Co-work in the Park

(12pm, Thursday 21 February 2013, Wynyard Park)

Thank you, Caroline [McLaren, MC]. Hello, everyone - what a great sight this is!

I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our City.

A special acknowledgement also of Caroline, Leslie and Ehon - the Hub Sydney team who have championed this event, and of all the Sydney co-workers who have turned out today.

You're proving what Hub Sydney - and we at the City - believe: that a lively and innovative city like Sydney fosters collaboration across industries and sectors and finds creative solutions through partnerships.

When my Independent team was first elected in 2004, we began a process of collaborating with the people of Sydney, with businesses and cultural institutions, as well as with other levels of government, to define a vision for Sydney over the next generation, and to find ways of making that vision a reality.

Some of you here today probably were involved in that process. And you will know that we are working steadily to implement Sustainable Sydney 2030.

It's about making Sydney sustainable; about nurturing vibrant local communities and healthy local economies; it's about fostering Sydney's culture, its innovation and its creativity; and it's about developing partnerships across industries and sectors.

Hub Sydney ticks all those boxes, which is why the City was pleased the group will be based in our 101 William Street space.

We have provided spaces in Council-owned properties along Oxford Street, in William Street and at Redfern for a wide range of creative start-ups.

At Oxford Street, we've provided studio and office space for tech start-ups, video production houses, co-working spaces and spaces for artists and architects, among others.

One of the tenants - AroundYou.com.au - grew spectacularly last year, going from three to 11 sales representatives in just eight months. It's now employing 30 more, thanks to the affordable rent that allowed the company to focus on its website, its products and personnel.

Cities historically have always been centres of innovation, the places where people meet, exchange knowledge, where they find the like-minded souls to exchange ideas and those willing to support or invest in new ventures.

Small and medium sized businesses - particularly in the creative industries - have always been a significant part of the Sydney economy. And as the most recent Census has shown, the sector is growing strongly and swiftly.

Our location, our infrastructure, the quality of our built environment and the access Sydney can provide to first class education institutions all combine to attract new businesses and enable existing businesses to grow.

Over eight per cent of the total number of people employed in the City work in the creative industries, making it our biggest employer after the financial and business services industry. It has increased by 22 per cent since 2006.

We've also seen a 20 per cent increase in the number of people working in universities and research institutions, which act as drivers of innovation.

So since 2006, there has been a significant surge in the numbers of people employed in three key industries: in the creative industries; in information, communication and telecommunications; and in higher education and research.

Each of these industries increased at double the growth rate of the workforce as a whole.

And such clusters appear to attract similar businesses, which suggest that firms greatly benefit from their proximity to like firms. And in turn, the economy as a whole benefits.

Co-working provides this sort of proximity and cross-fertilisation. It allows for people from different sectors and networks to come together and collaborate, and out of that collaboration comes innovation.

Further, it links into the global network of hubs, underlining Sydney's unique role as Australia's only global city, a meeting point for Asia and the West.

At the most basic level, it can reduce our environmental footprint by reducing travel and sharing resources; it can help build social capital through networking and learning opportunities.

It will help build partnerships across diverse industries and sectors and it will further boost Sydney's profile as an innovative and creative city.

I'm pleased to welcome today's initiative and look forward to Hub Sydney taking up residents at 101 William Street in April.

Thank you. Have a great day, everyone!