Western Sydney mayors talk growth

Five western Sydney mayors discussed future regional growth, planning reforms, council amalgamations, infrastructure and the impact of a Badgerys Creek airport at a major development industry forum on Thursday.

UDIA NSW chief executive Stephen Albin and Parramatta lord mayor John Chedid before the UDIA forum. Picture: Richard Gregorio.

UDIA NSW chief executive Stephen Albin and Parramatta lord mayor John Chedid before the UDIA forum. Picture: Richard Gregorio.

Mayors from Parramatta, Hills, Blacktown, Penrith and Liverpool were panelists at the Urban Development Institute of Australia’s (UDIA) Gearing Up for Western Sydney Growth forum at Sydney Olympic Park’s Waterview convention centre.

The audience of about 400 included representatives from more than 100 development industry interests, including AECOM, Mirvac, Lend Lease and Stockland.

During the panel discussion, Parramatta lord mayor John Chedid said Parramatta was ‘‘open for business’’ and required more long-term planning and more iconic developments.

‘‘Economies are built around growth,’’ Cr Chedid said. ‘‘That’s why we’re working with the councils around us, including Hills, on our light rail proposal.

‘‘Parramatta’s always been projected as a second Sydney CBD. We’ve gone away from that because that sounds like a little baby sister. We want to be identified as a city of our own.’’

Hills Shire mayor Michelle Byrne said her region would accommodate an extra 100,000 people over 20 years while Blacktown City mayor Len Robinson said his council was anticipating another 94,000 homes over 15 years.

UDIA NSW president Simon Basheer, of Lend Lease, said further development was needed to support western Sydney - Australia’s ‘‘fastest growing population’’.

‘‘Western Sydney is already a heartland and will be an economic powerhouse going forward,’’ Mr Basheer said. ‘‘The new state cabinet is strong and we hope they have what it takes to deliver desperately needed measures including planning reforms, metropolitan and regional plans and pending strata reform.’’

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