August Message from Michael Tilt, CEO

Last week the NSW government released plans for what promises to be one of the largest and most exciting Infrastructure projects in Australia. The Western Sydney Aerotropolis Plan offers a smart, co-ordinated approach to maximise the benefits of the major infrastructure spend on the western Sydney airport. Recognising the potential of a city based around a global airport development, the 11,200 hectare ‘aerotropolis’ will be greater Sydney’s newest economic hub.

The plan contributes to a vision of a ‘Western Parkland City’ which acknowledges and connects the wider metropolitan cluster of Penrith, Liverpool and Campbelltown-Macarthur. Local councils have committed to putting regional interests ahead of individual and to advocate for communal outcomes.

The stage is set for huge opportunities for development around industries such as health, education, retail, transport and logistics which are forecast to create more than 12,000 jobs in the region. We encourage clients to speak with us on preparing submissions, which are due in early October.

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull described ‘aerotropolis’ as a game-changer, transforming western Sydney into “one of the best places to live and work in Australia”.

If it does realise this promise, aerotropolis may prove to be one of the world’s most liveable cities. And Australia has a record of performing well on that measure. This year, of the 140 cities surveyed annually for liveability by The Economist magazine, three of ours - Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide - rank in the top 10. In fact, Melbourne has taken out line honours for the past seven years in a row. Only in 2018 has it slipped back to second place behind Vienna, and just by the slightest of margins!

For those who want to know what makes a great city, the Urbanity conference to be held at Brisbane’s Royal International Convention Centre from 18-20 September is the place to be. Billed as a conference for the creators and the custodians of cities in the Asia-Pacific, it’s another forum where you’ll be able to hear from our chairman, Brian Haratsis. He’ll be talking on the first day about the impact of autonomous, electric and shared vehicles on spatial planning and the real estate industry.

Planning for the future of older people in NSW’s Illawarra region was the topic of a recent retirement lunch held by the Property Council. MacroPlan’s senior manager of advisory and our retirement industry sector lead, Jeremy McKinnon, was the guest speaker and he spoke of the need to provide high-quality housing options for the one in four people aged 65 and over in the area.

As Jeremy notes, the biggest issue for delivery of this product is competition against normal residential apartment development which doesn’t have the same heavy upfront costs. The solution is regulatory change at both state and local government level, with land use policies to support this age-appropriate housing.

From the older generation to the younger - MacroPlan is keen to keep in touch with new people entering our profession who will help shape Australia’s future. To that end, we hosted a student planning night in our Sydney offices with around 40 students from UNSW. The informal networking and information-sharing evening was a chance for the group to hear from Wayne Gersbach, our general manager for NSW, and from Madison Winnel, one of our junior planners from UNSW.

I mentioned in the last newsletter that we were on the eve of reaching the 25 million population mark. As the clock ticked over, media outlets were quick to nominate an actual person representing that landmark so they could take a happy snap. The Australian newspaper had a safe bet both ways on it being an immigrant or a homegrown by picking a baby born in Sydney’s growing western suburbs to migrant parents. I’d like to think that whoever it was, we are welcoming them into a bright and prosperous future.

Michael Tilt Chief Executive Officer