The newly-signed Western Sydney City Deal inked between the Commonwealth, the NSW government and eight local councils includes the creation and construction of a STEM facility and the roll-out of 5G mobile technology and a host of smart infrastructure.
The 20-year agreement between all three levels of government – federal, state, and eight local governments of Western Sydney (Camden, Campbelltown, Liverpool, Penrith, Wollondilly, the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Fairfield) – will deliver on six priorities: connectivity, jobs for the future, skills and education, planning and housing, livability and environment, and governance.
“This is about putting Western Sydney on the map globally. It’s about making sure that the next generation of people growing up in this region or anywhere in the nation in fact, can look to Western Sydney for the best jobs, the best livability and the best connectivity,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told the launch at the weekend.
A core part of the deal would involve developing Badgerys Creek into what the governments have dubbed will be an “Aerotropolis”, a so-called advanced manufacturing, research, medical, education and commercial hub of Western Sydney.
Within the Aerotropolis, there are plans to build an aerospace institute and to establish a permanent Vocational Education and Training (VET) facility, which will focus on construction, aviation and aeronautical engineering.
There will also be a push to enhance STEM education at primary and secondary education levels, with plans for a new high school to be built in the Aerotropolis that will have vocational links to Western Sydney Airport – when it’s built – and the aerospace and aviation industries.
The City Deal also includes a commitment to support and help local Indigenous communities through a dedicated Indigenous Business Hub and small business.
The NSW government would also deliver a Smart Western City Program to enable state government agencies to embed interoperable smart and secure technology – such as transport and utility monitoring systems – into new infrastructure as it is rolled out.
In addition, the City Deal would see the NSW and local governments develop a 5G Strategy for the Western Parkland City. This includes partnering with a telecommunications carrier to deliver a trial of 5G technology, with a view that the technology would roll out to metropolitan centres as it becomes available.
The City Deal is off the back of the Australian government’s $5.3 billion investment in the Badgerys Creek Western Sydney Airport, which took 30 years of talking, planning, and several government changes to get off the ground.
While federal and state governments have assured locals an implementation plan for Western Sydney City Deal would be released this year – providing details on commitments under the deal, including timeframes and accountabilities – it’s not unreasonable given history to be sceptical about whether this 20-year plan would deliver the outcomes that have been promised.