With today being Harmony day, I feel it is important to celebrate and acknowledge the success story of cultural integration in Western Sydney and how this benefits us from an economic and social perspective, not only at work but in daily life.
Taking a walk around Parramatta recently, I noticed the genuine mix of cultures, ages and personalities that were apparent. In the space of 10 minutes, I had received unforeseen hellos and smiles, walked past a Caribbean dance group, a lively Paramasala Festival, a group of elderly ladies performing Tai Chi and a range of restaurants bustling with customers.
While most parts of Sydney may have a similar mix, it has really stood out as a unique characteristic since working in Parramatta and I have observed these demographics change and evolve more fluidly over time.
These observations were reflected in a recent Western Sydney Business Connection gathering, which brought together entrepreneurs and politicians from the community who were active in developing and promoting Western Sydney, as the future of expansion in Sydney.
I was enthused to see the focus on developing specific suburbs and the practical plans put in place to foster short-term and long term growth, with such voracity and passion. There was talk of shifting the traditional stigma of the West and fostering a new found image, through business, including local business Alex & Co., which aimed to bring a bit of the East to the West. Inclusions of popular burger joints like Milky Lane, Bar Luca and even Meat & Wine Co add to this.
Major targets of note, also include the ambitious but achievable goal of creating 200,000 jobs in Western Sydney by 2020, with growth areas being Badgerys Creek, Werrington, Olympic Corridor, Bankstown and Camden.
I’ll admit that I did have an unfairly influenced perception of the West before working in Parramatta, mainly from the stereotypes thrown around, however it has grown a lot in a short period of time and I can see the changes already. There is definitely a charm to the place.
I have also seen this growth reflected in the hiring managers and candidates’ anecdotes as well, continually speak of refurbishing offices, using more land for business expansion and hiring due to growth rather than resignations. Similarly, candidates are very keen to work closer to home, avoiding the trek into the Sydney CBD and relishing a smaller commute in the suburbs.
It is fascinating to watch this change in action and I will be very keen to see how the business landscape of the West looks in the next decade!