Visitors to the District represent 33 per cent of Greater Sydney visitors, 20 per cent of Greater Sydney visitor nights, and 23 per cent of expenditure in the Sydney and Blue Mountains Tourism Region14. The largest visitor segment, domestic day trips, accounts for 74 per cent of all visitors, followed by domestic overnight (22 per cent) and international visitors (4 per cent).
Tourism is the third largest employment sector in the Blue Mountains Local Government Area, accounting for 11.8 per cent of jobs15.
Leisure, cultural, sporting, educational and natural and cultural assets include:
- Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, which is recognised by Tourism Australia as one of the 16 significant national landscapes across Australia and other national parks
- rural and agricultural landscapes
- agri-tourism and food tourism
- sporting venues and recreational assets including adventure tourism
- recreational activities in the gorges, canyons, dams, rivers and water ways of Wollondilly and Hawkesbury local government areas
- the Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan and the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt Tomah
- multicultural attractions such as Canley Vale Road eat street and Cabramatta Moon Festival
- historical towns of Richmond and Windsor and tourist villages like Leura, Wentworth Falls and Blackheath
- arts and creative industry hubs of the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury local government areas
- affordable tourist accommodation in Liverpool with good access to the rest of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Canberra.
The District’s multicultural population supports a robust tourist market from visiting friends and relatives market and attracts international visitation.
Growing the visitor economy through targeted activities and the development of new cultural and visitor infrastructure will help drive increased visitor numbers and develop significant employment opportunities. Western Sydney Airport creates opportunities for the Western Parkland City to become an alternative to the Eastern Harbour City for international tourists with more affordable accommodation and attractions like the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, Aboriginal heritage, historic rural villages and scenic landscapes.
Alliances between councils and key industry stakeholders create opportunities to cross-promote events, develop and support a wider range of activities and, importantly, realise the opportunities as Western Sydney Airport and Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis develops.
As the visitor economy has broad benefits, a districtwide strategy is needed to consider improvements to transport, visitor experiences and to plan for tourism. This will include identifying tourist zones, sites and activities in land use plans. The Western Sydney Visitor Economy Strategy 2017/18 – 2020/21 sets out a cohesive approach to destination management and marketing through government, industry and commercial partnerships. The strategy outlines that government and industry will agree to a common Destination Management Plan focusing on the need to raise the profile and opportunities of the broader visitor economy with councils.
Agricultural processing and export
A Metropolis of Three Cities seeks to support and protect agricultural production and mineral resources. In the Western City District, the Metropolitan Rural Area includes agricultural activities such as the production of eggs and poultry, cut flowers, turf and mushroom farms. The Western Sydney University at Hawkesbury Campus provides tertiary education in medical and forensic science, animal science, natural science, sustainable agriculture and food security with world-class research facilities in grasses, pastures, legumes, insects and ecology. Sydney University at Cobbitty also provides courses in agriculture and veterinary science, and the Elizabeth Macarthur Agriculture Institute provides world-leading research that is improving Australia’s agricultural competitiveness.
Agricultural industries provide produce, employment and tourism opportunities and require long-term certainty to enable investment and growth, especially as the Western Sydney Airport may provide new international markets. The Western Sydney Employment Area will develop agribusiness and will also provide opportunities to establish high value intensive agricultural industries and will enhance export capacity for NSW Primary Industries to new international markets. Local agribusiness opportunities for processing and export can be leveraged through stronger links to rural areas in the district.
The NSW Government is working towards developing a concept for a potential agribusiness precinct that would look to be located adjacent to the new Western Sydney Airport. This initiative would aim to enhance export capability for farmers in NSW, link agribusiness to new markets, establish capacity for high value intensive agricultural industries, develop facilities to manage biosecurity risk, strengthen agricultural research and education, and help create future jobs and skilled workers to support the precinct and the agricultural sector.
The Western District contains State and regionally significant mineral and energy resources, including construction material resources providing raw materials for concrete, roads, house bricks and roofing tiles among other products are located throughout the District. Significant resources around Londonderry and the Hawkesbury River supply housing and infrastructure development in Sydney.
These resources have potential to drive regional economic development by generating employment and supporting infrastructure, housing, jobs creation and other development needed for a growing population. Land use planning can respond to the life cycle of the mineral resources by adopting a multiple or sequential approach to the location of compatible activities on or near mineral resources land. Land uses will need to be carefully considered to ensure a balanced approach to managing growth and development in this region, including economic, social and environmental considerations.
Western Sydney City Deal Commitments: Skills and education
Education and skills
Accelerating high-value opportunities in advanced manufacturing, include developing a strategy to support advanced manufacturing and industry development. Existing clusters include aviation in Ingleburn and Richmond, electronics in Greater Penrith and automotive in Ingleburn. The NSW Department of Industry is also developing an Advanced Manufacturing Industry Development Strategy to maximise benefits.
Education and training
Objective 24 of A Metropolis of Three Cities outlines the range of education and training initiatives delivered by the NSW Government. A number of initiatives will directly address skills shortages which hinder economic growth and support the ability for residents to be engaged with the high level of infrastructure and development investment occurring in the Western City District. These initiatives include:
- Training Services NSW is working with State agencies and principal contractors to embed the Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program targets in projects for Western Sydney, allocating $10 million over four years for project coordination.
- The Refugee Employment Support Program supports refugees and asylum seekers moving into sustainable and skilled employment. The program will assist up to 4,250 refugees and 1,000 asylum seekers across Western Sydney, with $22 million over four years allocated to this program.
- The Aboriginal Centre for Excellence is a $20 million investment in a cultural and skills hub for Indigenous youth in the Western Sydney region. As well as providing opportunities for strengthening individual and community resilience, this initiative will have a particular focus on ensuring that local Aboriginal people, particularly young people, are equipped to seize opportunities stemming from this region’s growth. The facility will deliver programs and services that support Aboriginal young people making the transition from the school environment into further education and employment.
The Sydney Science Park in the Western Sydney Airport Growth Area at Luddenham will be a fully integrated community creating more than 12,000 knowledge based jobs, catering to over 10,000 students and home to over 10,000 residents. Research and education partners include Birling National Avian Laboratories Centre; the CSIRO’s first dedicated Innovation Zone and ‘Urban Living Lab’ in NSW; and the NSW Government’s first STEM-inspired (science, technology engineering and mathematics) school (Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta).
This metropolitan cluster’s agglomerations of health and education assets will be essential to the District’s emergence as a major city region, while growing knowledge-intensive jobs, building the District’s education and skills and servicing the growing population. Complementing the emerging Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis, these centres will, in the long term, become a ring of university cities (refer to Planning Priority W9). TAFEs also play an important role in training for the diverse range of essential trades and service jobs that support the District.
Study NSW will collaborate with education institutions, industry and local government in Western Sydney on implementing programs that enhance the international student experience.
Adapting to changing technologies
Rapid technological changes and digital advancements are disrupting established business models and the workplace worldwide. These changes are dramatically changing the way people and goods move around, providing more efficient transport services. While technological changes can reduce demand for certain types of jobs, they also help to deliver innovation, new knowledge-intensive jobs and business opportunities. As governments continue to engage with industry, assess regulatory barriers and update governance and policies to capitalise on changes, strategic land use planning needs to respond by providing a regulatory environment which enables the economic opportunities created by changing technologies
Western Sydney City Deal Commitments: Connectivity
Digital connectivity and smart technology