While Sydney is undoubtedly a major economic and cultural centre, it’s rife with numerous untapped opportunities, states a new report from the Property Council of Australia.

The report, which derives its research from Urbis and Knight Frank, highlights three “must have” priorities that the government and the property industry must embrace for Sydney to compete with regional centres like Auckland, Hong Kong, and Singapore, as well as Alpha++ cities like New York.

“Government and the property industry need to focus on the three must have priorities to make sure Sydney continues to rise in the global stakes – they are: mobility and productivity, fostering growth, and creating efficiency in the broader planning system,” said Jane Fitzgerald, executive director of Property Council NSW. 

The Harbour City has a lot going for it. It’s currently ranked the number one economic region in Australia with around $110 billion in gross regional product. The CBD hosts 254,000 jobs, and 57,000 new jobs are expected by 2020. It’s also projected that 58,000 people will live in the CBD by 2020.   

On the other hand, Sydney lags behind when compared to other major cities. “Sydney ranks poorly on ease of doing business and average internet speed, but ranks better when you look at our potential economic and political risk,” said Fitzgerald.

“We need to ensure Sydney continues to be able to compete on the world stage and attract the big companies and financial institutions, and we can do this through three must have priorities.”

Listed here are the three must-have priorities to ensure a more globalised Sydney:

  1. Sydney needs world class mobility and productivity. Transportation solutions are needed to connect new areas of growth. The NSW government has shown great leadership in this regard by investing in WestConnex, the Metro, and light rail. However, investment needs to be continuous and strategic and should be integrated with property development to ensure lasting benefits.
  2. Sydney needs to foster growth and encourage new investment. Sydney needs to encourage the tech and creative industries to set up base camp there. Companies such as Google have elevated their presence and WeWork will occupy about 11,000 sqm of office space in the CBD. To facilitate growth, micro-precincts need to be set up so that start-ups can be prioritised.
  3. Sydney needs a more efficient planning system. Other cities in Australia have less red tape. In Melbourne, development approval can be secured in nine months. In contrast, development approval in Sydney can drag on for years.
“We need the state government to continue the process of reforming our planning system; we need the ability to refresh degraded stock and encourage preferred land uses including commercial office space. This will make it easier to do business in our city,” Fitzgerald affirmed.

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