NSW Premier Mike Baird has earmarked Sydney’s most coveted harbour-front development site as a technology sector hub, with the aim of attracting Tier One tech industry multinationals, as well as a world class technology and innovation campus.
The long-dormant White Bay Power Station is to be redeveloped as a centre for Sydney’s knowledge-intensive industries, Mr Baird said, together with its surrounding waterfront.
The government will next week issue a Request for Proposals for the site, which is to include a “world-class” tertiary campus for the digital economy.
The developments are a part of the Bays Precinct plans announced yesterday, and include the long-term vision for 90 hectares of development site boasting more than five kilometres of Sydney waterfront.
“We will be going to market next week to turn this power station in to a technology hub that will drive the future of not just Sydney and New South Wales, but I believe the whole national economy,” Mr Baird said.
Mr Baird predicted that universities, the tech industry and startups will all want to play a role in the development of the site, which is more than four times the size of Barangaroo.
“The focus here is technology. Technology takes many forms and that is what we are going out to the market and asking,” Mr Baird said. “We want the best companies from across Australia and the best companies from across the world to participate in this.”
“What we are looking at is not just an employment site, this is an economic driver for the future of country.”
Mr Baird said the digital economy was growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy and that government needed to plan to take advantage of that opportunity. Sydney is already home to half of the ICT sector, and most multinational tech companies maintain their country headquarters here.
“We can’t just leave that opportunity to chance. It is clear that [the tech sector] needs more space and that’s what this is,” Mr Baird said.
Few details were available to describe the “technology and innovation campus” that Mr Baird insists will form a core component of the site, except that it would be modelled on and rival similar initiatives in innovation centres like London, Berlin, New York and San Francisco.