Today represents a big day for me, for KPMG and the Western Sydney economy.
NSW Premier and Western Sydney Minister Mike Baird will officially open our new Western Sydney office, based in Parramatta.
On a personal level, Western Sydney has been the centre of my business life for more than 17 years, having worked in the region in both private and public enterprises. But it means more to me that just that.
My parents lived here, and I, like many students in Western Sydney was a ‘first in family’ student to go on to higher education. Back then, Western Sydney was the dormitory of Sydney city with weary commuters travelling to the city centre for work.
Now, the region has a Gross Regional Product (GRP) of more than $110 billion representing nearly a third of the Sydney metropolitan GRP and almost a quarter of the New South Wales economy.
Clients tell me there are three key issues they are grappling with.
The first is innovation: transforming to new business models and markets. Developing better strategies, more research and development, including garnering the financial assistance associated with this, and help with debt restructuring, mergers and acquisitions.
The second is profitable growth: Reducing costs, managing their supply chain and improved management of working capital.
And the third is reducing regulatory risk especially risk associated with taxation and audit.
Many Western Sydney companies are also grappling with a volatile economic climate and increasing competition from global manufacturing. They are operating in a period of rapid change where they will have to adapt to ensure they are globally competitive.
In 2015, I see the planets in alignment over Western Sydney. Never before have all levels of government shown such support for the region. The new airport, the first 50 storey residential building on the river and a 70 storey building on the drawing board, the growth of both sporting and cultural facilities. And the first public multi storey high school for NSW in Parramatta, to cope with expected enrolments over the next two decades.
Western Sydney as an incubator of young talent. Digital natives who love and understand the region, smart, streetwise and wanting to work close to home. Many of these have come to tertiary education through innovative programs run at the University of Western Sydney. Young people who have worked their way into higher education through the university’s ‘college’ system, many of whom we hope to attract to our new Western Sydney office.
But there are many challenges.
Companies need to navigate change by moving away from traditional manufacturing (employing 15 percent of the local workforce) to niche competitive manufacturing and services. Further major shifts are expected through increased automation over the next decade, and businesses have to embrace innovation and technology. Smart companies will focus on R&D for new products and work processes and benefit from government support through concessions and grants.
Export growth will be helped by a more favourable exchange rate. Assistance is available for companies to grow exports sales, but effectively accessing it is key.
The private sector has long been vaunted for the attributes that drive economic dynamism and growth – fast moving, innovative, nimble, pioneering, and importantly, the willingness to take a risk. Western Sydney exemplifies those traits and it is through those traits that we will continue to see its growth.
KPMG is proud to be playing its part on the next stage of the journey and today is where it starts.
Feature Image Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo