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The draft Strategy aims to capitalise on Cumberland’s prime location, educated community and industry base to transition what is currently a traditional economy into one driven by higher-order knowledge, and innovation based industries and businesses. The draft Strategy aims to capitalise on Cumberland’s prime location, educated community and industry base to transition what is currently a traditional economy into one driven by higher-order knowledge, and innovation based industries and businesses. Featured
18 December 2017 Posted by 

DESIGNING CUMBERLAND'S FUTURE

Quest to build the ideal city
GREG CUMMINGS
CUMBERLAND Council is striving for a promising economic future with a vision that builds towards the “ideal city.” 
 
The fifth largest Council in NSW with a population of more than 226,000, Cumberland sits in the geographic heart of metropolitan Sydney, half way between the Sydney CBD and the Western Sydney Airport site. 
 
This places it in an important location in Greater Sydney, particularly exposed to the residential development pressures in one of the world’s most expensive property markets. 
 
This has raised the stakes for Cumberland to achieve the “30-minute city” ideal, with the ultimate goal of a diversity of “real” jobs of the future close to home.
 
Cumberland Council has embraced innovative thinking and practical solutions in response to this with the Employment and Innovation Lands Strategy. 
 
The draft Strategy aims to capitalise on Cumberland’s prime location, educated community and industry base to transition what is currently a traditional economy into one driven by higher-order knowledge, and innovation based industries and businesses.
 
Cumberland’s existing economy has a distinct industrial specialisation, with advanced manufacturing, transport and logistics accounting for almost one third of total employment. 
 
Embracing the established industry sectors and identifying the opportunity to grow a number of emerging industry sectors including food and beverage, digital media, creative and artisan is the key to creating the desired economy.
 
How will this be done? A key aim of the draft strategy is to foster growth by creating the right conditions for businesses to prosper. A multi-pronged approach for implementation will achieve this by building and strengthening key relationships and connections with government, private sector and the tertiary education sector, as well as potential land use policy changes.
 
Implementation has already commenced with a number of major redevelopment projects underway in Merrylands acting as a catalyst for revitalisation and growth in the area. 
 
A key theme of the draft strategy is the strong complementary relationship Cumberland’s approximately 1,000 hectares of employment and innovation lands has with Sydney’s second CBD, Parramatta. 
 
Merrylands is central to this. The population of Merrylands Centre is projected to grow by an additional 12,100 – 13,915 people by 2036. Five thousand jobs are projected by 2036. The value of development applications received by Council over the past 12-18 months is in the order of $1B for the Merrylands Centre alone.
 
This significant investment and growth will further cement Merrylands’ role as the strategic hub in the southern part of the central city district of metropolitan Sydney. Merrylands Centre will be to Parramatta what North Sydney is to the Sydney CBD.
 
Diverse investment in Merrylands will consolidate this position. Major private sector investment is planned with Stocklands proposing a $300M revitalisation project on a 1.2 hectare development site adjacent to the existing Stocklands Merrylands Shopping centre. The proposal includes mixed use development, a laneway precinct with retail, restaurants and cafes.
 
In addition to this, there is significant investment in capital works planned as part of the wider rejuvenation of the Merrylands Centre, including streetscape and public domain upgrades, new roads, major drainage works and new public open space with a landscaped waterway.
 
A key stakeholder is Cumberland’s relatively young, diverse and educated community, with its strong sense of entrepreneurial aspiration. 
 
This talent base and culture of innovation is core to achieving Cumberland’s vision of reimagining its employment lands for industries and jobs of the future to innovate, grow and prosper.
 
Cumberland Council’s Employment and Innovation Lands Strategy is expected to take effect in early 2018. 
 
Greg Cummings is Mayor of Cumberland Council. 


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