.  And there are some other inherent risks.  I mean, you want to incentivise the right type of business around the airport.  But that can sometimes be at the expense of sucking out your current commercial.  So, you have to be conscious of that.
Tony Kelleher:  Right.  Yes. That's correct.
Kiersten Fishburn:  And, you know, talk about economic free trade zones, I had some concerns for that reason.  But at the same time, the CBD – if we keep working on the bones of it – and it’s looking a lot better than it has for a long time, I think you know, Gerard, you’d agree – is close enough to the airport that it would still remain an attractive place for your business to locate in.  So, it’s just making sure that we don’t overpump the well around the aerotropolis right from the start and build up what we can. And it’s not just an issue for Liverpool.  The same problem would affect Penrith and Campbelltown as well. 
Tony Kelleher:  Sure.
Gerard McSpadden:  I think the objects of getting WSA Co to come to Liverpool and start establishing in people’s minds was really really important.
Kiersten Fishburn:  Well that’s what we say:  If you want to do business with the airport, do business in Liverpool.  
Theo Psychogios:  I think the importance of Penrith, Liverpool, Campbelltown being the home of community and public amenity through those regions is really important. And getting that right – because you could easily say we invested all this amenity to create around the airport where we want to create a 24/7… listening to some of the challenges we’ve heard about business, business will go:  Where am I going to go?  And 10 years from now:  Oh, it’s easier for me to go into that city core near the airport 'cause there’s lots of people and workers there than currently Liverpool, 'cause the road connections have been bad and haven’t been invested in, for example – and some in Campbelltown and some in Penrith.  So, there’s that real balance that needs to be maintained.
Gerard McSpadden:  And there isn’t a 10 year lead time opportunity before the airport’s operational.
Kiersten Fishburn:   Airport staff jobs when it opens, about 9,000. And around 6,000 to 7,000 around the precinct.  And there will be a business park of about 4,000.  Construction jobs – they estimate 11,000 over the course of construction.  So, yeah.Construction jobs is going to become a major issue in Western Sydney with all the development.  We’ve got the Intermodal being built at the same time as the airport.
Peter Hutchings: The airport’s going to be major opportunity for us in terms of research and innovation.  Now, I don't think we’ll be establishing a teaching campus there.  But the activities of our programmes will feed into it.  We’re starting an Architecture programme which is around urban transformation architecture.  Badgerys Creek is the prime site for that.  We’ve got research that’s already involved in Defence Aerospace.  So, that’s another opportunity that is there.  The sort of more vanilla things around logistics – all those sorts of things – they would also find a home. So, in the context of any of the Universities, you’ve got an Enterprise Division now looking to be accelerators for enterprise.  I think the University is going to have that kind of presence there, irrespective.
Jim Taggart:  And can I just applaud you for your honesty.  
Tony Kelleher:  So apparently, again, the University philosphy on this is to – you know – that we’re not working in isolation.  And so the Vice Chancellor again is putting his money where his mouth is in terms of setting up a Division of Enterprise.  So he’s torn down the structures that are there and he’s building up a completely new structure to really interact with, you know, industry on – not just in the health space, but you know, in the engineering space – and looking forward and coming up with the solutions for the next century.  
Jim Taggart:  Tony, can you see a role for the Chamber of Commerce?
Tony Kelleher:  So I guess, yes, basically.  I mean with the right connections – I mean these things have to be organic.  And I don't think you can force them.  But, you know there are a bunch of new initiatives that have just started literally in the last 12 months.  So, you know, there are co-sponsored PHDs to embed people in industry during their PHDs, and that sort of thing, as well as incubators and research parks and that sort of thing. So it very much is that the University doesn’t end within the boundaries of Kensington or any other campus where it’s situated.  It reaches out into the community and that community is affected communities.
Jim Taggart:  One of the interesting things is – and Madam Mayor, you alluded to it – I’m aware of the 8 Councils coming together and trying to develop that.  I think a great concept.  In a practical sense, will that work?  Will you have the upper hand?
Mayor Wendy Waller:  I think we’ve got a leading role in the discussion.  And we do have a good working relationship, particularly with Campbelltown and Penrith. So, from a collegiate perspective, I think the 3 of us work really well together. And I think that’s a positive. I think we’ve got to be careful not to be arrogant and to exclude other areas.  If we can include and try to work together as a group, then as a team I think we’re going to get a better outcome. So, I think taking the airport and running it, is probably not the best way to approach 8 Mayors. But I’m very pleased – I must admit I was a bit cynical when it started as a process.  I’m seeing it now very much as a positive process and that it’s working extremely well.  It’s a challenge for a couple of Councils that are on the periphery. I think, over time, if the system and the process work, and the governance works, then I think they’ll be OK long term.
Jim Taggart:  Let me ask you this question – and if it’s not appropriate, please let me know.  Bankstown:  where does that fit?
Mayor Wendy Waller:  Well, it doesn’t fit in this 8 Council arrangement because we’re facing another direction.
Michael Walls:  So are The Hills and Blacktown similar?
Mayor Wendy Waller:  They’re similar to Bankstown in the sense they’re not sort of sitting with this 8 group.  
Theo Psychogios:  And Blacktown and Bankstown – what’s characteristic of those is they both sit on the edge of 2 of the districts. So, the peripheries are very clear.  They’re very close to, you know, the Eastern one and on this one, they’re right in the middle.  So, they’ll play a valuable linking role in connecting all the South West – both of them – in time.  But the middle people need to get their identity first to have something to link to.
Mayor Wendy Waller:  And we actually went as far as agreeing than having 2 districts because the 8 councils were split into 2 districts – we’ve now agreed to have one district – which makes sense from a planning perspective.
Jim Taggart:  Your organisation, Gerard – how do you view Badgerys Creek?  
Gerard McSpadden:  We are still lacking understanding of its total impact.
Jim Taggart:  Specifically?
Gerard McSpadden:  Oh, I suppose what the economic benefits are going to be to the CBD and also from the residential point of view, and also how that impacts over time.  Like, yeah, we’ve got a 10 year lead time before the airport’s operational.  But obviously, in that time, there’s going to be significant – and Kiersten just pointed out a number of stats around that which will be great to take back. We obviously see it as a significant benefit – but it’s a case of:  statistically, what does that mean.  And just getting our heads around that will be very beneficial for us.
Kiersten Fishburn:  Gerard, I think it’s interesting.  When we were speaking to Minister Fletcher yesterday, one of the things that he was talking about was the fact that people who are employed by airports live next to airports.  So, Kingsford Smith – 75% of people working at Kingsford Smith live within 5 kilometres, I think.   Gatwick would probably be comparable to us.  It’s like 75% as well.  I think that’s fascinating when you think about facts.
Gerard McSpadden:  But then, off the back of that, what does that mean for house prices?  Obviously – you know – because from a development point of view, you’re looking at construction – you’re looking at – and at the moment, some of the construction prices around here don’t necessarily make it feasible from a build perspective etc.  So it’s then what’s the flow-on effect from there?
Kiersten Fishburn:  Yes.
Gerard McSpadden:  So, they’re just really useful stats for us.
Jim Taggart:  Medium priced 3 bedroom home in Liverpool, in a general sense, about 700,000 – the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald today.  So, interesting in the context, as you say, about doing development – particularly in residential – of what market do you pitch that.
Theo Psychogios: But if I’m Pat, and I’m sitting here hearing that, I get quite concerned.
Jim Taggart:  Well, another statistic that I was able to locate, please – and I hope it’s reasonably accurate – at least it tells a picture – 54% of people in Liverpool rent
Gerard McSpadden:  Also, there’s also as you said 70% or 80% of people travel.  What’s the real time?  What’s the real value of that travel time for families and what economic benefit?
Theo Psychogios: Yes investment, yes airport are really great for trade, but it’s people getting 2 hours back a day to spend with their families or themselves.
Gerard McSpadden:  Family, totally.
Theo Psychogios:  And all that stuff will just have a massive local dividend with time.
Peter Hutchings:  And health outcomes. 
Gerard McSpadden:  Health outcomes. It gives them more education opportunity as well. 
Theo Psychogios:   And 87% of people earn $2,000 or less a week.  
Gerard McSpadden:  A wonder how it adds up. 
Jim Taggart:  So, the question I wanted to ask – there’s 2 parts:  should there be some type of hospital, Tony, in Badgerys Creek – in the airport?
Tony Kelleher:  I’m not – I haven’t thought about that.  I mean I think there’s current infrastructure at Campbelltown and here. I’m not sure that you would – and at Penrith, right?  So, you’ve got that triangle of hospitals.  I’m not sure that another hospital at the airport, in itself.  
Jim Taggart:  Well, I’m raising it because it’s 25 minutes from here.  I wouldn’t want to be on an emergency bed, waiting.  That’s a whole city there.  Bigger than a lot of country towns.  
Gerard McSpadden:  I think there’ll be a fair bit of work over the next 3 years with the Western Sydney growth area where – we had the South West growth centre or the airport precinct or whatever, and then you had this big area that sits in between.Now, the Government, Greater Sydney Commission, the Councils or whatever are now turning to there to focus on what happens in that pretty extensive area.  And I think a lot falls out of it in terms of the size of the residential population that might bring in there will then flow back into what particular services and facilities are going to be required for that sort of...  And there is potential for a substantial population in there.
Michael Walls:  I’m curious, is that an opportunity for clinicians, for doctors, for some medical centres and that sort of thing?  They would follow population?
Tony Kelleher:  They’d follow. So I think it depends on, you know, the growth out there and exactly …. I mean there’s already, you know, enormous growth.
Michael Walls:  In the cities?
Tony Kelleher:  Yes in Campbelltown and Penrith.  And I mean, you know, we’ve heard a lot about the ageing population within Liverpool.  But in Campbelltown, you know, the population that’s growing is the under 25s at the moment and, you know, paediatric services really need to grow out there, as well as everything else.  But, you know, no.  I think Campbelltown’s the busiest paediatric AME in Sydney.
Michael Walls:  Really?  
Tony Kelleher:  So, I guess it really depends on the population modelling, I think, as to how large that area of industry is around the airport.  
Gerard McSpadden:  Look, you’re likely to have some sort of health facilities out there.  
Tony Kelleher:  Sure.  Whether it’s a hospital or whether it’s a specialised medical centre....
Gerard McSpadden:  By the time you get into the high end stuff which is hugely capital intensive as well, too, you’d be wary about – given the plans and development at Liverpool, at Penrith, or whatever – in terms of trying to replicate that out there. 
Tony Kelleher:  Certainly, you’d have those sort of things, absolutely.  But, you know, whether you’d actually have a Tertiary referral hospital sitting next to the airport or not is another question.  
Jim Taggart:  And Peter, again I thank you for your honesty – and Tony and Mark. It seems to me that where Universities are at play, that is a sign of maturity in terms of a society. It’s interesting, because if you go to The Hills – to Norwest Business Park – approximately 17% of that is related to finance and insurance related business. So, it’s interesting how they attract different things. Diane, the Chamber of Commerce. I guess I keep coming back. You’re an important part of business in our community.  
Diane Wills:  I think it’s good for Liverpool.  Initially we’ve got that head office.  But I do think that, if they establish a Business Park at Badgerys Creek, then all the business will go there, because it’ll be planned, they’ll have plenty of labour, people can get there.  So, I think once we’ve got a Business Park, everybody goes there.
Jim Taggart:  Have you put a paper together to give to the Council?  I’m not being rude.  I’m just simply saying:  that’s a great intention, that’s got great intent.  So, Madam Mayor, without putting you on the spot, would you welcome a paper from the Chamber?
Mayor Wendy Waller:  We welcome input from everybody, including the Chamber.
Jim Taggart:  OK.  Good.
Mayor Wendy Waller:  And we work with the Chamber very closely.  I think the issue about planning what’s going to come in the future – it’s a very obviously important issue here.  I don't think anybody should be caught flat footed.  And I think that’s been part of the problem in the past.  So, what we do out there needs to be properly planned. And also, it has to be done – I suppose – from a fairly researched perspective, so we don’t end up with something that really won’t work for whatever reason. Now, taking the Business Park idea – that might be the best way to do it, but it may not be.  And I think at this point in time, we really need to make sure we get everything lined up properly.
Kiersten Fishburn:  And it depends what businesses you plug into.  I completely agree with the Mayor.  If you  have already committed to going into essentially Bringelly – well, my guess is it’ll be Bringelly – they would never locate in the CBD.  So it’s making sure, yeah:  you don't cannibalise yourself when you go out and try and do business attraction.  And that’s why – I mean, I would fully support a Development Corporation model.  And I think we’ve been in discussions as well with that.  So yeah, it’s so we can get that right.
Peter Hutchings:  The ancillaries around the businesses that are going to be best cared for, the sort of flow-on services for opportunities within the CBD.
Kiersten Fishburn:  That's right.  That's right.   So you may end up with your Deloittes, for instance, in the CBD because they’re going to want that amenity and be in close to the restaurants, cafés and so on – while your more manufacturing is closer up to the airport because your transport and logistic costs are reduced by each kilometre you get closer to the airport.
Gerard McSpadden:  Personally, I’d be very surprised if you didn’t end up with a scenario or reality of substantial growth investment out there and substantial growth.
Mayor Wendy Waller:   Can I just say – yesterday, we did another turning of the sods.  And it’s a company that’s been well established in another LGA.  And it’s moved to Liverpool – Prestons – because it’s close to the airport, M5, M7, new motorway – all of that – and they’ll be up and running in the next 8 months.  
Gerard McSpadden:  Personally I think your main issue generally is going to be able to provide enough sites and other things to cater for the demand. 
Kiersten Fishburn:  Have you been talking to my Economic Development team?  Well, we’ve only got half a year’s worth of industrial land left in Liverpool. 
Gerard McSpadden:  It’s a significant issue.  But it’s a great problem to have.  I don't think the demand side of the equation is going to be a real problem.  It’s going to the supply side of the equation.
Kiersten Fishburn:  No.  Supply is a challenge at the moment.
Jim Taggart:  And can I take that a step further again?  Generally speaking, in Western Sydney, one of the biggest concerns that a number of Councils have is in relation to recreation, and particularly sporting fields.  How are you looking at that within Liverpool?
Kiersten Fishburn:  We’ve got 90 sporting grounds. We do service our current population fairly well.  Part of our issue is pressure from other Councils around us who don’t have as much.  So, they come into Liverpool to try and utilise our grounds.  It’s something that we’re very conscious of.  We’re about to build a new facility in Middleton Grange which will be 2 full soccer fields and really high level facilities. We are fortunate that Western Sydney Parklands bisects the Liverpool LGA. So it acts as a bit of a green lung. And they exist in 3 Councils – we’re the last of their Councils for them to develop their grounds.  So, it will be a matter of us working very strategically.  And Council is working very strategically with them to utilise those parklands to make sure we’ve built in recreation as we keep growing.  It’s a big issue though – it’s an issue for all the Councils.
Jim Taggart:   Madam Mayor, what incentive – and I use that, and I don't mean just in a monetary sense,  what dialogue is open to these various stakeholders who want to come to Liverpool?
Mayor Wendy Waller:  Well, I’m conscious that our Economic Development staff are very onboard.  So, I would suggest that if people have any issues or queries, they find them ASAP.  And I know Julie is outside there.  So, if you haven’t met Julie, make yourself known. We’re very aware of the complexities and sometimes the sensitivities of what’s happening within this LGA.  So, I think we need to keep the dialogue open – the communication open.  I mean, to be honest, sometimes we won’t be able to do what people want because there are limitations on what Council can deliver.  But over all, we are trying desperately to accommodate what people need, and their opinions. I think one of the problems we need to address is people need to be heard because, if we don’t get it right, we’re going to ruin it for the future.  So, it’s really important we get it right.
Jim Taggart:  And you started your comments this morning, after our welcome, by saying that if we don’t get it right, we’re going to get it wrong. What do you really mean by that?  Are you saying the transport could be so poorly constructed?
Mayor Wendy Waller:  Well, we’ve got to continue to lobby for different transport modes and also get better road systems, making sure people can get around – whether it be private transport or public.  We’ve got to make sure that we get out what we deserve.  And we deserve quite a better deal than we’re getting – I’ll be honest.  And I think we’ve been forgotten for way too long.  But ironically – I’m not saying that, as Amanda was saying, with a chip on my shoulder – I’m saying it in the sense that I think it’s very timely where people are going:  Ooh, we better do something.  I think there is very much a tipping point coming where I think we will be taken onboard quite seriously – because, if they don’t look after us, the airport’s going to fall flat.
Arthur Inglis:  And the key there is, those sort of probable potential outcomes will realistically – the political implications of that will also flow back to the State administration – whoever’s in power at the time – and the Federal administration.
Mayor Wendy Waller:  That's right.  Exactly.  
Jim Taggart:  So, you have opened dialogue. What dialogue do you open to the community to come here and help?
Mayor Wendy Waller:  In terms of global industry or...?
Jim Taggart:  Well, just in general.  But, I mean, you would like to say to a Google or an Amazon?
Kiersten Fishburn: In terms of what Council is doing, I think we’re only at the beginning of being able to think about those type of relationships.  However, we are remarkably open in Council to business.  I think so.  I mean Arthur should know. I’ll take the phone call from anyone, and have that conversation.  I think one of the things we need to do is get commercial in our CBD.  But, until we’ve got that, there is no point going and lobbying, because you have nowhere to put people. So, it’s accelerating the development industry’s interest in the commercial.  And that’s getting out and talking it up and being positive about it and, you know, trying to get planners – because that is a significant issue, is the planning shortage across NSW at the moment.  We just advertised for planners in South Australia. We really do anything to get good planners.  So, resourcing so that when people have an interest, we can move quickly is absolutely critical. I want to flip it a bit, though Jim, because the other thing that we’re interested in is our local businesses, and giving them some level of first national and then global connectivity as well.  We’ve got a lot of smart small to mediums. And making sure that we bring the connections through our connections into health, education, through people like Theo – that’s really important for us too. That’s just as, probably more important than getting a global business. And to some extent that’s the responsibility and skill set of State and Federal, while as we know our communities – and it’s giving them the connections.
Gerard McSpadden:  And your vast majority of job growth will spur interest in the SME space. 
Kiersten Fishburn: That’s right. Small to mediums. We’ve got great small to mediums.  But they’re not as confident as they probably could be.  And so, it’s building that confidence and helping them tender for things.  And we do a lot of that through Economic Development.  And now the Universities are here, we’ll be able to expand that as well.
Mayor Wendy Waller:  But there’s also an increase in ABNs. A huge amount.
Jim Taggart:  Well, that’s great to hear that from your end. Ok so we’ve almost come to the end of our session today and I’d now like to ask Madam Mayor to summarise your thoughts with regards to this morning, please?
Mayor Wendy Waller:  Well, I think it’s been an opportunity for everybody. I think it’s given everybody an opportunity to sit down and listen to what’s happening in each part of the LGA with each project or interest – level of interest.  And I think that gives people a more global perspective of what’s happening. I think Amanda’s point about not sort of carrying a chip around your shoulder is quite a valid one.  I think people – I mean, I must admit both Kiersten and I have stopped doing that, because we’re very conscious it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy in a sense. So, we do have to sell the City.  And I think that’s the one thing we genuinely try and do in an honest way – not in a dishonest way – and quite aggressively, so that people can get with the programme, and they understand that we are a place that’s respectable, but also moving rather rapidly with a lot of positives.  And we need more child care.  So, that’s long day care. The point of the thing is, though, we have so many opportunities.  It’s a City of opportunities. Over the last 6 years that I’ve seen massive change in the profile of the area, in a good way.  I think basically we’re going to see huge changes still coming, especially with the demographics.  And I always like that people recognise that 25% of the population is over 55 – because people quite get focussed on children and families – and that’s all there is.  But there isn’t.  Liverpool’s very unusual, because it has both these ends growing quite considerably. So, we’ve got people that have lived in Liverpool, like myself, for a long time. And they’re not going anywhere.  They’re staying.  And maybe their family’s moving into the area.  Maybe, maybe not. But, it is a place, as I said, that people can still afford to move to.  You know.  There’s a lot of great variety of accommodation styles that people can choose from.  I think the challenge, though, as I said earlier, is to make sure we bring community with us. We also make sure that we have the transport right.  That is a challenge, because it’s something that’s well and truly out of our hands.  But we are trying desperately to address that.  So, I think we have a very positive future. And if we all continue to work together, I think it’s going to be even better.
Jim Taggart:  Madam Mayor, thank you. And thank you to Liverpool City Council and to Western Sydney Business Access for arranging this round table. Liverpool is facing an unprecedented era of growth. And I know that many people around this table will;be very involved in that growth. Thank you all again for attending. It’s been great.


Michael Walls
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