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Georges River Council brings together leading city-shapers to rediscover the future of Sydney


Last week, Georges River Council brought together leading city-shapers to reflect on the ‘three cities model’ of Greater Sydney and to identify opportunities that the South and other regions have to offer in supporting the future success of Sydney.

Over 200 people attended the ‘Sydney Re-discovered – A Metropolis of 5 Cities’ virtual event which was a collaboration between Georges River Council, Wollongong City Council, Business Western Sydney, City of Newcastle and the Committee for Sydney.
The General Manager of Georges River Council, Gail Connolly, highlighted the significance of this event for the future of Sydney.
“This event was the start of a bigger and significant conversation about the future of Sydney, acknowledging that the South District and other regions such as Wollongong, Newcastle and the Central Coast have a huge part to play in the next iteration of district plans,” Ms Connolly said.
“With our escalating climate crisis and with the ongoing pandemic, there has never been a more urgent time to work together and support each other in building more sustainable, liveable and productive opportunities in Sydney.
“The South District not only has a great deal to offer metropolitan Sydney, but can also support all Sydney districts to work together to achieve a better, fairer and more connected city,” Ms Connolly said.
The event was hosted by Ellen Fanning, award-winning journalist and host of ABC TV’s ‘The Drum’. Key speakers included Dr Tim Williams, Director of Publicani and Advisor on Cities to governments and Peter Poulet, Central District and Southern District Commissioner at the Greater Sydney Commission, who both spoke about the need for more distributed economic activity and a new interaction between CBDs and inner/outer suburbs to become more polycentric.
Panelists included David Borger, Executive Director of Western Sydney Business, Adam Zarth, Executive Director of Business Illawarra, Simon Massey, Economic Strategy & Government Relations Manager at the City of Newcastle, Gail Connolly, General Manager of Georges River Council, Roberta Ryan, a professor of municipality at Newcastle University and the Western Sydney Aerotropolis Independent Community Commissioner, and Roderick Simpson, Director of simpson + wilson architects and former Environment Commissioner at the Greater Sydney Commission.
Ms Connolly introduced the concept of the ‘Southern Aerotropolis’, arguing that the South District is largely ignored from an investment point of view. Within this area of Greater Sydney there are seven strategic centres including Hurstville and Kogarah. There is an opportunity to leverage off the potential of these well­-established centres; proximity to the airport and port, the availability of employment lands, the transport connections (both for the movement of workers and goods) and the unrivalled natural assets and liveability of the south.
“Today is a huge step in building the reputation of the South District, not only to achieve a better-connected city, but also to build better business and investment opportunities for the prosperity of our communities.
“Now is the time to re-discover the future of Sydney with a global economic arc that stretches south of Port Botany and the Sydney Airport with a focus on the Southern Aerotropolis.
“The ‘River Rail’ – a future Kogarah to Parramatta rail link – will be the anchor in defining our city-shaping infrastructure,” Mr Poulet said.
Georges River Council's collaboration with other councils and peak bodies will continue in the form of future 'Sydney Rediscovered' events and joint submissions. Council's advocacy document for the Southern Aerotropolis will be released shortly. 
Watch the virtual event here.

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