Five of the fastest growing precincts driving innovation in Sydney.
A global city home to over five million people, Sydney continues to expand, creating new innovation precincts and growing existing ones. These new developments provide great opportunities for future business meetings and events to experience Australian innovation firsthand. Discover five of the fastest growing precincts driving innovation in Sydney.
A TALE OF THREE CITIES
While Sydney may be most famous for its iconic harbourside landmarks, the city has a wider metropolitan area of 12,368km2 and – with a population expected to reach 6.6 million by 2036 – it is among the 10 fastest-growing places in the Western world. As the population grows, work is underway for Sydney to become three interconnected cities. To the west of Sydney’s traditional central business district, the Central River City of Paramatta is a growing hub for health and education; and further west, a new international airport will lie at the heart of the Western Parkland City of Bradfield, named after the influential engineer who designed the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The aerotropolis of Bradfield will be Australia’s first high-tech 22nd century city and the NSW State Government has committed more than AUD$1 billion to establish the Greater Western Parkland City, which will include an agribusiness precinct to support the production of high-quality fresh produce, a manufacturing hub, and space for high technology industry. Ultimately, the city will be home to advanced industries including defence, aviation, aerospace, logistics, future transport, construction technology, new energy and the circular economy. In addition, a new on-demand, driverless underground rail line will place Bradfield within five minutes’ travel of the new airport, and planned connections to Sydney’s existing rail network will make travel to Sydney’s other two cities possible in under one hour. These new industry and infrastructure connections promise new possibilities for business events in Sydney’s newest innovation precincts.
BUILDING ON AUSTRALIA’S TRADITIONAL STRENGTHS: Finance and professional services
Sydney is the capital city and economic hub of the state of New South Wales, which generates almost half of the financial services outputs that make Australia’s finance sector so globally competitive. By 2026, the banking and finance sector is predicted to generate one in every five dollars in the city’s economy and Sydney’s newest waterfront financial and professional services hub is shaping up to be the first large-scale climate positive precinct in the world.
Most of Sydney’s financial services are based in the harbourside city centre, with 63 percent of the top 100 companies listed on the ASX and 15 of the world’s top 20 investment banks headquartered in the central business district, alongside Australia’s central Reserve Bank and the Australian Securities Exchange (the ASX). In addition, each of the big four global accountancy and management consulting firms has offices in Sydney, with two based in Sydney’s newest financial precinct, Barangaroo.
Located between Sydney Harbour and the city centre – and born out of a disused shipping container terminal – Barangaroo is a 22ha waterfront precinct for business and leisure. It’s home to International Towers, where global financial and professional services companies reside, including Swiss Re, Accenture, CMC Markets, Cognizant, Visa, KPMG and PwC; and it offers fine dining and a luxury hotel in Sydney’s tallest building, Crown Towers Sydney. The precinct is within easy reach of ICC Sydney, convention spaces and special event venues, as well as accommodation options with 42,000 hotels rooms across multiple price points, making it an ideal base for financial conferences and business events to meet in Sydney.
HEALTH DEVELOPMENTS AT EVERY TURN
The NSW Government is investing AUD$5 billion to grow health precincts across Greater Sydney, which currently has 13 health and education precincts and 26 pharmaceutical and biotechnology clusters. Centred around Sydney’s major hospitals and co-located with at least one major university, Sydney’s health precincts – including those at Westmead, Randwick and Camperdown – each comprise education and research hubs that offer business visitors the opportunity to see Australian research and clinical practice in action.
Near the Central River City of Paramatta, the Westmead Health and Innovation Precinct is one of the world’s largest health, education, research and training hubs. It is home to four major hospitals, four world-leading research institutes, two university campuses and a research-intensive pathology service. A range of hotels in Parramatta offer accommodation and business meeting spaces, from the Pan Pacific Parramatta which can host up to 550 theatre-style, to the forthcoming InterContinental hotel due to open in 2025 with 200 rooms and more than 900m2 of event space to host business events.
In the inner southeast of Sydney, the Randwick Health and Innovation Precinct has seen more than AUD$1.5 billion invested to redevelop an existing hospital and research cluster. While in the inner west, the Camperdown-Ultimo Collaboration Area – which includes the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney and the University of Notre Dame– is considered the most significant innovation precinct in the state and a prime location for business events and conferences. For more on Sydney’s Health sector achievements here
A GLOBAL CENTRE FOR EDUCATION EXCELLENCE
Sydney is home to two of the top 100 universities in the world, as ranked by Times Higher Education: the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales. The city has three major campuses within 10km of its harbourside city centre, placing students and researchers within thriving and overlapping innovation ecosystems for health, technology and finance.
Increasingly, Sydney’s major universities integrate with other knowledge precincts across the wider metropolitan region, offering students the chance to work alongside and learn from industry, and contribute to industry and academic conferences and business events.
The University of Sydney and Western Sydney University both have a growing presence in the expanding Westmead Health and Innovation Precinct, which includes a new Central Acute Services Building that opened in early 2021. Alongside two new emergency departments, 25 digital operating theatres and more than 300 patient rooms, the building also provides space for the University of Sydney to bring together education, research and health services. With its diverse culture and exciting attractions, Western Sydney is transforming into a new heartland for business and industry.
The University of New South Wales has committed AUD$1 billion to developing precincts across Sydney and in regional parts of the state through to 2030, with development proposed or underway across four different precincts, including the Health Translation Hub in the Randwick Health and Innovation Precinct and emerging precincts in Sydney’s west. While the University of Technology Sydney has partnered with the NSW Government to establish a presence in the Western Parkland City of Bradfield, which is currently in development.
CREATING SPACE FOR THE INDUSTRIES OF THE FUTURE: Technology
Sydney has strong global standing as an innovative city with a flourishing technology sector. This will be boosted further with the creation of Tech Central, an innovation and technology precinct that will centre on the southern end of the city and spread across several inner-city suburbs. Global technology company Atlassian will anchor the precinct, and major hubs for quantum technology and the space industry are already earmarked for residence.
Sydney consistently ranks high on global lists for innovation and technology. In its 2021 Technology Innovation Hubs Report, KPMG ranks Australia tenth in the world for countries that show most promise for developing disruptive technologies; and ranks Sydney as the leading tech city in Australia. Sydney is also home to several globally renowned, Australian-founded technology companies including Atlassian, Canva, and the buy-now-pay-later success story AfterPay.
The Sydney Innovation and Technology Precinct will grow the city’s strengths in tech and will provide 250,000m2 of floorspace for technology companies, one fifth of which will be made available as affordable workspace for startups and early-stage companies. Stretching outwards from Central Station at the southern end of the city centre, the precinct is located close to ICC Sydney and a wide range of accommodation options, making the precinct ideal for conferences and business events in Sydney.