Thriving precinct looks to have bright future

PARRAMATTA Council wants to make the Westmead health precinct an integrated medical technology and employment cluster and increase its earning potential.

Currently the precinct's primary focus is health delivery.

Parramatta Council seeks comments from prospective partners, including the Western Sydney Local Health District, UWS and private firms and consultancies in medical related fields, about how to change this focus.

The precinct includes Westmead Hospital, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Cumberland and Sydney Westmead private hospitals and has the highest number of patient beds of any precinct in the country.

"Westmead is home to skilled, high value jobs and council sees significant job creation opportunities over the next 20 years," a Parramatta Council spokeswoman said.

"Jobs are forecast to grow from the current 17,000 jobs to 25,000 by 2031."

A report prepared by Strategic Economics suggests a number of options:

■Plan for a technology park;

■Put more resources into creating greater housing for health-related professionals;

■Support more partnerships with major health-related parties in the existing precinct; and/or

■Promote and support expansion of research/incubator facilities.

"While a biotechnology park was suggested, it was made prior to the establishment of the Westmead Alliance and the current council-endorsed concept plan," council's spokeswoman said.

The alliance includes Parramatta and Holroyd councils, the Western Sydney Local Health District, The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network, Westmead Millennium Institute, the Children's Medical Research Institute, Westmead Private Hospital and the University of Sydney.

Together they are working out how to attract industries that would benefit the region.

This has included developing the Westmead Infrastructure Program Version 1 which outlines a $70 million program of works designed to unlock the social and economic potential of Westmead and to advance it as one of the nation's leading innovation hubs.

Funding is now being sought from the state and federal governments to realise this vision.

Parramatta Council has also received development applications and planning proposals for the redevelopment of the UWS site. Construction of the expanded Westmead Millennium Institute and Children's Medical Research Institute has begun.

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