Good morning – it is a real thrill to be here for the 6th annual Boomtown Summit.
Thank you to Chris and the Western Sydney Dialogue for inviting me to speak here today.
Isn’t it great to be having the summit for the first time in Sydney’s West.
It’s come home.
Once the West had to go to the city to have this conversation.
Now the city comes to the West.
That reflects not just the growth of the Summit – but the evolution of Sydney over the past decade.
Now as you all know, Western Sydney is a big area.
My seat in Parliament is the seat of Epping – and part of the City of Parramatta.
So I am here today proudly as a Premier from the Central River City.
One of my political heroes was also from Parramatta.
His name was Sir James Martin.
And he is the man Martin Place was named after – in the Harbour city.
But you can also find a statue of the young James Martin in Parramatta Square.
Sir James Martin grew up around the grounds of Government House in Parramatta, because his dad was a horse groom there.
And he channelled his ambition into making Sydney a better place for future generations.
He became Attorney General, Chief Justice, and Premier.
He was a mentor to Sir Henry Parkes – the father of our federation.
When James Martin was young, Western Sydney was the seat of government.
But in his lifetime – and for the 150 years since, our parliament, and our state’s centre of gravity, shifted to the East.
Today the centre of gravity is shifting again – and it’s coming back home to the west.
Western Sydney is rising, and this is not an aberration – this is a return to the natural order of things.
Last week I laid out my vision for Sydney.
I talked about how our three cities strategy will expand to a six cities vision.
And it is important to note that two of the six cities are in Western Sydney.
This is our nation’s most dynamic region.
And as Premier, I believe Western Sydney is the Opportunity HQ of Australia.
My vision for Sydney is a liveable, workable, beautiful city
Today I want to tell you how we can bring that vision to life in the West.
How we can take the next step in Western Sydney’s evolution:
Shifting the focus from big infrastructure, to great jobs, quality of life, and culture.
And making every part of Western Sydney a great place to live.
In short, how we can deliver the best for the West.
But first I want to remind you how our Government’s investment in infrastructure has transformed the West over the last 10 years.
If you wanted to sum up our time in office, you could do it in four words: schools, hospitals, roads and rail.
Maybe you could add “more jobs” and “better services” too.
But it has been a decade of delivery
The list of major projects we have built and continue to deliver in Western Sydney is unprecedented in our history.
These are state-building projects.
WestConnex, NorthWest Metro, Sydney Metro West, Metro South West, South West Rail Link, Parramatta Light Rail, M5 West Widening, M4 Widening, New M4 Tunnels, Windsor Bridge.
We’re upgrading Mulgoa Road, Horsley Drive, the M7 interchange, Spring Farm Parkway, Mamre Road.
Henry Lawson Drive, Hawkesbury River Crossing, we’ve built the Wentworth Avenue Bridge…
You get the picture.
These are big projects, and we are getting them all done.
But I haven’t even started on the schools and hospitals.
Just this year we opened new or upgraded schools in Camden, Riverstone, and three in Macquarie Fields.
There are fifteen more in Western Sydney that we have delivered or are in the pipeline.
Our hospital projects are not just great in number – they are ground breaking in their scale – at Westmead, Bankstown-Lidcombe, Liverpool, Campbelltown, Nepean, Rouse Hill, Blacktown and Mount Druitt.
And let’s not forget the new airport – and the research and industrial precinct being built around it.
Last week I called this the infrastructure spine of our state.
You have to have the big infrastructure if you want a region to grow well.
But the buildings and facilities are just the foundations.
And as more and more Western Sydney projects move closer to completion – we are turning the page to the next part of the story: securing the best quality of life for families in Western Sydney.
After all, that’s why we build: for the people of Western Sydney – our city’s biggest asset.
The young families, the tradies
Small businesses and start-ups
The new young professionals and the entrepreneurs.
People from every corner and every culture around world.
Communities with deep roots and green shoots, who make our state richer for calling this place their home.
People flock to Western Sydney to achieve the great Australian dream.
And we want to support their ambitions and their aspirations to get ahead.
They have no time for nonsense – just hard work, and the belief that if we all knuckle down, we can build something great, and leave something better for our children.
That is why I believe the heart and the future of the modern Liberal party is here in Sydney’s west.
And that is why I want Western Sydney to have the best quality of life anywhere in the world.
If you want quality of life you need access to quality work.
Western Sydney is emerging as one of the most diverse and dynamic economic centres in the world.
In the West, we have a thriving hub for professional services – and more and more businesses and industries are looking West to move their headquarters and host their big conferences.
Western Sydney is also a stalwart of long-standing productive industries like manufacturing.
From buses to pharmaceuticals; food and beverage to steel fabrication.
But it will also be the epicentre of the next industrial revolution in Australia.
Western Sydney is already the Australian headquarters of advanced manufacturing.
With the Bradfield Aerotropolis we are turbo-charging a range of new industries that will power our nation’s future.
Aerospace. Defence. Agribusiness. Healthcare and R&D.
In Westmead, $3 billion is being invested by government, universities and the private sector to deliver the Westmead Health and Innovation District.
This will be one of the largest health, education, research and training precincts in Australia.
These industries and precincts will power the jobs of the future for people in Sydney’s West.
And that’s why we are also working to make sure people at every stage of their career can get the skills and knowledge they need to be part of Western Sydney’s economic boom.
You don’t have to go too far back to a time when an institution like the University of Western Sydney was viewed as second tier.
Well it’s not second tier any more.
WSU is on the world map – with a growing global reputation.
I remember when they changed the name to Western Sydney University – some people lost their minds.
But the uni has proudly put its Western credentials up front.
Because west is now synonymous with best.
Today, WSU is one of the great ambassadors for Sydney’s west.
Universities are a vital partner in the Aerotropolis vision – working side by side with industry to turn research into jobs.
They are also an integral part of our plan to roll out a revolution in skills and tertiary education – through our new Institutes of Applied Technology.
The IAT concept came out of our Government’s Gonski-Shergold review – and they will reshape the way people access skills and tertiary education in NSW.
They seamlessly integrate VET, Higher Education and industry.
And the goal is to bring these different sectors together, to co-design and co-deliver training programs that offer skills matched to our local industries.
Creating jobs is important.
But we must also empower local workers – so they are ready to make the most of them.
The first IAT will be just across the Parramatta River from here at Meadowbank – and it will be an institute for Digital Technology.
Today I can announce the first industry partner for the Meadowbank IAT will be Microsoft.
This means we will have a true global technology leader helping design the skills-training and education for students here in Sydney.
Microsoft will partner with Macquarie University and the University of Technology, Sydney – as well as TAFE NSW.
Students will be able to acquire credentials at all levels of tertiary education – depending on their needs – whether it’s a certificate, a diploma, or credit for a bachelor’s degree.
With the IAT model, we can have the best of all worlds – to deliver the best skills and education for our young people.
And when they have the skills, they can move straight into a great job – also right here in the West.
QUALITY OF LIFE
Now, the pandemic has been a challenging time for everyone in our state.
But some of the biggest challenges have been faced by people in Western Sydney.
Lockdowns made clear where we need to do more to improve liveability in our communities.
So a few months ago, I met with mayors across the region.
And I asked them where our focus should be to really improve the quality of life in the West.
The response I kept getting was “better local facilities”.
More green space. More local pools. Better high streets. Parks and places where people can get together.
This is the stuff communities are made of.
For a long time, our major focus has been on the big projects – and they are absolutely essential.
And three years ago we launched the $190 million Liveability Program as part of the Western City Deal
It has delivered facilities like the Fairfield Showground upgrade, and the Nott Oval Synthetic Playing field in Camden.
But clearly there is more to be done.
That’s why we announced the $5 billion WestInvest program just a few months ago.
But as I said last week, WestInvest is more than just a fund – it’s a mindset for my Government.
Western Sydney is not just a place to build metros and motorways.
It’s a place where we are building communities – and they deserve the very best facilities that support the very best quality of life.
CULTURE AND COMMUNITY
One of the hallmarks of a city’s maturity is the prominence of its cultural institutions.
That is why the Parramatta Powerhouse Museum is so important to me.
For many decades, there has been a sense that any cultural institution in the West could only be the poorer cousin of its counterparts in the East.
The Powerhouse project blows that outdated thinking out of the water.
It sends a clear message to Australia and the rest of the world: Western Sydney is a cultural capital in its own right.
The Powerhouse is a landmark project in every sense of the word.
And it should just be the beginning – the foundation stone on which we build Western Sydney’s cultural credentials.
In Australia, sport is an integral part of our culture too.
And great venues can electrify a locality.
Now, I am a big sports fan. So I may be biased.
But in my view, the new Western Sydney Stadium is up there with the best in the world.
The viewing experience is outstanding.
And when you see the fans streaming through the streets of Parramatta before and after a game, you can feel the buzz it brings to town.
I believe that Sydney’s three cities all need world class stadiums.
So far the Eastern Harbour City and the Central River City are well catered for.
But today I can announce a world-class stadium for the Western Parkland City, with a $300 million upgrade of Penrith Stadium.
This will be a total redevelopment on the existing site.
The field will be reoriented.
There will be major amenity upgrades and community facilities.
There will be new stands – and the experience will be on another level.
At the moment, Penrith Stadium hosts matches for a total of less than two weeks a year.
The new Penrith Stadium will be a sports and entertainment precinct electrifying the West all year round.
It will support local jobs, drive more local activity, more foot traffic, and more opportunity for local businesses.
Now as a Tigers fan, I hope the Panthers’ reign as premiers will be short lived.
But as Premier of the state, I can tell you this new stadium will be a premier venue for Penrith – for many years to come.
This is just part of our ongoing stadiums strategy – and I look forward to announcing more projects in the months ahead.
THE NEXT GLOBAL CITY
Last week I was at Parramatta square, topping out the tallest tower in the west.
It is emblematic of the transformation that has taken place in Parramatta over the last 10 years.
This transformation is no happy accident.
It takes vision, and it takes execution.
And it takes the commitment of a Government willing to back a plan with action.
Before that tower took shape, we committed to move major offices of some of our biggest departments to Parramatta – to anchor the project and give investors and builders the confidence to proceed.
Parramatta Square is now the largest public sector office workplace hub in Australia – accommodating 9,500 workers.
Building the towers has created 4,000 construction jobs.
And they form part of one of the largest commercial business precincts in the nation.
Like so-much of what we are building across Western Sydney, these projects don’t just pop up with the click of a button.
It’s hard slog for the community.
Walking around Parramatta last week, a lot of it still feels like a construction site.
And I know the sheer amount of work going on can make life challenging sometimes.
At a summit like this, we focus on the vision and the big picture.
We imagine the finished product – and make that our goal.
But I know that in between the first sod and the finished product – there is a lot of dust, sweat and sometimes tears.
What I also know is that it’s worth it.
A few weeks ago I was in Parramatta when they took down the barriers for construction of the light rail on eat street.
Building that project caused a huge amount of inconvenience.
But the result of those efforts is an explosion in opportunity.
The business owners along that strip were pumped for the future.
That’s what it takes to build a global city. First pain. Then opportunity.
And that is what Parramatta must now become: Australia’s next great global city.
The building blocks are all there.
The metros, the light rail, WestConnex, a new pool complex, commercial hubs, a strong public sector presence, a world class university – and more to come.
It’s all coming together, and the Parramatta we know today is unrecognisable from just a decade ago, let alone the Parramatta of my youth.
That’s only possible, because we have taken on the challenges that previous governments put off for too long.
Without those efforts, the opportunity wouldn’t be there.
Now it’s time for the next step.
Today I can announce that I have asked Barney Glover – the Vice Chancellor of Western Sydney University – to conduct a review into how we can make Parramatta a global city.
Barney is one of the West’s most passionate advocates.
He lives and breathes it. And as the leader of WSU, he has skin in the game.
I can’t wait to see what he comes up with – and I look forward to sharing it with you.
So to conclude – I want to thank you again for having me here today.
And I wish you all the very best for a fantastic summit.
I said when I became Premier that the heart of our government would be in Western Sydney.
Right now, that heart is racing – because the future here is nothing but exciting.
We are building the big projects.
We are creating the new industries.
We are delivering the skills for the jobs boom that is coming.
Building local facilities to make life better
And we are putting Western Sydney on the map as a cultural capital in its own right.
This is all about enabling people to work, play and have access to the best services close to home in a place they love to live.
We want the West to have the very best.
And my Government will make sure they do.
And I want to work with all of you to make that happen.