The year Liverpool took off

10 January 2018

Last year was the year Liverpool took off. Now we are really going places.

Our focus this year is to improve the local economy – approaching the $10 billion mark over the next 12 months – and further enhance Liverpool’s advantages as a great place to live.

In 2017 we officially became home to Western Sydney Airport. This year we will continue on our path towards being Sydney’s next CBD.

Liverpool opened its doors to the biggest infrastructure project in Australia last November with the official opening of WSA Co – the company that will build and run the airport – in our city.

When WSA Co chose Liverpool it recognised that we are the capital of the South West and the engine room when it comes to Sydney’s second international airport.

And we’re not the only ones saying it. PwC certainly thinks so too. The internationally renowned organisation released its groundbreaking report Liverpool: The Gateway to Sydney’s Aerotropolis, recognising the many competitive advantages that put us ahead of the pack in western Sydney.

This year we will be on the front foot again when it comes to the airport with work beginning at the Badgerys Creek site.

Liverpool and neighbouring councils will continue to lobby the Premier and senior Ministers to focus their attention on ensuring rail connections are in place from the day the new Airport opens in 2026, but we’re not stopping there.

We’re doing some groundbreaking things of our own in transport between Badgerys Creek and Liverpool that will bring real benefits to local people.

The transformative effect of being the airport gateway city is already apparent.

Businesses are recognising the advantages of setting up here. We welcomed AMP Capital, WesTrac and DB Schenker to our city in 2017. Centrum Printing also relocated from the Sutherland Shire region to expand in Liverpool.

And this year home fittings company GWA will move to a purpose-built facility in Prestons. We will continue to attract big business to our city and this will mean jobs for local residents.

One of the reasons businesses both large and small recognise Liverpool’s strategic advantages is our health, education and research precinct. When the University of Wollongong opened its doors in Liverpool last year it became the first major university to bring a campus to the city.

This further strengthened Liverpool’s growing reputation as a learning hub – a walkable city anchored by Liverpool Hospital.

This year, we look forward to welcoming Western Sydney University when it opens its doors in semester one, another piece of the puzzle for our university city.

And I will be further strengthening our health and education precinct by lobbying for a much needed expansion of Liverpool Hospital – a world-class facility – to cater for our rapidly growing population.

Liverpool is set to grow from its current population of 215,000 people to 331,000 by 2036. That rapid rate of growth – 100 new residents a week – is driving our claim to be Sydney’s next CBD. There are 17,750 new homes in the pipeline for Liverpool.

I firmly believe 2018 is going to be the year people sit up and take notice that we are Sydney’s next CBD.

The heart of Liverpool will be a revitalised, attractive place to work and play, day and night.

We spent nearly $1 million a week in 2017 towards this goal, building and maintaining infrastructure including Bigge Park, Macquarie Mall, parks and sporting facilities.

This year Liverpool City Council will start building Liverpool Civic Place, a $200 million development in Scott St that will anchor the southern end of Liverpool.

It will accommodate the City Library, Council chambers and offices, another University of Wollongong campus, all alongside housing and a hotel.

The benefits don’t stop there. Job-seekers studying at TAFE NSW will get the opportunity this year to be part of its construction thanks to a partnership agreement we signed at the end of 2017.

Students will get on-site training through an innovative Skills Exchange in areas ranging from foundation skills, construction and trade skills to nationally accredited training and qualifications.

The relocation to Warwick Farm Racecourse this year of the $140 million Inglis thoroughbred stables, home of the biggest yearling sales in the country, will be a major drawcard.

Liverpool is a city that acts locally and thinks globally. We announced ourselves as the perfect launching pad for a global business in 2017 at the Invest Liverpool event when 250 business leaders gathered at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre to listen to a panel of industry experts discussing the global market.

On International Women’s Day, Liverpool City Council launched its Women in Business Program to assist local women make their way in business.

The program helps local women to succeed and grow in business, and provide support through all stages of their business journey.

Liverpool proved it was an innovator last year. We received a Smart Cities Award for our continued push into digital planning.

The Committee for Sydney recognised our FastTrack Council for our Section 149 automation project. Section 149 certificates are required every time a house is sold.

They used to take five days and now they take five minutes.

We also picked up a NSW Engineering Excellence Award for our $1.2 million CCTV program in Macquarie Mall. Watch this space for more innovation to come in 2018.

Liverpool City Council showed support for a number of causes during the year and ran some really successful events.

We gave Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections – a fantastic local social enterprise -  the keys to the café at the entrance to Liverpool City Library and a temporary shop front on Scott Street to add to its growing list of ventures.

The Library Café, Pepper’s Place, employs two women who have been through LNC’s hospitality training programs and The Rising Collective will sell products made by five women who have been through the LNC’s business incubator. This is helping to break the cycle of generational unemployment.

Liverpool hosted some fantastic events in 2017, culminating in Light Up the Lake on New Year’s Eve when more than 10,000 people flocked to Chipping Norton Lake for a fabulous night of entertainment.

Thousands attended Spring Into Liverpool and Eat Your Heart Out Liverpool – two great celebrations of the best the city has to offer in culture, food and entertainment. These will be bigger and better next year.

Our Charity Ball raised funds for a Healing Garden at the entrance to the hospital, our outdoor staff wore pink to show support for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Liverpool played host to the South West Disability Expo, the biggest of its kind on the calendar in 2017.

We have a strong commitment to ensure that people living with disability in the community are connected to services and support that meet their needs.

There is no doubt Liverpool is going places, but we need better infrastructure to make the city truly thrive and that will be my mission in 2018.

The NSW Government knows there are major problems with its road network, public transport and basic infrastructure like sewerage and water that are holding back our city.

We need a commitment to a major investment to ease traffic congestion – and the Government needs to fund public transport as well.

Council will not stop calling for the investment we need - an express rail service to the city, the extension of the new Metro line from Bankstown and an extension of the south-west rail link to the Western Sydney Airport are the absolute minimum commitment to support our growth.

Wendy Waller

Liverpool Mayor