The Harbour CBD includes the areas of Sydney CBD, North Sydney CBD, Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, Pyrmont, The Bays Precinct, Camperdown-Ultimo health and education precinct, Redfern to Eveleigh, part of Surry Hills and Sydney East.
Global financial capital
Greater Sydney’s economic strength globally and nationally is due to its role as a regional hub within global financial markets. The concentration of the financial services sector in the Harbour CBD includes:
- the headquarters of the ASX and Australia’s monetary and finance institutions and regulators such as the Reserve Bank of Australia, Australian Securities and Investment Commission and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority
- 63 per cent of the ASX 100 financial services companies, which is more than double the 31 per cent of the next highest capital city, Melbourne
- 82,100 jobs in the Finance and Insurance Services industry, which is the highest concentration of jobs per sector at 28 per cent
- the headquarters of 15 of the top 20 global investment banks, 18 of which have an Australian presence.
The implications of a strong financial services sector include high demand for premium-grade office space and high demand for associated knowledgeintensive industries such as legal, accounting, real estate and insurance. Therefore it is critical that planning controls enable the growth needs of the financial and professional sector.
The strength of the Harbour CBD is reinforced by the Eastern Economic Corridor (refer to Objective 15).
A diversity of activities
Distinct assets that support the Harbour CBD’s global role include:
- entertainment, cultural, tourist and conference facilities
- an internationally competitive health and education precinct
- a robust creative sector providing entrepreneurial and job opportunities
- high amenity, high density residential precincts.
Greater Sydney is Australia’s gateway for 30 million visitors a year25 who are drawn to internationally renowned attractions such as the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, arts and cultural events. Destination NSW leads the delivery of tourism and events to support Greater Sydney’s visitor economy.
Innovation underpins global 21st century cities. Along the western edge of the Harbour CBD an Innovation Corridor is emerging (refer to Figure 32). It extends from The Bays Precinct, to high-tech and start-up hubs in Pyrmont and Ultimo, to the health and education institutions of the University of Technology Sydney, University of Notre Dame, University of Sydney, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and on to the Australian Technology Park. Facilitating the attraction and development of innovation activities enhances Greater Sydney’s global competitiveness. Planning controls need to be flexible to allow for the needs of the innovation economy.
The Harbour CBD is becoming a more attractive place to live, in line with worldwide trends which are seeing global city centres being as much about living as they are about jobs. A 24/7 economy and a nighttime economy would support both outcomes. These require careful consideration and management of activities in the context of noise, safety and other amenity issues.
Building heights in the Harbour CBD are constrained by the safety requirements for the management of flight paths for Sydney Airport26. The protection of the amenity of public spaces from overshadowing is also important. With identified future office supply limited to around 10 years there is a need to maximise vertical development opportunities and outward extensions where possible, for example southward along the Redfern to Eveleigh corridor.