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The road to success is littered with lesser celebrated figures on whose shoulders the big names rose such as  Strop to Paul Hogan. The road to success is littered with lesser celebrated figures on whose shoulders the big names rose such as Strop to Paul Hogan. Featured
23 March 2017 Posted by 


Parramatta's Paul Hogan connection

By Andy Marks

SECOND banana, second fiddle or second act. The road to success is littered with lesser celebrated figures on whose shoulders the big names rose.

Strop to Paul Hogan, Tonto to the Lone Ranger, Ossie to Daryl Sommers, Costello to John Howard or Robin to Batman. Nobody thinks twice about the foil or 'straightman' to the staring act. The talking pink ostrich being the possible exception.

Why then, are we satisfied with Parramatta being rendered as Sydney's 'second CBD'?

For years, all three levels of government and developers have talked-up Parramatta's potential as though it were an underdeveloped limb on Sydney's burgeoning exterior.

While spoken with the best of intent, this approach entirely surrenders the city's character, value and destiny to a completely different city in the east.

The time has come to lop off the limb, cut it loose, set it free. Parramatta, like its intrinsically distinct city cousins, Bankstown, Blacktown, Campbelltown, Liverpool and Penrith, deserves to stand on its own.

It can, and is forging a different agenda, based on vastly different characteristics. These attributes are completely and utterly independent of Sydney.

Parramatta is tenacious. At Western Sydney University we receive constant feedback from the region's employers about the 'can do', 'get stuck in' attributes of our graduates. Attitude is everything.

Without this culturally engrained approach to work, all the qualifications in the world will amount to little.

Parramatta has no limits. The rich cultural heritage and diversity of the region means the ambitions of the city's young aren't restricted geographically. Careers that begin in this city have a trajectory that looks to Singapore, Hong Kong, Mumbai and Shanghai just as much as they look to Sydney.

Parramatta is digital. Over time, the wicked transport and infrastructure problems that bedevil Greater Sydney will diminish in relevance.

Fed-up with transport, employment and economic development mantras that perpetuate funnelling a quarter-of-a-million people into a congested eastern city hugging the coast, the residents of Parramatta and the West are building critical mass where they live, where they work. Digital connectivity, IoT and disruption are the infrastructure challenges of relevance out here. Technology is solving the problems bulldozers and bitumen can't.

Sometimes the second banana has its day. Paul Keating, Dean Martin and Bert Newton all took the reins of their own destiny. Good or bad, these figures forged their respective paths in a way that went beyond their limited narratives as a junior partner.

Parramatta will always have a relationship with Sydney. The veins of common history run too deep for either city to go it entirely alone.

But defining Parramatta by its relationship to Sydney is a mistake. It restricts the city's potential to a field of vision that looks to Sydney's possibilities alone. Parramatta is a far broader proposition.

Parramatta, and indeed, Western Sydney is no second banana. The city, the region deserves a vision that reflects its constituent parts. It deserves a world view with all the possibilities that embraces.

Dr Andy Marks is Assistant Vice-Chancellor at Western Sydney University.



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