NSW Election Watch: Committee for Sydney and Sydney Business Chamber election platforms

With the NSW election now less than two weeks away, a number of other research, representative and advocacy organisations are weighing in with their proposals for the future of the state.

The Committee for Sydney – an “independent think tank” – has released a 99 page election platform (PDF), which includes 9 economic development priorities:

  1. Develop and implement an overarching economic strategy for Greater Sydney to align with the Greater Sydney Commission Regional and District Plans.
  2. Retain the role of NSW Productivity Commissioner with a mandate to make NSW the easiest place to do business.
  3. Continue to support the Sydney Start-Up Hub and expand the network of government-backed hubs in Parramatta, Penrith, Liverpool and Macquarie Park.
  4. Commit to the swift development of innovation precincts in areas such as the Central to Eveleigh, to encourage highly skilled employees and companies to locate and stay in Sydney.
  5. Continue promoting and supporting Fintech hubs such as Stone & Chalk and Tyro by assisting in cross-industry collaboration, global reach and Fintech community engagement.
  6. Create a unit within the Department for Industry to facilitate a greater involvement of the university sector in start-ups as a way to leverage more partnering between the corporate sector and the start-up community.
  7. Create new jobs through technology by supporting growth in the robotics, hardware and adaptive manufacturing sectors, particularly in Western Sydney, through the development of an Industry 4.0 strategy.
  8. Maintain support and resources for the Western Sydney Investment Attraction Office and consider opening international offices in key overseas investment destinations.
  9. Introduce the Digital Skills Curriculum as developed by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority to teach computational thinking and prepare students for the jobs of the future.

In a full page advertisement in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, the NSW Business Chamber has promoted its “Keeping NSW Number 1” campaign. The Skills section of the platform outlines:

“For NSW to stay Number 1, we must do more to assist the next generation get the training they need to secure meaningful employment.

“We need to improve the delivery of Vocational Education and Training (VET) and provide more flexible pathways that promote the value, importance and opportunities provided by trades training. That’s why the NSW Business Chamber is calling on our political leaders to adopt the following key measures:

  • Deliver 20,000 school based apprenticeships and traineeships over the next 4 years.
  • Establish a new $100 million Youth Re-engagement Fund to get young people back into training or into work.
  • Fund pilot career advice hubs providing contemporary industry careers advice to school students.
  • TAFE 2.0 – to provide: improved enrolment processes; streamlined students assessments; more contemporary course content addressing key skill requirements; and support for a complementary private Registered Training Organisation (RTO) network.
  • Build another vocational training college to meet demand in Western Sydney.”

CCA Comment

The Committee for Sydney’s economic strategy builds on current trends of developing innovation hubs. CCA has supported these, and is keen for the not-for-profit community education providers to have a formal involvement, complementing TAFE and the universities.

The NSW Business Chamber has made a sensible series of proposals, although none of them suggest any structural changes or approaches to delivering VET in New South Wales. CCA expresses concern about the NSW Business Chamber’s “support for a complementary private Registered Training Organisation (RTO) network” that complements TAFE, and no mention of the not-for-profit community providers. With one-third of all government-funded VET students in New South Wales, and just under 60% of all NSW VET students, surely private RTOs don’t need any more “support” for their activities: they have the majority of VET activity already.

Click here to view CCA’s full NSW election platform.

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