Economic Development Strategy, Retail & Tourism Action Plans Launch

(2.30pm, Wednesday 31st July 2013, Lord Mayor's Reception Room, Town Hall)

Hello, everyone, welcome. I'm glad you could be here this afternoon. 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.

The Economic Development Strategy we're launching today is a 10-year plan to help achieve our green, global and connected vision for Sydney 2030. We're also launching the first two associated action plans for Retail and Tourism alongside the E economic Development Strategy.

This is just the start. Action plans for other key industries - including the creative and digital sector, finance and business services and the green economy, as well as action plans to boost our village economies will be developed next.

They outline how we can work with you to keep Sydney Australia's global city and a regional hub for investment, business and tourism in the Asia-Pacific region.

The raw figures are already impressive: the City drives the economies of greater Sydney and of Australia, generating eight per cent of Australia's GDP.

The City is the prime source of jobs within greater Sydney, attracting 20 per cent of the entire workforce. More significantly, it is the centre for the vital growth sectors of financial and business services, and creative and digital economies.

To remain a global city, it must maintain and improve its infrastructure and amenities, its natural assets and skills bases, and of course, its links with the world economy.

It also must be sustainable - economically and - with the greening of the economy - environmentally, a challenge to which many of our regional competitors are already responding. We cannot afford to be left behind here.

We need to focus on the processes of job creation, and on ways to strengthen our global competitiveness if we want to maintain our momentum.

Cities are our centres of innovation and productivity, stimulated through clusters of linked activities which generate productivity and drive innovation through interaction and the transfer of ideas.

Indeed, companies in the same industry tend to cluster together in particular cities with the result that that city becomes more attractive to new companies in the same industry, setting up a cycle of specialisation that reinforces itself.

Our most recent figures show that over the last five years - notwithstanding the global financial crisis - the City's economy has continued to grow. In fact, during that period, it generated almost 40 per cent of Sydney's metropolitan jobs growth, yet we only had 20 per cent of Sydney's jobs. That is, the City grew at twice the rate of the rest of Sydney.

Typically those jobs were in the creative industries, in the digital economy, and in the knowledge and tertiary education sectors which grew at twice the rate of other industries in the City.

Clusters are now emerging: Surry Hills, for example, is where the creative industries gather; Crown Street, Redfern and Pyrmont/Ultimo are centres for the digital industry, and major educational institutions cluster from Broadway through to Newtown.

Companies operating in these clusters have grown faster than those located in other parts of Australia, and of course they bring many benefits to the City.

Local economic strategies are crucial to the success of the City as a whole, and so we have identified several key areas of focus.

The Economic Development Strategy and the associated Retail and Tourism Action Plans all recognise the importance of local factors.

The strategy centres on ways we can build on our already-solid foundations for success. It looks at how we can create more opportunities for individuals, for business as a whole, for the community and for future generations. And it deals with the challenges that - if unaddressed - could limit our growth as a global city.

It proposes that we focus on three priority areas that will give us the results we need to achieve our 2030 vision of a green, global and connected City.

These are:

  • To strengthen Sydney's competiveness in what has become an increasingly competitive world
  • To improve our productivity and capacity and
  • To promote greater opportunity

The action plans refine that focus for the retail and tourism sectors.

Other challenges remain and need careful planning if Sydney is to reach its full potential.

Over the last decade, the City's estimated resident population has grown by 53,000 - the largest growth experienced by any local government area in NSW. It has also been the fastest-growing, with a 40 per cent increase in the estimated resident population in those 10 years.

The working population has grown as well, with over 100,000 new jobs being created in the City over the last 15 years.

While those figures are hardly surprising, they do present problems.

Chief among those problems is the additional pressure that growth in jobs places on inner-city transport networks. The journey-to-work in particular needs to be addressed so that even as the City grows, we don't strangle the very success that has brought that growth in population and jobs.

Our Economic Development Strategy and the retail and tourism action plans give us a solid base from which, with your help, we can move Sydney forward.

Thank you for your interest.