Community Colleges Australia (CCA) has released a Statement on economic development in Western Sydney that shows the strong positive contributions that community colleges and other community education providers can make to the economic development of Western Sydney.
“This statement is timely, considering the recent release of the Western Sydney City Deal, which has a strong component of education, skills development and training for the many thousands of jobs that will be created in the region,” said Dr Don Perlgut, CCA’s CEO.
The CCA Statement arises from its early 2018 report on rural and regional economic development, which identified that Western Sydney faced many of the same economic challenges as non-metropolitan regional areas, including:
- lack of transport accessibility, especially to centres of employment but also to other services, frequently necessitating long commutes and extensive reliance on automotive travel;
- locally significant unemployment, especially among young people, Indigenous people and new migrants;
- significant pockets of poverty and disadvantage; and
- an economy heavily reliant on manufacturing and other 20th century industries, which are expected to continue to decline over the next 20 years.
The CCA report noted:
“Western Sydney is Australia’s third largest economy, after Sydney and Melbourne central business districts. It has numerous economic attractions and advantages, notably a rapidly growing Parramatta central business district, the planned Badgerys Creek airport, rich rural and agricultural lands, historical sites, important recreational and sporting facilities, great bushland and World Heritage-listed wildernesses in the Blue Mountains, the Hawkesbury-Nepean River system, and its own university – the multi-campus Western Sydney University.
“Despite a booming population growth, the region’s economy has been unable to keep up, with the ratio of jobs to residents falling consistently since the year 2000. More than 2.2 million people live in greater Western Sydney, 35% of them born overseas, from more than 170 countries and speaking more than 100 languages.”
“Given that almost one in ten Australians live in Western Sydney, its importance to Australia’s economic well-being and future prosperity cannot be overstated,” said Dr Perlgut.
Four NSW community providers are headquartered in Western Sydney: Parramatta Community College, Macquarie Community College, Nepean Community College and Macarthur Community College. In addition, at least another seven community education providers deliver significant services to parts of Western Sydney: VERTO, Sydney Community College, JobQuest, Bankstown Community College, Hornsby Ku-Ring-Gai Community College, the Deaf Society and St George & Sutherland Community College. Many of these 11 community providers are already working closely together to develop Western Sydney-wide approaches to regional training issues.
“Together these 11 organisations provide a valuable economic development resource for Western Sydney, a resource that is not yet not fully utilised,” said Dr Perlgut.
“Community Colleges Australia is keen to ensure that NSW community education providers participate in and assist the development of the education, skilling and jobs development of the new Western Sydney City Deal and other Western Sydney regional initiatives. We are committed to working closely with the NSW and Commonwealth Governments in this endeavour,” said Dr Perlgut.