Greater Sydney's existing industrial, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution facilities contribute to its role as Australia's manufacturing capital. These activities occur on industrial land that also accommodates urban services, freight and logistics services, and advanced manufacturing.
Urban services include activities such as motor vehicle services, printing, waste management, courier services and concrete batching plants. These activities serve local communities and businesses and require adequate access to industrial land across the District. Demand for this land will increase commensurate with population growth. Good local access to these services also reduces the need to travel to other areas, minimising congestion on the transport system.
Industrial land supply
The Western City District has 5,436 hectares of industrial and urban services land, spread over 69 precincts (refer to Figure 18). This represents 39 per cent of Greater Sydney's total stock of industrial and urban services land. About 29 per cent (1,571 hectares) is undeveloped. The largest industrial and urban services precincts in the Western City District are listed in Table 4. In addition, 6,000 hectares of land has been identified for future employment uses within the Western Sydney Airport Growth Areas. This land will be the major long-term industrial/ employment land for Greater Sydney.
Table 4: Western City District's ten largest industrial and urban services precincts
|LGA||Precinct||Undeveloped land (hectares)||Developed land (hectares)||Total (hectares)|
|Fairfield||South of Sydney Water Pipeline||51||201||252|
|South of Sydney Water Pipeline||337||0||337|
Source: NSW Department of Planning and Environment 2017, Employment lands Development Program 2017 Report, NSW Government, Sydney
Note: Figures are rounded to the nearest whole number
Figure 18: Western City District industrial and urban services land and freight assets
Industrial and urban services land includes the Western Sydney Employment Area, which attracts local, national and international businesses.
Major industrial and urban services sites include the corridor from Liverpool to Campbelltown and the Fairfield to Eastern Creek corridor. The latter includes Smithfield-Wetherill Park, Greater Sydney's largest industrial estate, which employs more than 8,000 people. Further land is proposed to be rezoned for industrial and urban services in Western Sydney Employment Area, Erskine Park, Western Sydney Airport Growth Area, Elizabeth Drive Enterprise, South West Growth Area and Greater Macarthur Growth Area.
Managing industrial and urban services land
Industrial activity and urban services are important to Greater Sydney's economy and the nature of this economic sector is continuing to change, with emerging technologies and new industries with different requirements. Industrial land is evolving from traditional industrial and manufacturing lands, and freight and logistics hubs, into complex employment lands. This trend is consistent with other parts of Greater Sydney, particularly east of Parramatta.
Existing sites face pressure to rezone to residential uses, especially near Liverpool and north of Greater Penrith. While locations like Wetherill Park and North St Marys may absorb more industrial activities in the short term, the District's new communities need jobs and services close to home. It is therefore important to retain the existing sites and plan for more industrial and urban services land.
Safeguarding industrial and urban services land can facilitate industries of the future, including creative industries and environmental services such as waste management and recycling facilities.
Timely and cost-effective infrastructure delivery will support the development and competitiveness of these lands, which compete with other Australian capital cities for large tenants like national distribution centres.
Increasing demand for local urban services and an innovative and adaptable industrial sector will require well-connected, serviced and economically viable land for businesses such as mechanics, repair centres, wholesale warehousing, light manufacturing, creative industries, freight, logistics and construction materials warehousing and supply centres.
Future employment growth across all industries and urban services will require additional floor space, additional land or both. Urban services are often less able to increase their floor space efficiency or locate in multi-storey buildings.
Research has identified a benchmark of three square metres of urban services land per person19. The research found that in the Western City District, the per person amount exceeds the benchmark in 2016, and this amount is anticipated to reduce between 2016 and 2036.
However, owing to the substantial long-term population growth and development in land release areas, there may be a need for additional industrial and urban services land.
Principles for managing industrial and urban services land
The retention, growth and enhancement of industrial and urban services land should reflect the needs of each of Greater Sydney's three cities, and their local context. It should provide land for a wide range of businesses that support the city's productivity and integrated economy.
Industrial land approaches shall be consistent with Figure 19 and for the Western City District shall be as follows:
- Retain and manage: All existing industrial and urban services land should be safeguarded from competing pressures, especially residential and mixed-use zones. This approach retains this land for economic activities required for Greater Sydney's operation, such as urban services.
Specifically these industrial lands are required for economic and employment purposes. Therefore, the number of jobs should not be the primary objective - rather a mix of economic outcomes that support the city and population. The management of these lands should accommodate evolving business practices and changes in needs for urban services from the surrounding community and businesses. Where a retain and managed approach is being undertaken, councils are to conduct a strategic review of industrial land as part of updating local environmental plans.
There will also be a need, from time to time, to review the list of appropriate activities within any precinct in consideration of evolving business practices and how they can be supported through permitted uses in local environmental plans. Any review should take into consideration findings of industrial, commercial and centre strategies for the local government area and/or the district.
The retain and manage approach applies across industrial land in the established urban areas of the Western Parkland City, including the existing Western Sydney Employment Area.
- Review and manage: The Greater Sydney Commission will review all industrial and urban services land under this approach to either confirm its retention (as described in the approach above) or manage uses to allow sites to transition to higher-order employment activities (such as business parks) and seek appropriate controls to maximise business and employment outcomes. The review will consider the current level of industrial and urban services land supply, the changing nature of industries and the transformation in the sector impacting on changing demands for land. In limited cases, conversion to other uses may be appropriate.
Equally in some cases the retention of industrial activities will be a starting objective. The Greater Sydney Commission will collaborate with other State agencies and councils and seek input from stakeholders as part of the review.
The review and manage approach applies to the established areas of Liverpool and Fairfield local government areas.
- Plan and manage: In land release areas, there is a need for additional industrial and urban services land in response to long-term projected population and development growth. The Greater Sydney Commission will work with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, other State agencies, including Transport for New South Wales, and councils as strategic plans are prepared to determine additional industrial and urban services land requirements. Additional industrial and urban services land needs to be accompanied by timely sequencing and servicing of infrastructure.
The plan and manage approach applies across parts of the Camden, Campbelltown, Liverpool and Penrith local government areas.
Figure 19: Western City District industrial and urban services land approaches.
Delivering local jobs and creating a local office market
As Greater Sydney grows over the next 20 years, there will be a need for the efficient and timely delivery of new office precincts. Stakeholder feedback emphasised the need to grow and diversify local employment opportunities.
In the Western City District, there are no major stand-alone office precincts, increasing the need for residents to travel longer distances to access a variety of jobs. A Metropolis of Three Cities supports councils to consider offices as a permissible use in an industrial precinct to grow the local office market and support local jobs. However, delivering on this outcome should not compromise the operations of existing and planned industrial activities nor be seen as a first step in transitioning an industrial area into, for example, a business park, nor is it about allowing retail to support office activity.
Considerations should include:
- the context of industrial, commercial and centres strategies for the local government area and/or the district
- proximity to established business parks or office precincts, with the transition to accommodate new offices or uses which should only be supported in precincts not close to existing business parks or office precincts
- where access to the industrial precinct is constrained, transition to accommodate new uses or offices should be supported only where it will not compromise industrial activities in the precinct or the operation of trade gateways.
The Commission will work with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment and local councils on the development of the required statutory tools to facilitate offices in industrial precincts, where this is identified by councils as appropriate.
Freight and logistics
The District has the potential to become a nationally significant freight and logistics hub through its connections to international, national and regional NSW transport networks. In addition to international connections via the Western Sydney Airport and the potential Western Freight Line (linking to Botany Bay), it connects Greater Sydney to places across the Great Dividing Range via the Main Western Rail Line, the Great Western Highway and the M4 Motorway transporting mineral and agricultural exports from regional NSW to ports, and to Canberra and Melbourne via the Main South Rail Line, the Southern Sydney Freight Line and Hume Highway. These links form part of the National Land Transport Network that carries freight by rail and road to and from Adelaide and Perth as well as locally and regionally to Dubbo, Newcastle, the Illawarra and Port Kembla.
Development of the Western City District provides an unprecedented opportunity for it to realise a national freight and logistics role. This is because the District has competitive advantages including the future Western Sydney Airport, existing freight infrastructure, inter-regional connections, and a substantial supply of large lots of land.
This could be achieved by prioritising the Western Sydney Freight Line, the Outer Sydney Orbital and a potential intermodal terminal; facilitating agribusiness by allocating land within the Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis for agricultural export logistics; and delivering the broader Western Sydney Employment Area, which is a regional resource of industrial and employment land serving Greater Sydney.
A new Western Sydney intermodal terminal will be investigated by 2036. The location is yet to be determined but it will be close to the Western Sydney Freight Line.
Freight and logistic services must locate to support the Western Sydney Airport. Buffer zones will avoid locating sensitive uses, like residential development, close to industrial and urban services land.
Some older industrial sites contain low buildings or constraints such as smaller lots that are unable to meet emerging freight and logistics needs. A review of older sites will identify opportunities for new industrial uses with higher job densities.
As the Western City District develops, improving freight network efficiencies, including a Western Sydney Fuel Pipeline to the Western Sydney Airport, will become increasingly important. The District must also connect port and airport activities, linking the Western Sydney Airport, the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal and a potentially expanded container port at Port Kembla via the Outer Sydney Orbital.
A dedicated freight rail connection from Port Botany in the Eastern Harbour City to the Western Parkland City will increase the proportion of freight moved by rail. Separating freight and passenger services will increase the efficiency and capacity of freight movements and ease road congestion. The proposed Western Sydney Freight Line will boost the economic potential of surrounding industrial precincts such as Smithfield, and the metropolitan significant Wetherill Park to Villawood industrial corridor, and enhance connections to the Western Sydney Employment Area.
Actions related to freight and logistics are included in Planning Priority W7.