Planning for the longer term

In the 30 years since Greater Sydney was last in an economic recession, two generations of workers have joined the workforce and the experience of a recession is new or a distant memory. Addressing ongoing uncertainty will need to consider two key drivers:

  • Business recovery: The length of the pandemic will influence how quickly businesses can recover and grow and create jobs. A longer wait for a treatment or vaccine means a range of support measures will need to remain in place for longer.
  • Population growth: Fluctuations in forecasts for immigration and international students, workers and visitors will depend on when borders reopen, whereas changes to birthrates are likely to be impacted by the speed of the economic recovery.

Lower migration can change the proportion of working age people in Greater Sydney and the mix of services required, such as in health and education.

Changing demographics means changes in demand across all sectors. For example, the potential impacts on housing markets could be marked by a confluence of reduced demand from lower population growth with a need for greater housing choice brought about through increased workplace flexibility.

Given these uncertainties, more scenario testing will help improve the understanding of the potential impact of changes on these key drivers influencing Greater Sydney’s future and support policy responses. This includes analysis of the potential impacts on the economy, population, housing, employment and service and capital investment under different environmental shocks and stressors and behaviour change trends.

Focus Area 9 - Scenario planning provides for adaptive management and agile responses
Acknowledging that change is constant for cities, the testing of scenarios that can incorporate a range of interrelated variables will enable more agile responses to support business recovery and changes to population growth.