Parramatta has a long history as a significant meeting place prior to colonial settlement. Parramatta, as it is known today was settled the same year as Sydney Cove and has had a long and important role in the growth of Greater Sydney.
The 1968 Sydney Region Outline Plan identified that Parramatta should become 'a very major commercial employment centre.' This was the first time that Parramatta was distinguished from other centres across Greater Sydney. By the time of the next plan in 1988, the designation of Parramatta had been elevated to be equivalent to the Sydney CBD.
Since that time, the progressive relocation of State agencies from the Eastern Harbour City to Parramatta has solidified Greater Parramatta as a major office market. It now has approximately 700,000 square metres of office space27.
Greater Parramatta is at the core of the Central River City, encompassing Parramatta CBD, Parramatta North and the Westmead health and education precinct, connected via Parramatta Park (refer to Figure 33).
Today Greater Parramatta has close to 82,000 jobs with a diversity of activities including significant government and civic administration, businesses, major health and education institutions and significant lifestyle activities such as restaurants and theatres.
Greater Parramatta's role as a metropolitan centre is entering a period of transformational change, driven by an unprecedented level of government and institutional investments into health, education, recreation, culture, entertainment and amenity improvements. These include:
- Parramatta Square, with a new Western Sydney University campus - $2 billion
- Parramatta North Urban Transformation Program
- Western Sydney Stadium Upgrade - $360 million
- Old King's School primary school and Arthur Phillip High School - $100 million
- Parramatta Light Rail
- A new museum for Parramatta
- Westmead Hospital Upgrade Stage 1 - $900 million; including $750 million for the acute services building; $95 million for Sydney Children's Hospital Network and $72 million for car parking
- University of Sydney Westmead campus expansion - $500 million
- Western Sydney University Westmead redevelopment - $450 million
- New Parramatta aquatic centre
Greater Parramatta's potential is also being enhanced by the activities of a wider State and local government initiative - the GPOP (refer to Objective 15).
Internationally significant health and education precinct
Greater Parramatta is one of the largest integrated health, research, education and training precincts in Australia and is a key provider of jobs for the Central River City. Westmead Hospital provides health services to almost 10 per cent of Australia's population. By 2026, the Westmead Hospital precinct will have over 2.8 million outpatient visits and over 160,000 emergency department presentations every year.
Westmead Hospital is leading innovation in the Central River City and is a major contributor to the Australian Government's National Innovation and Science Agenda through its training of world leading scientists, scientific analysis and successful global collaborations.
A range of activities is underway which will boost the role of the Westmead health and education precinct as an economic catalyst for Greater Parramatta, including28:
- the attraction of private sector investment and business to the precinct, with a focus on Hawkesbury Road through the Westmead Alliance
- improved metropolitan accessibility from the potential Sydney Metro West which would provide enhanced access between Greater Parramatta, the Harbour CBD, The Bays Precinct and Sydney Olympic Park
- enhanced local accessibility with Parramatta Light Rail.
Parramatta Council has a planning proposal to amend the planning controls for the Parramatta CBD. The proposal seeks to:
- strengthen Parramatta's position as the dual CBD for metropolitan Sydney
- increase the capacity for new jobs and dwellings to create a dynamic and diverse city
- encourage a high quality and activated public domain with good solar access
- facilitate the provision of community infrastructure to service the growing city
- strengthen opportunities for the provision of high quality commercial floor space
Figure 33: Greater Parramatta
- future proof the city through the efficient and sustainable use of energy and resources
- manage risks to life and property from flooding.
The investment and business opportunities of a location are enhanced when its accessibility to a wider labour pool and other economic agglomerations are improved. For Greater Parramatta, the potential mass transit connections to Macquarie Park, Norwest, the Harbour CBD, Western Sydney Airport-Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis and Sydney Olympic Park, as outlined in Future Transport 2056, would significantly boost economic opportunities with skilled labour and markets that are currently constrained
- public transport investments to improve connectivity to Greater Parramatta from the Harbour CBD, Western Sydney Airport-Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis, Sydney Olympic Park, Westmead, Macquarie Park, Norwest and Kogarah via Bankstown
- infrastructure investments, particularly those focused on access to the transport network, which enhance walkability within two kilometres of metropolitan or strategic centres or 10 minutes walking distance of a local centre
- infrastructure investments which enhance cycling, particularly those focused on access to the transport network, which enhance -connectivity within five kilometres of strategic centres or 10 kilometres of Greater Parramatta.
Develop and implement land use and infrastructure plans which strengthen the economic competitiveness and grow its vibrancy by:
- enabling the development of an internationally competitive health and education precinct at Westmead
- creating opportunities for an expanded office market
- balancing residential development with the needs of commercial development, including if required, a commercial core
- providing for a wide range of cultural, entertainment, arts and leisure activities
- improving the quality of Parramatta Park and Parramatta River and their walking and cycling connections to Westmead and the Parramatta CBD
- providing for a diverse and vibrant night-time economy in a way that responds to potential negative impacts.