Item 8.9 - Attachment 2

Parramatta City Council's Submission to the Discussion Paper







Parramatta City Council’s submission comprises this summary outline of the key responses to the discussion paper, with attached supporting documents.


Principles guiding Planning for Sydney

There is strong support in Western Sydney and Parramatta for the core concepts in the existing Metropolitan Plan, particularly the concentration of growth in centres and the concept of a City of Cities. 


Parramatta City Council has expended significant effort over the past few years researching actions and strategies which support the local implementation of the principles of the current Metropolitan Plan and the objectives of the State Plan 2021, particularly around economic development.


This research has led us to the conclusion that a new Metropolitan Plan should take these concepts further and focus on re-shaping Sydney, with Parramatta at the heart of the new city, with inter- regional connections to other successful centres. 




We believe that the Metropolitan Plan needs to put a priority on growth of employment in Western Sydney to match increased population levels and address the existing imbalance of jobs within Metropolitan Sydney. 


For example:


By 2036, on current predictions;

o  Sydney’s population is projected to increase by 1.4 million people, and employment by 700 000 jobs.

o  Western Sydney’s population  is projected to increase by 900,000 people, but jobs only by 364 000.

So to balance population growth in Western Sydney with jobs, 237 000 additional jobs are required in Western Sydney to create a balanced Metropolitan Sydney in 2036.  


We believe this should be a primary challenge for the new Metropolitan Plan. To perpetuate this imbalance in employment will increase congestion, increase travelling times, increased infrastructure costs and will be likely to lead to significant economic productivity losses and reduction in quality of life. Failing to act to address this structural issue in Sydney will impact directly on many of the objectives of the State Plan and the growth of the NSW economy.




















Generally, the Principles set out in the document are sound and supported, although it is suggested that the above centres concept diagram from the existing Metropolitan Plan be modified slightly to emphasise the role of the regional cities.

A positive future for the city will not take place unless significant resources are dedicated to infrastructure and supporting regeneration, particularly in existing centres ready for asset renewal, expansion and redevelopment.  This will require prioritisation of scarce resources to support centres including cities like Parramatta. 




Western Sydney is on track to absorb 2/3 of new population growth and to expand to 3 million by 2036.  This issue needs to be clearly recognised and addressed by the new Metropolitan Plan.  The Plan cannot just be about where these people are housed, it also has to address where they will learn, work, live and travel for entertainment or services.

Parramatta’s population is growing at 3% per annum, and is the second fastest growing LGA in NSW.  Council is on track to meet its residential targets set under the current Metropolitan Plan.  This indicates that successful residential growth can occur in established areas. The discussion paper indicates that existing urban areas have accommodated the majority of housing growth in Sydney over the past 30 years, and Parramatta can continue to effectively provide for increased density and growth close to employment.  Council believes a critical component of successful urban renewal is proactively enhancing and renewing infrastructure.

Efficiency and sustainability of growth will be achieved by a compact city which can only be achieved by directing much of housing growth in and around centres. Large low density housing estates on Sydney’s fringe that are not supported by jobs and public transport will reduce the efficiency and sustainability of Sydney’s growth and should not be a major element of the strategy. A more sophisticated understanding of changing demographics and emerging demands for housing should feed directly into initiatives to increase supply.

Council believes that one of the major obstacles to renewal of existing housing stock in established centres of Western Sydney is the underlying land value.  This cannot be adequately addressed by the traditional planning tools of varying zoning, height and FSR controls.   The Government needs to understand better other factors that contribute to the value of land such as access to transport, jobs, services, community cohesion and amenity - and put in place strategies to influence these issues. State Government also needs to address factors that limit redevelopment opportunities such as strata title laws and land costs (most redevelopment in established areas is hindered by site amalgamation costs).

Housing cannot be looked at in isolation of transport (and employment, education and other trip generation). More housing in established centres requires supplementary transport infrastructure to provide better linkages between centres. Building efficiently on the existing transport connections in centres like Parramatta will increase its efficiency and connect people with jobs and other opportunities. Such infrastructure will have a positive impact on land values, and stimulate urban transformation along corridors at improved amenity and increased density.  The development of the Western Sydney Light Rail Proposal put forward by Parramatta City Council is an example of delivering this future potential of the city and the region (see attached brochure).

Emphasis needs to be on provision of a range of housing in Western Sydney to match population growth, across a range of housing types and price ranges.  (Combined with high value jobs growth and supported by transport infrastructure).

State Government’s role in housing needs to be more than setting up agencies that undertake studies and prepare strategic plans. The State needs to dedicate an agency to that plays a key role in the delivery of housing, jobs and urban renewal, including affordable housing and employment precincts. This agency needs to take active steps to deliver the amalgamation and infrastructure required to deliver long term quality results in housing and employment.

The delivery of affordable housing options which are necessary for Sydney's long-term sustainability can only be achieved if the NSW State Government takes the primary responsibility for coordinating housing delivery - bringing transport provision, housing supply and centres of employment together in a complementary relationship.


The setting of housing targets for Local Government areas by the Department does not guarantee delivery of housing that will meet targets; it is just a theoretical number.  There is no consistent methodology for representing how the targets are calculated across Local Councils, the numbers themselves are not necessarily accurate, consistent or comparable and should not be used as a measure of housing quantum. 




Economy (jobs)


As discussed, jobs growth needs to match population growth in the Metropolitan area.   


Any review of the Metropolitan Plan should considering increased jobs targets in Western Sydney – and Parramatta in particular.  Our estimates suggest an increase of 47,000 jobs within Parramatta CBD and 7000 in Westmead would be a reasonable expectation during the life of the plan. Higher employment numbers of up to 20,000 additional jobs would possible if our suggested significant infrastructure investment and redevelopment occurred in Auto Alley, Rydalmere, and Camellia.


Better understanding of employment futures is essential if the Government is going to successfully guide Sydney’s employment growth through the challenges of declining manufacturing and increased energy costs.  Western Sydney employment will be particularly vulnerable to these changes, but Parramatta currently serves as a starting model for the future – with a mix of services and quality jobs, and a successful health precinct. However these businesses and precincts such as Westmead, Rydalmere and the Parramatta CBD will not grow and expand without investment.



The majority of jobs growth needs to occur in centres in the west, particularly in the regional cities of Parramatta, Penrith and Liverpool.  We believe this should be a clearly stated priority in the new Metropolitan Plan.  Council believes it is important for the future of Metropolitan and Western Sydney that significant effort is given to concentrating jobs in centres in Western Sydney.


For Example:


o  Currently in the eastern Sydney, approximately 50% of jobs are concentrated in strategic centres,

o  In Western Sydney, only 23% of jobs are located in strategic centres. 


On current projections, this will only improve marginally in the west by 2036 with 29% of jobs within strategic centres.  This issue needs to be addressed as it is likely to have significant impacts on accessibility, congestion and involve large social and environmental costs. 

(Source: Cox Richardson)


Council believes Parramatta has a primary role in providing quality jobs in a centre located to be accessible to all of Sydney - and should therefore attract commensurate attention in the Metropolitan Plan and infrastructure funding to drive this outcome.   Existing centres such as Parramatta are the most efficient locations for these jobs and the infrastructure that supports their growth, particularly transport. We support the conclusions of the Department’s own research that investment in infrastructure to support the growth and renewal of existing centres is more economically efficient than low density employment and residential growth on the fringes of the metropolitan area. 



Employment growth, particularly in Western Sydney will not occur without actions from the State Government to provide the conditions for jobs growth – including dedicated employment centres.  This will require an understanding of industry needs and clustering, emerging growth areas of employment and investment in infrastructure and amenity. 


Transformation of precincts including Parramatta CBD, Rydalmere Business Park, Westmead and Camellia is essential for the future of the city – and this will require investment in infrastructure, particularly transport, education, and the public domain.  New business parks need to be in connected places, close to existing infrastructure (such as Rydalmere, Camellia and Westmead) and close to its potential workforce, not in fringe or isolated locations with high car dependency.


Parramatta’s primary employment precincts


We believe that the Metropolitan Plan must plan for long term employment growth and the supply of land for this purpose in locations close to transport.  This criteria makes all of the Regional cities in the plan priorities for funding.


Council believes that the State Government needs to better understand latent employment growth with more sophisticated models that reflect the potential for Government to drive employment density and renewal through city building initiatives like Light Rail.  Various scenarios and growth assumptions would provide better decision making support for investment than simply extrapolating current trends.  


Greater Parramatta (Parramatta CBD, Westmead, Rydalmere, Camellia) is the logical extension of Sydney’s global arc from Macquarie Park and conduit to western Sydney. The concept of the global arc of “knowledge workers” has been omitted from the Discussion Paper – and we would support its continued inclusion in any revised plan.




Even at current projections of jobs growth, getting this workforce into Parramatta, this would require:


o  500 extra buses an hour or,

o  25 extra trains and hour on the western line (for which there is insufficient capacity) or

o  10000 extra parking spaces (double existing public parking supply)


Servicing this demand, and achieving more ambitious employment and residential growth targets is one of the objectives of Council’s Light Rail proposal. 


Light Rail Map - Black



The Metropolitan Plan should give some weight to recognising this as a model for meeting broader objectives such as providing north south links within the region, improving the efficiency of the heavy rail system and driving urban renewal.


Council has also proposed a simple but significant plan for improving access to Parramatta and within the region by expanding existing infrastructure capability through its ring road improvement proposals.


Council believes that transport infrastructure delivery must support and connect Sydney’s regional cities and centres and must move away from the focus on transport radially to and from Sydney’s CBD as is currently promoted in the State Government’s Transport Plan. Parramatta is centrally located to connect to all major centres and new transport infrastructure is required. Planning for this and funding commitments for this must occur now and need to be reflected in the State Government plans.



All the identified regional cities within the Metropolitan Plan should be assisted to develop regional transport plans for the future and to implement any long term regional corridor reservations.


Continuation of a viable ferry service to Parramatta and support for its effectiveness as a commuter service should be increased – with increasing road congestion; it will become an increasingly quick and effective method of accessing employment in Parramatta.



Other long term possibilities such as high speed rail and express rail links between Sydney, Parramatta and Penrith need to be actively considered within the Metropolitan Plan.





The transformative role and economic value of infrastructure (particularly transport) needs to be recognised, in that it stimulates land values increases, redevelopment options and density of jobs and housing.  The State Government should consider it a tool that can lead development and encourage economic growth, rather than follow it.  Leading development will also allow sufficient density to be built around transport nodes, rather than retrofitting this density over time.  Another approach (relevant to Parramatta) is to use investment in infrastructure to lead renewal of areas with aging commercial and housing stock within centres.


Difficult decisions need to be made about prioritisation of infrastructure– and priority should be given to making the regional cities within the metropolitan area such as Parramatta succeed and grow.


Infrastructure planning requires long lead times and setting aside corridors and resources for the future.  Longer timeframes than ten to twenty years are required to successfully achieve these objectives.


It is essential that the objectives and strategies of the Metropolitan Plan align with State Infrastructure and Transport Plans and budget allocations.






To meet the social and skill development needs of Sydney into the future, Parramatta can provide people with effective and easy connections to education, health, entertainment and cultural opportunities in a concentration that characterises a true city.


The Metropolitan Plan should not just consider cultural events such as the very successful expansion of the Festival of Sydney to Parramatta, but also the future expansion, replication or relocation of cultural institutions to locations other than the Sydney CBD.   


For example, renewal of the precinct along the Parramatta River that includes Old Kings School, Cumberland Hospital and Parramatta Gaol would be a very attractive location for these types of facilities, if given priority and adequately funded. This area could provide accessible cultural, entertainment and employment options for much of Sydney if approached as a precinct, effectively and sensitively renewed and managed.







































There is a structural social divide within Sydney that needs to be actively considered and addressed within the Metropolitan Plan.  It is expressed conceptually in the diagram below (from the Grattan Institute).  Parramatta City is well located to bridge this educational divide – as shown by the rapidly increasing educational attainment of the population.  Initiatives such as the light rail proposal would give further impetus to solving this issue by giving better access for Western Sydney residents to schools, University and TAFE.


Proportion of the labour force with university qualifications (Source - Grattan Institute)











26 - 38






15 - 26




0 - 15



Sydney is a highly diverse, culturally rich community.  With increasing densities and demands on public services and resources, there is the potential for Sydney and cities like Parramatta to be examples of safe, cohesive, healthy and supportive communities – or to suffer from social dislocation and conflict, with poor health and social outcomes.  The Metropolitan Plan needs to recognise the variation in SEIFA rankings and recognise that Government should have a direct role in addressing these issues.  While the issues are complex, access to quality education, services and employment opportunity will play a major role in this equation.  The Metropolitan Plan should identify commitments to reducing these imbalances across Sydney.   


The primary focus in the targeting of development sites should be the relationship between any potential area and its accessibility to physical and social infrastructure. As part of this analysis the Department should develop a matrix that indicates the relationship between potential sites and long term sustainability outcomes.


Higher cost housing particularly in the Sydney central city areas now excludes many service workers from living and choosing employment in these areas. A better outcome may be to encourage the redevelopment of existing western Sydney areas that have greater access to social, physical and economic infrastructure. Parramatta is a primary example; it has already undertaken much of the development and background research to attract business development, combined with increasing access to transport infrastructure and public domain redevelopment projects.


The current system where housing policy initiatives are split between many different government agencies has resulted in a fragmented (and at times competing) response which has been inadequate in addressing the affordable housing supply problem. The development of a more streamlined approach would go along way towards address some of the inefficiencies of the current system.




0 - 15


15 - 26


26 - 38


38 - 50


50 - 100











The 2006 State Government Inquiry into Sportsground Management recognised the current shortage of community sporting venues, with limited or no opportunities to develop additional facilities in urbanised Sydney Metropolitan LGAs (including Parramatta). Many existing facilities are suffering from overuse which will be exacerbated by forecast population and density increases in urbanised areas and the popularity of participating in regular physical activity.  This needs to be addressed at a strategic level by the State in its Metropolitan Strategy as many sporting venues operate at a regional level.




The environmental challenges for Sydney in the future will include a demand for the city to be efficient – in its use of land, resources and energy.  The Metropolitan Plan needs to prepare Sydney for this future.  This should actively consider using growth and renewal to drive environmental improvements.


Sydney needs ‘balanced growth’- where growing city demands need to be balanced with protecting the natural environment. There needs to be a clearer distinction between the issues and opportunities to protect the natural environment, and opportunities of environmental efficiencies from the built environment – particularly in renewal of existing centres like Parramatta.


The environmental component of the Metropolitan Plan should be clear on specific investments to help reduce energy and water consumption of the 3 main sectors; manufacturing and industry, residential and commercial. Consumption efficiency alone will not reduce the city’s environmental footprint. Therefore, significant planning and investment is required to address long-term infrastructure needs relating to securing the supply of low carbon energy. This will align well with economic opportunities to develop a green economy, and support development of new and emerging green industries. A clear path and program however will be required at a local and regional level, and support should be provided for local government to assist with this process.


Recent studies identify that heatwaves are likely to be more severe and will last longer, with western Sydney more vulnerable to these extreme heatwaves than coastal suburbs.  Specific measures should be developed to address the urban heat island effect. This could include growing urban forest or tree canopies, and providing support for green spaces, green roofs and walls which can mitigate the heat island effects and provide significant benefits.



Delivering the Strategy


Parramatta City Council has expended significant resources researching and assessing local and regional issues and potential solutions for the challenges of Metropolitan Sydney and particularly Western Sydney.  Council appreciates the opportunity to comment, and look forward to reviewing the Draft Strategy.  Our suggestions for ensuring the successful implementation of the Metropolitan Strategy would include;


·     Clear coordination between all State Government strategies, and clear resourcing of infrastructure to address the issues in the plan – for example, addressing the infrastructure needs of the regional cities and specialised centres.

·     Resourcing or working closely with Local Government to develop regional and sub regional strategies for implementation

·     Innovative approaches to funding infrastructure and renewal (beyond zoning, increasing land development potential and levies)

·     Better addressing the gap between Metropolitan level initiatives and local implementation.

·     A clear line of sight between the priorities in the Metropolitan Plan and State budget allocations.


In October 2010, GA research (a division of Kreab & Anderson) issued a summary of community expectations and perceptions on city planning and development from people in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.  There was widespread concern from city dwellers (particularly from Sydney) that living in Australian cities is becoming more difficult, and that responsibility for delivering essential change is split over too many levels of government.  It would be worth reflecting on these concerns when considering the delivery of the strategy.  The consistent themes they saw as required for change in our cities from this research included:


o  Bold planning that anticipates a growing population, with a focus on sustainability

o  Substantial improvement of all forms of public transport

o  Less reliance on cars

o  Greater use of renewable energy

o  Better water capture


Following the adoption of the future Metropolitan Strategy, Council looks forward to the opportunity to work with the State Government to successfully deliver the strategy.




·     “Parramatta Centre Economic Development and Employment Potential” - report prepared for Parramatta City Council by Strategic Economics and SGS Economics and Planning, May 2012.

·     Parramatta City Council brochures:

- Western Sydney Light Rail Network

- Parramatta Open for Business

- Decentralising Government Jobs to Parramatta.