Greater Sydney Commission draft District Plans say 30 minute cities are key for productivity

By Jennifer Harris and Nikki Robinson

02 Feb 2017

It will be important to ensure that increased productivity does not occur through cannibalisation of business in surrounding districts.

The District Plans will have far-reaching implications and will drive opportunities for growth in Greater Sydney over the next 20 years. Businesses, developers, investors, land owners and councils will each be uniquely affected by the draft District Plans.

There a thousands of pages to read through in the draft District Plans, so we have prepared a series of articles looking at the sustainability, liveability and productivity priorities and what they mean for you.

Productivity priorities for the Central District

  • Constructing a motorway link between the M1 Princes Motorway and the F6 extension;
  • Planning to increase Sydney City's office space by improving building height restrictions and investigating redevelopment opportunities;
  • Developing Randwick and the Camperdown-Ultimo area into health and education super precincts;
  • Protecting employment and urban services land by recommending planning authorities take a precautionary approach to rezoning;
  • Enhancing east-west public transport in the southern areas of the Central District;
  • Improving connections and facilities along the WestConnex corridor; and
  • Investigating the feasibility of a mass transit corridor to the south east of the Central District to serve the area beyond 2031. 

Productivity priorities for the North District

  • Planning around improving transport infrastructure and diversity of employment choice;
  • Diversifying employment choice by developing Macquarie Park, North Sydney, St Leonards and Chatswood into strategic employment areas;
  • Developing the Northern Beaches Hospital area into a new health and education super precinct through improved facilities and accommodation in the area;
  • Improving access to local jobs by upgrading transport, creating stronger employment centres and developing housing on transport corridors; and
  • Upgrading roads and easing congestion by constructing the NorthConnex Tunnel and the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link. 

Productivity priorities for the West Central District

  • Developing Greater Parramatta and the Olympic Peninsula into the heart of West Central and Greater Sydney;
  • Developing Parramatta Square, a 3 ha mixed use redevelopment precinct which will include a new Western Sydney University campus, commercial offices, a 90-storey residential building and a 20,000 square metres of public space;
  • Constructing Western Sydney Stadium which will generate an estimated 1,200 construction jobs and up to 900 jobs once operational; and
  • Redeveloping Westmead as a health and education super precinct which is expected to increase the Precinct's workforce from 18,000 to 32,000 by 2036 and its number of students from 2,600 to 9,000. 

Productivity priorities for the West District

  • Developing existing anchor institutions while constructing an aerotropolis around the new Western Sydney Airport;
  • Improving the Penrith health and education precinct and the Blue Mountains tourism area to leverage off the influx of people expected to travel through the Western Sydney Airport;
  • Establishing four strategic centres to support the West District's growth being Penrith, Blacktown, Liverpool and Campbelltown;
  • Upgrading infrastructure to ensure accessibility and achieve the GSC's target of a 30-minute workforce; and
  • Dedicating a $200 million package for local road upgrades to be delivered over 10 years and constructing a new M12 Motorway to the Airport. 

Productivity priorities for the South West District

  • Developing Campbelltown into a health and medical university city;
  • Transforming Liverpool into a business innovation city and health and education super precinct to be known as 'Smart Liverpool';
  • Planning strategic centres around the new Western Sydney Airport, University of Wollongong campus and Western Sydney University campus;
  • Increasing job diversity through growing the agricultural industry and increasing tourism; and
  • Upgrading transportation through the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan and the new Sydney Metro West train line. 

Productivity priorities for the South District

  • Growing the Kogarah health and education super precinct by improving existing infrastructure and growing local employment;
  • Advancing smart manufacturing in the Bankstown Airport district centre;
  • Growing employment and urban services in the Kurnell Peninsula;
  • Expanding the ANTSO research facility at Lucas Heights; and
  • Growing the South District’s tourism infrastructure and ensuring supply of short-term visitor accommodation. 

Implications for developers and business

This snapshot shows that the Greater Sydney Commission has sought to create a 30-minute city by developing super precincts for each District and improving transportation between these areas. This will create new opportunities for businesses to take advantage of a more accessible workforce.

It will be important to ensure that increased productivity does not occur through cannibalisation of business in surrounding districts. This will likely depend on attracting start-ups and new businesses to the new strategic centres. Industry commentary suggests that it is currently unclear how businesses will be incentivised to move to these new strategic centres. It will be interesting to see how successfully the Greater Sydney Commission leverages the new transport infrastructure and increased housing availability to tackle this issue.

Developers should also note that relevant planning authorities have been advised to take a more precautionary approach to rezoning employment and urban service lands.

What next?

It is vital to  understand how the key priorities for each District will affect economic activity, development opportunities, transport, infrastructure and your business.

We can help you better understand the impacts or help you prepare formal submissions to the draft District Plans, which close on 31 March 2017. 

Thanks to Monique Dhiri, Megan Williams and Anthony Cavallaro for their help in writing this article.

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