With a young, diverse and rapidly growing population, Western Sydney is an attractive location for businesses looking to start.
- Half a million fewer migrants are expected to arrive in western Sydney over the next 20 years
- Decline in projected population growth is due to border closures during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Companies say a shortage of skilled workers could make it difficult to expand
For Lissa Todini, who has run her wholesale bakery for two decades, the drying up of migration during the pandemic has made it harder to find qualified staff.
“We rely on immigration and skilled workers,” she said.
“There’s a shortage of pastry chefs in Australia, so it’s a bit of a challenge.”
She wants to continue to grow her business and sees opportunities in the development of Sydney’s third town centre, Bradfield.
But weaker-than-expected population growth could be a hurdle.
“We were looking forward to quite a boom,” she said.
“In order to be able to meet these demands, we will clearly need to employ more people.
Newly released data has revealed that forecasts for population growth in western Sydney have been reduced due to COVID-19 related border closures, with the area expected to attract half a million fewer people than expected over the next few years. next 20 years.
The data was compiled for the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue (WSLD), a non-profit think tank aimed at enhancing Sydney’s western suburbs.
“With a slow decline in these population numbers, you can expect to see a slow decline in job growth in the region,” said WSLD executive director Adam Leto.
“What we would like to see is for the federal government, through its immigration policy, to return to pre-COVID immigration levels as a starting point.”
Over 50% of Sydney’s foreign-born residents live in the western part of the city.
Rhonda Itaoui, postdoctoral researcher in urban studies at the University of Western Sydney, said migrants have not only contributed to the cultural fabric of the west, but have also influenced crucial economic and urban planning strategies.
“We welcome a significant proportion of skilled and talented workers who travel to different parts of Sydney and take up employment in various sectors,” Dr Itaoui said.
Parramatta, a key area for development and infrastructure investment, saw more than 90,000 international arrivals between 2006 and 2015, according to the latest census.
It currently has a population of 503,000, but blocking migration could throw future growth plans into question.
The data suggests that by 2041, the population of Parramatta will have increased to 629,000 from the previously projected 753,000.
“If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that the trends that shape population growth are shaped by a wide range of external and unpredictable forces to which multiple levels of government must adapt and respond,” said the Dr Itaoui.
Near Ms Todini’s business in south-west Sydney, the long-term impact of the migration crisis is more pronounced.
Liverpool were expected to see an additional 332,000 people move to the area over the next 20 years, but after COVID this has now been revised down by 42%, with 140,000 fewer newcomers expected.
Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun said the focus should be on quality of life rather than population growth.
“We are crying out for activities and things to do,” Mr. Mannoun said.
“Affordability is not just the price you pay for your home, but also having the surrounding infrastructure to build a great community.
Mr Leto said the pandemic had provided “respite” for federal and state governments to catch up on infrastructure.
“Over the past 10 to 15 years, people have outpaced infrastructure investment, but it’s kind of starting to recalibrate now,” Leto said.
“This will be an opportunity to revive the region’s economy and move towards an economy based on innovation, enterprise, new technologies and new industries.”