A report titled “Westmead Innovation District: Building Western Sydney’s jobs engine” just released outlines the proposal for a “Westmead Innovation District” to be the next stage of development for the existing Westmead Health Precinct that will include health services, education and medical research facilities and a health technology park.

Deloitte, together with Healthcare Real Estate compiled the Report, which details ways in which the precinct may add to its enviable reputation in the healthcare sector and become a world class health and innovative precinct.

Healthcare Real Estate has been actively involved with the Westmead precinct as well as other health and education precincts in Western Sydney for a number of years.

“With forward thinking and strategic planning, it seems that Westmead is ideally positioned to become the showcase for these services in the years to come.” Phillip Apelbaum, Healthcare Real Estate Australia.

Westmead is already Australia’s biggest health services precinct with a large public hospital, the Westmead Children’s Hospital, Westmead Private Hospital and the Cumberland Hospital together with research institutes and education delivered by the University of Western Sydney and University of Sydney.

The Report contemplates the possibility that more than 50,000 jobs could be housed at the Westmead precinct by 2036.  Report modelling states that by achieving a jobs target of 50,000 by 2036, Westmead will deliver an additional $2.8 billion per year of economic output to the state’s economy.

Westmead currently provides more than 18,000 jobs — the largest number of jobs within Sydney’s seven integrated health and education precincts.

Western Sydney Business Chamber director David Borger said Westmead had always been a “massive jobs engine” and it was time to look at ways to maximise jobs in the area and to see what else could be done.

The Report highlights critical aspects of this future growth to include the establishment of a new Civic Heart for Westmead providing substantial retail and leisure services, and the establishment of a world class Health Technology precent, in addition to building upon the enviable existing infrastructure of healthcare facilities, education by way of universities, and world class research institutes.

“We can turn a great outcome into a truly magnificent world class precinct,” planning minister Rob Stokes said.

Greater Sydney Commission chief executive Lucy Turnbull said talent was attracted to areas that were seen to be great places to live and work.

“There is a growing recognition that having great urban places and spaces is as important for productivity and nurturing human talent as a city being a nice place to walk around. It’s actually an important part of competitiveness,” Mrs Turnbull said.

The report also set other growth targets including a boost to the number of tertiary students from 2,000 to 9,000 by 2036, more than doubling the number of researchers to 2,500 and increasing the number of residents from 12,500 to 20,000.

The report was commissioned by a group known as the Westmead Alliance.

Its members include the Children’s Medical Research Institute, Cumberland Council, University of Sydney, Western Sydney Local Health District, Western Sydney University, City of Parramatta Council, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, Sydney Business Chamber, Westmead Private Hospital, The Westmead Institute for Medical Research and UrbanGrowth NSW.

The Alliance is now looking at the Toronto Discovery District in Canada as a model for the hub in Westmead.

The State Government has thrown its support behind the plan, which was released by Planning Minister Rob Stokes.

“What the plan looks at is the opportunity to leverage on the investment that’s already been committed, as well as the investment that’s going to be committed to the future,” Mr Stokes said.

Written By Phillip Apelbaum

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