Western Sydney University unveils ambitious economic plan for the region

Western Sydney University today unveiled a bold economic plan that through new industries and a job-to-workers ratio like Sydney’s east, could see Western Sydney add $100 billion to the state’s economy and 675,000 extra local jobs in just over a decade.

The plan highlights that if the Western Sydney economy experienced the same jobs to worker ratio as the rest of Sydney – 400,000 new jobs would be delivered by 2036 compared to business-as-usual growth.

Each person in Western Sydney would be more than $20,000 better off a year on average, an increase from $59,805 today to $81,222 by 2036. Depending on the industry, most of the extra $20,000 would go to workers as additional income or local business owners and entrepreneurs, boosting the long-term wealth of Western Sydney residents.

Released by the University's Centre for Western Sydney, the Unlimited Potential: Western Sydney’s Economic Plan is a comprehensive blueprint that will build on the region’s existing advantages and propel Western Sydney to the forefront of the global economy.

At its core, the plan identifies key economic focus areas that will accelerate growth, elevate GRP per capita, and ensure Western Sydney residents have access to local jobs and thriving communities. These objectives are to be achieved through transformational ‘leaps’, developed in consultation with stakeholders from both industry and community, to propel Western Sydney’s growth trajectory forward. These leaps include:

  • Cultivating industries of the future: Positioning Western Sydney as an internationally competitive industrial powerhouse at the forefront of innovation and technology, capturing key global markets in industries, such as advanced manufacturing, space, defence, and renewable energy.
  • Enhancing skills for tomorrow’s needs: Ensuring the people of the region have access to the skills, education, reskilling and retraining they need throughout their lives for the high-paying, in-demand jobs of the future.
  • Fostering communities that are equipped to seize opportunities: Delivering greater equity across Western Sydney, and ensuring economic growth translates into fairer, more liveable, and more prosperous communities for all.

From left to right: Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover AO; Dr Rhonda Itaoui, Director, Centre for Western Sydney; The Hon. Prue Car MP, Deputy Premier of NSW and Minister for Western Sydney; Chancellor, Professor Jennifer Westacott AO, Western Sydney University Academy student; Professor Andy Marks, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Strategy, Government and Alliances; Executive Director, Centre for Western Sydney.

Chancellor, Professor Jennifer Westacott AO, who launched the plan in Parramatta, said the region was on the precipice of a once-in-a-generation economic transformation.

“With our young, diverse, and entrepreneurial population and a new international airport opening in 2026, Western Sydney is an area of massive advantage,” said Professor Westacott.

“I want Western Sydney locals to have high-paying jobs, access to the skills they need, and no longer be forced to drive 40 kilometres each day to work.”

Projected to grow from 2.6 million people to over 3.2 million by 2036, the current Western Sydney population is made up of residents from over 170 countries, speaking more than 100 languages.

Unlimited Potential highlights a region home to a booming population, a skilled, diverse and educated population, and the future Western Sydney International Airport.

It also acknowledges challenges for businesses in the region, revealing a downturn in business income over the previous ten years, which comparatively grew in the rest of Sydney.

“The region has demonstrated immense resilience following the global pandemic, businesses are emerging stronger and more innovative. Residents are ready to harness new opportunities that address the cost of living, fostering greater equity and inclusivity,” said Professor Westacott.

“Any plan that boosts the region’s economy must prioritise the delivery of meaningful and fulfilling jobs, as well as business opportunities for all residents.

“We can no longer rely on population growth to drive the economy, but we need to invest in our people and jobs of the future.”

As a leading education institution, Western Sydney University will have an integral role as one of the main catalysts for Western Sydney’s growth and transformation, empowering residents with skills and career opportunities, whilst providing a hub for research and innovation.

Understanding the diverse and dynamic region, the Centre for Western Sydney combines world-class research expertise and advocacy on issues of importance to Western Sydney. It will deliver a series of roundtables, initiatives and reports in response to Unlimited Potential across2024, including the launch of the Unlocking Women’s Labour Force Potential in Western Sydney report on 8 March.

The insights gathered from the community, industry and key stakeholders will help inform the final report and its actionable recommendations, which will be launched in November 2024.

To view the Centre for Western Sydney’s Unlimited Potential: Western Sydney’s Economic Plan, visit the web page (opens in a new window). The Centre is the leading evidence-based authority on Western Sydney.


22 February 2024

Ali Sardyga, Acting Manager, Media and PR

Photo credit: Sally Tsoutas