South Creek integrated water and land-use planning on Infrastructure Australia 2020 priority list

Achieving a cool and green Western Parkland City (WPC) in the South Creek corridor that is able to catalyse the significant investment being made in the Western Sydney Airport and compete successfully with the more established Eastern Harbour City (centred around Sydney Harbour), and Central River City (centred around Parramatta River) will require ‘city shaping’ investment in blue-green infrastructure in the Western Parkland City. This involves conserving, investing in and actively maintaining ‘green’ infrastructure (such as urban canopy, open space) as well as blue infrastructure (water-related infrastructure such as waterways and stormwater management) to support and promote amenity, recreation, urban cooling and environmental outcomes.

Against this backdrop, Frontier Economics is assisting Infrastructure NSW with the South Creek Sector Review to develop regulatory certainty for integrated water and land-use planning.

The path chosen for the development of the WPC will affect national productivity, the quality of life for people living and working in Western Sydney and the value that can be created from existing and new infrastructure. Developing and sustaining a competitive, liveable and resilient city presents a complex set of land use and water management challenges, and there are significant economic, environmental and liveability-related challenges to achieving the WPC vision.

As part of Stage One of the Review, Frontier Economics and Infrastructure NSW (in collaboration with NSW agencies), developed a Strategic Options Business Case which demonstrated a ‘business as usual’ approach will not deliver improved liveability, environmental and economic outcomes critical to the achieving the NSW Government’s objectives for the area. This would consign future generations of people living and working in the WPC to missing out on the substantial benefits that flow from open space, urban cooling and a healthy local environment.

As a large proportion of the WPC is currently non-urban, development in the area provides an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of urban developments in the past by doing things differently. This allows for true integration of land use water cycle planning, through incorporating essential blue-green infrastructure (including water, open-space, urban cooling and stormwater and environmental infrastructure) centred around the South Creek Corridor.

In particular, the strategic options business case found that an integrated approach to land-use and water cycle management, including integrated planning of grey, blue and green infrastructure would best deliver the NSW Government’s vision of a Western Parkland City, generating significant benefits to the WPC, Greater Sydney, NSW and Australian communities.

Recognising the national significance of delivering the WPC, the catalytic nature of blue-green infrastructure and this unique opportunity to shape the future of Western Sydney,  Infrastructure Australia today announced that blue-green infrastructure in the Western Parkland City will be added as an initiative on the Infrastructure Priority List (a prioritised list of nationally significant investments). This is one of the first blue-green infrastructure investments to be listed on the Priority List, which has traditionally focused on grey infrastructure investments.

A map of Sydney's western flank showing the outline of the South Creek catchment area.

Frontier Economics assisted Infrastructure NSW in developing the submission to Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List and is advising a range of clients on economic issues and challenges in urban growth and development.

Image Credit: Infrastructure Australia: ‘Infrastructure Priority List 2020’.

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