Sydney's Central to Eveleigh set to become Australia’s Silicon Valley
Today's Atlassian CEO Scott Farquhar and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the NSW Government will partner with the software company to create a major new technology and innovation precinct in the Central-Eveleigh Corridor running through inner southern Sydney.
The Premier’s announcement refocuses attention on development plans for government-owned railway land between Central and Eveleigh, and marks a strategic play to cement Sydney as Australia’s tech capital.
In recent times technology firms have faced hurdles in securing new or additional space in Sydney. Atlassian’s 2015 bid to expand lost out to property developers whilst Google also shied away from plans to use the Rozelle Power Station as a new work space.
The announcement comes off the back of last year’s report by the Committee for Sydney and KPMG titled Scaling the fintech opportunity for Sydney and Australia which noted the number of FinTech firms in Australia had scaled from 100 in 2014 to more than 500 today, with 10,000 people directly employed.
Almost two thirds of those firms are based in Sydney.
This is a competitive strength in Sydney’s digital innovation economy and today’s announcement marks a step forward in the government’s commitment to back the growth of this vibrant economic sector. Essentially, government and industry together will deliver a new precinct as a focal point for the various tech ecosystems in Sydney and the wider Australian sector.
Up to 10,000 jobs will be located in the precinct and together with co-located firms, coworking spaces, and the Sydney University-UTS education cluster, there is potential for a globally significant tech cluster.
As outgoing Committee for Sydney CEO Tim Williams noted at the release of last year’s report, “Modern knowledge economies thrive on agglomeration, collaborative diversity and convergence and the innovation they collectively promote.”
Furthermore, the urban environment in this corridor is earmarked to be transformed. The railway corridor around Eveleigh, Redfern and Central essentially a neglected and piecemeal space which constitutes a forgettable entrance to the southern CBD.
The precinct is closely located to other large-scale urban renewal precincts at Waterloo, Green Square and Zetland. It’s possible this government-tech industry partnership will build off innovative renewal precedents in Sydney and overseas like the Toronto Smart City co-developed by Google and Sidewalk Labs.
Overall this is a promising announcement about the reinvigoration of a neglected part of Sydney’s urban environment and a potentially visionary step forward for our city’s economic vibrancy and competitiveness.
Jobs for NSW chair David Thodey will lead a design and development taskforce to guide the direction of the new precinct.