Item 8.1 - Attachment 2

Economic Development Project Progress Report January 2009


Attachment 2: Economic Development Project Progress Report: January 2009


Key Projects / Activities

Progress & Outcomes

·    The appointment of a new Convenor of Business Partnerships

In January 2009, a new Convenor of Business Partnerships was appointed to assist Parramatta City Council build on their Partnerships approach with other local agencies and businesses interested in working together. The Convenor will chair a number of workshops and roundtables with businesses to influence and inform new projects for 2009/10. By way of background:

Otto Hirsch is a manager, director, adviser and business coach who now operates his own advisory business, Advanced Strategy Centre.


His 35 years in business have included 12 years at Brambles in its heyday, where he managed a portfolio of Australian businesses as their Executive Director, including CHEP pallets, Recall Records Management, Brambles Security, and the Marine Group.


His experience before Brambles included two years military national service, 10 years at CIG (now B0C) as a chemical engineer, production manager and marketing manager; and two years as a business manager at Honeywell Controls.


After Brambles he led a major Australian private commodity trading company as their CEO, and held a number of directorships and interim management roles, before managing the Sydney Graduate School of Management for six years as general manager, and lecturing on strategy and directorship on its MBA program.


He is an active director of the Western Sydney Business Connection, and a member of the AICD, and holds a chemical engineering degree from Sydney University.

·    Distribution of the Parramatta promotional DVD

Following the production of the Parramatta promotional DVD in 2008. 1200 copies have been distributed to Sydney Water in preparation for their move to the city in 2009. A further 500 copies have been mailed to local businesses who have regular contact with other businesses interested in Parramatta. These companies include recruitment agencies, real estate agents, events companies, and hotels.

·    Supporting the relocation of Sydney Water to Parramatta

Supported Sydney Water with promotional material about Parramatta and are in regular contact with their project managers to support employee relocation through making other introductions and assisting in tours, events and a possible Family Day.

·    Dining Guide - The aim of this publication is to promote Parramatta’s dining sector to local and regional visitors and help increase the patronage of the city’s restaurants, cafes and bars.

The 2008/09 edition has had broader regional distribution and this year featured dining options in Epping, Carlingford, Northmead, Telopea and Ermington.

120,000 copies were printed and distributed – 16,500 to individual businesses, 50,000 to residents through the local press, and 13,000 through SASS. This year, also sees distribution through the Sydney Visitor Centre at the Rocks and Darling Harbour. Others have been distributed via enquiries and through our Visitor Centre.

The Dining Guide is one of the top downloads from Council’s website.

Results from a survey completed by nearly 300 users of the guide noted 98% of them had been prompted to try a new restaurant. 87% also noted that it had helped change their perception of Parramatta.

·    Further development of Discover Parramatta

Parramatta attracts tens of thousands of people every week. With 40,000 daily workers, 24 million annual shoppers and large numbers of corporate visitors attending conferences and business functions in the city.

Following discussions with industry in 2008, a need was identified for a dedicated website driven by Council to promote ALL that Parramatta has to offer. The site will provide a platform for local businesses and operators to reach a wider tourist audience and encourage people to experience more, stay longer and spend more. Tenders are shortly to go out in preparation for this work to be undertaken in partnership with our tourism industry.

This website will be called and will be the ‘partner’ to the printed version of Discover Parramatta.


The Discover Parramatta brochure has already been produced this year, with 75,000 printed and distributed. Specific enquiries for this publication have come from:

·    Sydney Water in preparation of moving their HQ : 1200

·    IAG - The parent company of NRMA : 1260

·    Westfield : 640

·    UWS : 200-300. They usually get in touch with us about this time of the year (end of Jan - early Feb) for a massive order to assist them with their foreign students (overseas) orientation.

·    Loop : over 2000

·    Corner George and Phillip : 1000 to date


Figures from our Visitor Information Centre show visitor numbers up 27% on 2007 figures for July to September 2008, and up 36% on the 2007 figures for the October to December 2008 quarter. We have experienced the highest visitor numbers since we began collecting data in 2002.

·    BizFacts

The Summer 2008/09 Edition has been printed and distributed to over 2,000 businesses and agencies. This publication is unique in the way it presents local data for the local economy.

The Autumn 2009 Edition will be published in time for the annual State of the City address in March 20, 2009. This edition will include updated information on Property, Labour Market and other economic indicators.

·    Communicating with Business.

Implementation of a quarterly electronic newsletter to the business community.

This was to be a key tenet of our communications and marketing strategy to the business community, containing news and events from all business agencies involved in Parramatta, together with case studies. This project is now on hold pending staff recruitment and is unlikely to be completed this financial year.

·    State of the City

The State of the City is an annual event on the Parramatta business calendar which is run by the Parramatta Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Council. In March 2009, The Lord Mayor and CEO will update approximately 300 business people on our achievements in 2008 and objectives for 2009.

·    City Centre Business Database

In 2007/08, Council, in partnership with the University of Western Sydney, completed a census of all businesses in the Parramatta City Centre and a database was established. The Economic Development Team is currently comparing this information with the Australian Business Register, and other internal lists.

The potential for this information, over and above being just a contact list, is to be able to map and cluster businesses to understand industry location and mix.

This information will also be used by the Place Team to look at the City Centre retail mix as part of their future planning.

Community Atlas and Forecast


This is an ongoing project which provides staff and the general community with information on the Parramatta Local Government Area. Based on the Population Census of 2006, this information provides an insight into the community’s characteristics and how it is changing over time. With more than one hundred council’s throughout Australia using this tool, it also allows for comparison with a number of locations and economies.

The Atlas and Profile have now been updated and can be accessed through Council’s public website.

A new module, called Forecast, which allows for the forecasting and planning of development based on population and labour growth, will become live in March 2009.

Business Sustainable Expo

This is the only local business expo held in Parramatta, and run in partnership with the Parramatta Chamber of Commerce, State and Regional Development and the Department of Environment and Climate Change.

Held in September as part of the NSW State Small Business Month, it provided a showcase for local companies to market their products and services. Over 300 visitors attended to meet approximately 40 exhibitors. Exit surveys from the expo highlighted that 90% of these visitors either purchased on the day or intended to purchase from one of the exhibitors in the near future.

Western Sydney Industry Awards

In January 2009, Council was informed that these Awards have now ceased.


In 2007/08 an employment website called My New Work City was launched. Its aim was to address the difficulties faced by local firms in attracting quality applicants to skilled positions. The site targets professionals and skilled workers and highlights the diversity of industry sectors available in Parramatta. It also promotes specific local employment opportunities through a unique agreement with SEEK. This year the aim has been to enhance the website further by listing more employer profiles, more local recruiters, testimonials from employees and information on training providers located in Parramatta.

Approx 7,000 people visited this site between mid September and end December 2008 with over 11,000 page views.

Updates include a more comprehensive list of recruitment agencies and live links to their site, and an educational and skills section linking to agencies such as UWS and TAFE.

As indicated at a national level, job advertisements have fallen recently. With specific regards to this site and Parramatta, there were approximately 650 advertised jobs through SEEK for the Parramatta area in early February. Whilst his is down from a peak of 1800 in October of 2008, January to February is always a slow period for employment. The Economic Team monitors job ads on a weekly basis.

Parramatta Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards.

This year marked the 18th year of the very successful and popular Parramatta Regional Awards for Business Excellence. Parramatta City Council sponsors these due to the focus it provides for businesses wanting to be recognised for their achievements, and for the broad exposure it gives to the City through extensive press and radio advertising.

With the ceasing of the Western Sydney Industry Awards, there is significant potential to build on these in the near future.

Parramatta City Council has also made a request to the Chamber to include a new awards category to recognise Social Enterprises, which will help support the work being undertaken by Council’s Community Capacity Building Team.



Further information from Mike Thomas, Manager, Economic Development, 9806 5636