Item 9.3 - Attachment 2

Expenditure Review Report




Mr Otto Hirsch

Mr Roman Dechnicz


Thank you for agreeing to undertake a Projects and Expenditure Review for the Economic Development Team. It is vitally important to me, my executive, my Councillors, and the business community that there is confidence in the work that the Economic Development Team is undertaking using the Special rates allocated to this task.


To assist you in this process, I have drafted a report on our work throughout the year together with a summary of expenditures against budget. Whilst we report to Council on a monthly basis to the Group Manager, quarterly to the CEO, on a quarterly basis publicly through the Quarterly Review, and Annually through the Management Plan, I am more than happy to supply you with a complete and detailed list of all expenditures throughout the year. In that respect you have complete access to all records and receipts for the financial year. I take my responsibilities in using public monies very seriously and as a team, we have consistently adhered to Council policies in terms of open and transparent dealings with suppliers.


My basis for making decisions on projects and expenditures in 2008/09 was the Economic Development Partnerships Plan. A number of these projects were completed but a number are being carried into 2009/10. I explain this further in my report.


Please let me know if I can provide any further information so that you can conduct your review as thoroughly as you need to.





Mike Thomas

Manager, Economic Development











2008/2009 Parramatta Economic Development

Partnerships Plan – Projects and Expenditure Report




2008-2009 was a challenging year for Parramatta’s Economic Development Team. The Business Development Manager left Council for a role at UWS, the Economic Development Manager was required to act in another role for 5 months and a third team member, Serge Markovtzev, passed away. The staff freeze in place at the time meant that these positions could not be filled.

Notwithstanding, the team delivered or contributed to a number of economic development initiatives in Parramatta. Key projects are noted below in the report.

Annual budget expenditure was originally forecast at $500,000 but was reduced to $405,000 in the March Quarterly Review because of staffing issues. Prudent management of funds however, ensured that final expenditure was right on target with no variance.

During the year, the Economic Development Team continued its support to Sydney Water and was able to assist in the relocation of 1,400 employees to their new headquarters in the city – working alongside the project team from Sydney Water. More recently, the Economic Development Team have been working with two of Sydney Water’s main service delivery partners, Parsons Brikenhoff and MWH Global, who are also locating part of their operations to Parramatta.


Individual Projects

·    State of the City

A presentation on the state of Parramatta’s economic, environment and social challenges for 2008-2009, delivered by the Lord Mayor of Parramatta and CEO in March 2008. This event was run in partnership with the Parramatta Chamber of Commerce. This event is a key annual initiative and is one of the most important opportunities Council has to speak directly with its business community. The focus of the event is to give an overview of the previous years’ expenditure and achievements and an outline of future works and challenges. The team spends several weeks pulling this information together and developing the presentation.


Approximately 250 business people packed the Sebel Parramatta to hear the presentation. A post-event survey highlighted that 98% of respondents thought that the information presented was relevant to their business and 98% of respondents rating the quality of information as either good or excellent.




·    Parramatta 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, Westmead and Winston Hills.

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.


A survey of users and participating restaurants showed:



Almost 300 people responded to the survey.

The largest age group being 35-44 with a response rate of 31%

A large percentage – more than a third of respondents – lived in Parramatta. This would reflect the focus of distribution being Parramatta LGA-centric. The second largest resident groups were Ryde with 12%, Penrith with 11%, Blacktown with 9%, Auburn with 8% and Fairfield with 6%. All of these LGAs – except for Ryde – were targeted via ads in local press.

Half of the people who responded to the survey worked in Parramatta. This is an encouraging figure as making the guide available to the local working population is a key objective. Dining Guides are available via the VIC, ferry wharf, brochures racks on Eat Street, hotel concierge desks and the Loop bus. New deals with large local organisations (CBA, Jesse Street Centre, Sydney Water, RTA, Westfield, UWS) have recently been struck to further the distribution to workers so this has potentially increased since the survey closed.

The vast majority of people rated Parramatta dining very highly; 7+ out of 10. Most gave it an 8.

Most people keep the Dining Guide at home. About a third keeps it at work.

An impressive 78% of people find the guide useful.

91% of respondents confirmed it had prompted them to try a new restaurant, bar or café, affirming the guide is influential and credible.

85% of people confirmed the guide had positively altered their perception of Parramatta, either to a degree, or definitely. The common theme in respondent’s answers was a new awareness of the diversity of dining choices, and the number of choices on offer, with one user commenting “I did not realise there was so much on offer other than the restaurants I knew of, all the different mixes of spices, cultures and new things to try, now I look forward to trying something new each week!”


Businesses (30 restaurants)

92% awareness of the guide

97% liked the presentation of the guide

80% felt it changed perception of Parramatta

56% felt it encouraged people to dine in Parramatta


One business commented, “People used to be afraid to go out in Parramatta for fear of thugs, and the Dining Guide shows instead there is fun and vibrancy and great food to go out and enjoy”


·    Discover Parramatta and Visitor Development


Discussions with industry in 2008 identified the need for a dedicated website driven by Council to promote the variety of leisure and entertainment options available within Parramatta. The Economic Development team has since acted upon this request.

There has been significant work on the development of a new site in 2009 and broad consultation with community and business has been undertaken. 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. This website will be called and will be the ‘partner’ to the printed version of Discover Parramatta, Parramatta’s Official Visitor’s Guide.


The Discover Parramatta tourism guide was produced in September 2008 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


As one Hotellier comments, “Our guests have found the Discover Parramatta brochure very useful as it helps them familiarise themselves with the City”.

Geoff Loder, Hotel Host, Mercure Hotel.

Although total annual figures from our Visitor Centre were up slightly on 2007/08, the second half of the financial year saw a decrease – possibly due to the economic downturn, reduced consumer expenditure and weather. However, for the first half of the financial year, 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. These were the highest visitor numbers since we began collecting data in 2002.


During the year, a number of Tourism / Visitor initiatives came together. The Economic Development Team are working alongside other teams within Council to deliver the objectives of the $500k Federal Tourism Grant fund. And to assist in this process, a renewed effort to engage tourism and tourism related industries has begun with the initial formation of a Tourism Reference Group chaired by Otto Hirsch and the Economic Development Team. Feedback from one of the participants from the first meeting, noted, It is great to see a real effort from Council in organising a meeting of the stakeholders to further the purpose of making and promoting Parramatta a recognised tourist destination. You have my full support and that of the Trust, and if I can contribute in any way along with the team here, we are only too pleased to be involved.

Luke Coleman, Manager, Parramatta Stadium Trust


·    BizFacts

The only publication of its kind for Parramatta, and one which has been regularly requested by those in property development and investment, the Autumn 2009 Edition was published in time for the annual State of the City address in March 2009. This edition included updated information on Property, Labour Market and other economic indicators. 3,000 copies were distributed between March and July 2009. Electronic copies are also available on the website.

In one of the Chamber of Commerce’s View Points last year, this is what was said about BizFacts:

Reading the latest edition of Parramatta City Council’s Biz Facts publication, it really impressed me as an easily-readable document packed with valuable economic data on Parramatta. What Biz Facts provides is finger tip information for business planning, media or student research. Several times over the last few days, engaged in Chamber work, I’ve found myself reaching for Biz Facts as a fast, easy way of finding the detail I need.

All parties with an interest in the economic and business life of our city need to monitor what’s happening in our city and many, like myself, don’t have the time to plough through endless reports and publications to extract the data crucial to growing and developing our businesses. That’s why the Chamber recognizes Biz Facts as a positive outcome of Council’s Economic Development Activities and encourages business owners/mangers, investors, students and the media to use this publication to full advantage.


·    Business Newsletter

This was to be a key tenet of our communications and marketing strategy to the business community, This project was one which was put on hold following the death of Serge. However, with a first release in September 2009, we have now partnered with the Chamber of Commerce to produce a bi-monthly business newspaper for the Parramatta Business Community. This is an excellent example of the strong and ever growing relationship we have with the Chamber. It will give both organisations a regular opportunity to engage with our business community, and a regular vehicle to inform businesses of key issues and success stories.


·    Marketing The City DVD

Towards the end of the FY 2008, a DVD about Parramatta City was produced. The aim was to provide visual and audio impact to Council presentations and those of its stakeholders.

To enhance Parramatta’s profile to potential businesses, investors and employees, this DVD will supplement and be a natural extension of a multi-faceted marketing campaign that also includes print collateral, press advertising, events and channel marketing. Now profiled on our website, mynewworkcity, and even YouTube, the DVD continues to be regularly requested by businesses. The UWS and major Hotels have used it in their promotions,  Grosvenor Development have worked with the DVD producers to integrate their own developments, and local commercial real estate agents have utilized the DVD for attracting potential clients to the city. One recent request noted: “We are very interested in the DVD and I’d like to chat further about integrating it into our new site.” 

Todd, Marketing and Communications Manager, Sydney Turf Club


·    Business Pages - Parramatta City Council’s website

The ‘Business’ section of Council’s website was updated last year. It included information on Parramatta’s economic profile, business services, Council’s Partnerships Plan and partners, business sustainability, publications and contact points for Strategy, Investment and Marketing within the Economic Development Team.  This is an ongoing work and requires considerable time to keep updated.


·    Census Profiles and Forecasts


     This is an ongoing project which provides staff and the general community with interactive access to 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 were updated in 2009 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, became live in March 2009.







     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. Last year the aim was to enhance the website further by listing more employer profiles, more local recruiters, testimonials from employees and information on training providers located in Parramatta.

Over 20,000 people visited this site in 2008/09

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.

The Economic Team monitors job ads on a weekly basis and on average notes between 600 and 800 jobs being regularly advertised in Parramatta.


·    Sustainable Business Expo       

This was the only local business expo held in Parramatta in 2008, 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.



·    Appointment of 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 Economic Development Team wishes to specifically thank Otto for his involvement in the Tourism Reference Group.


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.




·    Parramatta Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards.        


Last 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, the Chamber have now stepped into this gap and broadened the Awards to Western Sydney. An excerpt from a report on the Awards for 2008 shows the exposure given to this initiative.







Average Reach

No. of Presentations

Total Reach

Web Site Awards




Chamber website – hits




Email Broadcasts




Mail Outs (Promotional Material)




Mail Outs (Invites)




Newsletter Distribution (ezine)




Newsletter Distribution (Hard Copy)




Launch Attendance




Lunch Attendance




Parramatta Advertiser - Editorial




Parramatta Advertiser – Advert




Parramatta Advertiser - Viewpoints




SASS Magazine - Advert




Parramatta - Your Community On Line *




GWP Magazine












* Appearance from 1 February 2008 till 31 December 2008






·    Other


During the year, the Economic Development Team continued to support the work of the Western Sydney Business Connection, Asia Business Connection, and Parramatta Chamber of Commerce.


We participated in the Parramatta Business Women’s Expo with Clr Wearne who opened the conference.


We supported a number of 3rd year economics students from UWS who were undertaking consultancy work as a subject with the following topics

·    Visitor accommodation

·    Cafes and Restaurants

·    Carbon Trading

·    Industry Cluster


We again made a contribution to the Social Enterprise Hubs project and participated in the project steering group and grants allocation process.


Took possession of an economic modeling tool developed in conjunctions with La Trobe University. Not only does this allow Council to forecast growth on the back of new developments, it also includes a way of measuring the economic impacts of major events.


We jointly supported a project officer for the Department of Environment and Climate Changes’ Sustainability Advantage Program.


And in addition to the above, regularly supported the Lord Mayor and CEOs’ Office with materials, advice, and input into speeches and presentations.





















Expenditure Summary for 2008/09

Against those projects which were completed





Original Budget

Final Expenditure











Budget allocation












Fostering Innovation





Chair Partnerships





Sustainability Ad Pg





id Forecast





Business Expo














Marketing the City





State of the City










Dining Guide





WSBC Membership





Tourism Promo





Discover Parramatta





Destination Website





Tourism Development Plan














Support Emp Growth





Social Enterp. Hubs





Chamber Awards





My New Work City



















(includes sponsorship of Asia Business Connection, purchase of Sensis business data, Economic Modelling Tool, Asia Business Connection, Property Council membership, DVD Copies













Total of all expenditure










Focus for 2009/10


During May 2009, the Manager of Economic Development met with a number of Councillors to ask for input into future economic development initiatives. This was a very worthwhile exercise and a summary of the directions noted by Councillors were:


·    The need for more of a Regional approach

·    More promotion of Success stories

·    The opportunities for keystone or ‘bigger’ projects

·    Better visual integration with other arms of Council

·    To investigate specific  commercial development sites within the LGA

·    Change of focus for KPIs – meetings, events, face to face, interaction

·    More aggressive investment attraction

·    The need to clearly define the comparative advantage of Parramatta

·    The concept of affordability as a marketing message

·    What types of businesses do we want here – clearly define

·    The importance of being pro local and pro family

·    Keep on with the focus of Tourism

·    Broader focus on Parramatta LGA not just City

·    Focus on residential growth

·    The continuing importance of networks and relationships

·    More joint promotions with partners


A major focus, therefore, for 2009 is the development of a new Economic Development Strategy. The aim is to present this before Council in draft by December 2009 – to be finished for February 2010 – to be sent to the Minister for Local Government seeking future funding.

Work on this has already begun and leading up to December, the aim is to engage with as many businesses and organisations as possible (under the chairmanship of Otto Hirsch) to ensure the strategy has broad input. The aim is to develop a strategy to 2018. To set measurable targets for this time in terms of explicit employment growth, then to work back and plan initiatives to ensure targets are attained.


In addition to the strategy, the team will focus on completion of projects noted in the 2008/09 Partnerships Plan. Major emphasis this year, will go into:

·    the completion of the destination website

·    production of a new Dining Guide

·    Production of Discover Parramatta Brochure

·    Development of an effective Tourism Reference Group and strategy

·    Continuation of BizFacts

·    Production of the bi-monthly newsletter with the Chamber of Commerce

·    Sponsorship of the SuperX

·    Research through focus groups, questionnaires and interviews to understand the views and experiences of employers and employees who have moved to Parramatta in the last 2-3 years. This is already underway, and the results will be presented to Councillors in October 2009.