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NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Hills Chamber Chairman Anthony Moss at the lunch. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Hills Chamber Chairman Anthony Moss at the lunch. Featured
17 May 2017 Posted by 

NEW VISION FOR SYDNEY HILLS

Once in a generation transformation
By Anthony Moss
WITH the Sydney Hills Business Chamber celebrating its 25th anniversary this year it was fitting that for the Chairman’s lunch that the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian addressed the audience.
 
The Premier expressed her thanks for the drive and ingenuity of the Hills business community generating prosperity in the region. 
 
She was also pleased to see the impact of the rail link investment and acknowledged the short-term disruption to the community during the construction phase.  
 
She acknowledged the Hills region is going through a once in generation transformation with significant population growth, the building of the Sydney Metro Northwest and the new developments planned around each of the stations.
 
The theme of the lunch was developing a “New Vision for the Hills.”
 
The Chamber is keen to start the dialogue with the business community to develop a vision for the hills that articulates the potential, the culture that will inspire business and the community, attract the right industries to develop the right jobs to sustain the growth of the region.
 
PSI Survey 
 
To set the scene Mark McCrindle McCrindle Research presented the results of the third Hills Business PSI (Performance and Sentiment Index). The index was completed by 154 businesses.         
 
The results show a move in the index from positive 11 in the last survey to a neutral zero at this time. This is potentially a reflection of the degree of uncertainty in the macro economic conditions –but is also explicitly a reference to the impact on business of two key concerns namely infrastructure, (transport, parking, telecommunications) and the cost of regulation. 
Those two issues are perceived to negatively impact the cost of doing business in the Hills.
 
That said future sentiment is still very positive in the Hills with a positive +22 score. Respondents in the Hills still see a bright future with the “future potential of the Hills” rated as the regions highest current strength closely followed by location, work-life balance and the local ‘culture.’
 
The Sydney Metro Norwest Rail link is identified as the most highly rated future strength for the region.      
 
District Commissioner West Central Professor Ed Blakely 
 
Ed Blakely presented the Greater Sydney Commissions draft plan for the West Central Region incorporating the Hills. 
 
Key elements include –the need to drive growth around the economy, population growth and infrastructure. The development of an Innovation Arc – Bella Vista, Marsden Park, Olympic Park as an innovation centre for Sydney. It’s about  locating housing and jobs together attracting the right jobs and right places –the 30 minute city. “The end result we want people not to complain about the traffic but to complain about the walking.”
 
The plan is still to be finalised and will be presented later this year. 
 
Panel Q&A 
 
Our panellists included Steve Grant, Capital Bluestone and Michael Edgar Acting GM of the Hills Shire Council in addition to Mark McCrindle and Ed Blakeley. A lively discussion among panellists ad the audience followed.
 
Key points. Population growth expected to rise by 100,000 over the next 20 years, 2000 dwellings a year being approved. Gen Y age-gap in the Hills as those in their late teens late 20’s leave the region and then come back in their 30s. How do we keep them?
 
The region needs to have the housing, jobs and amenities to keep them here. We need a university the funky places and all types of housing to accommodate them. 
 
The PSI report and the buzz in the room affirms the entrepreneurial energy and optimism in the Hills. This a time of ground breaking opportunities for business in the Hills, the best is yet to come.  
 
The discussions were a great start of a conversation about the vision for the future, the Chamber will continue to engage the business community in that conversation.
 
See the Chamber website and social media accounts for video and transcripts of the discussions. 
 
Anthony Moss is Chairman of the Sydney Hills Business Chamber. Visit: www.sydneyhillsbusiness.com.au
 
 
 


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