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Artist impression of the new Bradfield city. Artist impression of the new Bradfield city. Featured
25 June 2021 Posted by 

STAGE SET FOR COVID RECOVERY

NSW Budget positive, says business 
ELIZABETH FRIAS
SPENDING on new infrastructure, housing, jobs creation, health, education and Parramatta Powerhouse from the 2021 NSW budget is confidently seen by the business community as setting the stage for Western Sydney to stay on top of pandemic recovery.
Key highlight of the NSW government’s budget announced by Treasurer Dominic Perrottet on Tuesday is a record $108.5B infrastructure money locked-in over four years to turbocharge the economy from cities to the bush while dealing with sporadic coronavirus outbreaks.
 
These spending commitments – $1.5B for Western Sydney’s new Bradfield City at the second airport site - would be “a transformational project [that would] change the way our city lives and works,” said Business NSW chief executive Daniel Hunter.
 
Another $50M is set aside over the next three years to speed up the development of Parramatta Light Rail two-stage project which businesses see as “an important piece of the transport puzzle” and a “welcome news” to the community,” Mr Hunter said.
 
Stage 1 connecting Parramatta CBD to Westmead, Carlingford and new suburb Camellia is due to open by 2023 with $2.4 billion going towards the completion.  Stage 2 connects Stage 1 network to Sydney Olympic Park and ferries at Parramatta, Rydalmere and Wentworth Point.
 
Among the highest users of Sydney’s public transport network are commuters from Western Sydney, 87 per cent from Penrith alone, followed by Camden and Fairfield at 86 per cent both.
 
Business NSW is the peak policy body of business chambers across the state, formerly known as Business Chamber of NSW.
 
“This budget shows that strong financial management continues to position NSW as the powerhouse of the Australian economy as we emerge from this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic,” Mr Hunter said.
 
The projected $16B budget deficit this year due to pandemic restrictions on business operations such as border closure and limited international travel has been surprisingly halved to $7.9B.
 
Mr Hunter expressed his confidence that the state’s economy will be back in black with a budget surplus of $466M projected in the 2024-2025 financial year that would be gained from a strong property market regaining lost ground this year and raft of spending stimulus.
 
“Just like recent Federal budget, this is an economic blueprint for the extraordinary times we as a community are facing in NSW,” Mr Hunter said.
 
“Strong economic management and discipline meant the state is leading the nation through the toughest economic conditions in a generation.”
 
Despite the pandemic’s choking pressures on businesses to earn and employ, Greater Western Sydney’s latest gross regional production increased to $150B from $137B in 2019-2020 or 24 per cent contribution to the state’s economy, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
 
A modest increase is also recorded on the estimated 225,187 businesses and industries currently operating across the region – up from 218,722 in 2019 - sustaining nearly 1.1 million types of jobs for over 1.2 million people working here.
 
But the projected roadmap to full business recovery will depend on the reopening of international borders, return of skilled migrants and foreign students and success of the vaccination program, Mr Hunter said. 
 
Need to create more jobs
 
The NSW budget has also responded to the needs to create more jobs and entice fresh investments into Western Sydney, said David Borger, executive director of Business Western Sydney.
 
“Western Sydney is where the growth is,” Mr Borger said. “Ensuring all commitments in the budget are delivered will put the green light for investment into our region.”
 
From the budget expenditure unveiled by Mr Perrottet, Western Sydney is also set to partake in the $852.5M for social and affordable housing.
 
Mr Borger said the housing budget would ensure essential workers and families have readily available and affordable accommodation as they work in Western Sydney.
 
Other budgetary allocations for Western Sydney lauded by the business community include the already announced 24-kilometre Sydney Metro West underground railway plans that connects Parramatta to Sydney CBD in less than 30 minutes travel, $790M upgrade of Liverpool health and academic precinct, $619 million to stage 2 for Westmead Children’s Hospital, and $2B investment in education for Western Sydney particularly in growing suburbs near the new airport site given $23M to open the new Mulgoa Rise Public School. 
 
The $1.4B budget allocated for keeping Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo consists of $840M for the completion of the Parramatta Powerhouse Museum which is under construction amid controversy on the heritage conservation of Willow Grove property on the museum site, and $60M for the Castle Hill Discovery Centre in the northwest.
 
Mr Borger said the museum budget “locks in the funding” for Parramatta Powerhouse, a significant cultural project in Western Sydney.
 
“The new museum is about providing equity for the families of NSW who are out of reach of the large cultural institutions in the Sydney CBD,” he said.
 
New migrants and refugees in Western Sydney are also set to benefit from the NSW Growing Regions Program funded with $8.5M from the budget spread over three years to assist them resettle, learn new skills, and get jobs.
 
Mr Perrottet said the program funding he announced with new NSW Multiculturalism Minister Natalie Ward to mark Refugee Week was “central to the successful integration of newcomers” and “to help them settle and thrive.”
 
Regional Development Australia and NSW coordinator for settlement, Professor Peter Shergold take the lead in addressing workers and skills shortage through migrants from Western Sydney joining the program.
 
The region’s current 2.5 million population consists of 35 per cent overseas migrants. By 2036, Greater Western Sydney’s population is projected at three million.


editor

Publisher
Michael Walls
michael@accessnews.com.au
0407 783 413

Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.