Campbelltown City is located at the hub of one of the most significant current and future growth areas in south-west Sydney, the Macarthur region.
Campbelltown has been a focus for metropolitan scale urban growth before, and the NSW Government has recognised the potential for a new phase of growth and development that has already started just recently, and which builds on the momentum that has been sustained over the last two to three years.
In the mid to late1970s, Campbelltown was declared by the Government as a metropolitan growth area. By the 1980s, it had expanded considerably due to a number of major developers recognising the potential of the city. Campbelltown became a booming western Sydney housing area, characterised by a lot of detached dwellings on quarter acre blocks. Companies like Lendlease and Landcom did extensive construction work and contributed significantly to the growth that was taking place.
Today, Campbelltown/Macarthur is the premier Regional City Centre in south-western Sydney, with an unbridled capacity to grow. From a population of 25,000 in 1966, more than 155,000 people now call Campbelltown home. Campbelltown is spread across 38 suburbs, making it one of the 10 largest local government areas in NSW. Campbelltown City Council has a forward-thinking approach and runs the city in an efficient manner with its 900 staff.
Jeff Lawrence, Council’s Director of Strategy, speaks about the reasons for the city’s expansion.
“Campbelltown, in a historic sense, is no stranger to growth. In the last two to three years, the city has been recognised as not just a destination for housing because it is close to Sydney, but as a place that has a number of attributes which make it really liveable.
“Those attributes strongly relate to accessibility – for example, we can get to the city within 48 minutes by train from here and the airport is 35 minutes away. You can also get to the CBD within 45 minutes on the M5.”
Educational, healthcare and recreational facilities
Campbelltown has a number of services and facilities which are a draw card for new residents. The Western Sydney University Campbelltown Campus is located in the Campbelltown/Macarthur CBD and a new School of Medicine has been established recently. Lendlease’s Macarthur Square regional shopping centre is undergoing a $240 million extension, which will make it the fifth largest shopping centre in NSW.
Campbelltown Public Hospital has also recently undergone a $160 million upgrade. It is a recognised teaching institution and has been selected to become a major paediatric hospital catering to the Sydney area. Construction has also begun on a new clinical school of medicine which will bring together expert medical teachers with state of the art training facilities as part of the hospital campus.
The Campbelltown Arts Centre is one of the leading cultural facilities in western Sydney. It includes gallery spaces, workshops, a performance studio, large amphitheatre and the Arts Centre Café. It is an important attraction and receives more than 70,000 visitors every year.
Campbelltown is surrounded by pristine, natural bush land and open spaces, including the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, which is the largest in Australia. It was established more than 25 years ago and has attracted more than 2.4 million visitors since then. The immediate vicinity of Campbelltown also has the Dharawal National Park, which is a 65 square kilometre expanse of natural beauty and is a major attraction for its walking and bike tracks, waterfalls and swimming spots.
Council is also working with the State Government and other stakeholders to make more of the opportunity that is presented by the Campbelltown Sports Stadium, which is a 20,000 seat facility. With its close proximity to the railway station, Council has proposed that the surrounding area is redeveloped over the next five to 10 years as a regional sporting, recreation and entertainment hub.
Council puts great importance on planning, building and maintaining the infrastructure that delivers growth and development, provides for enhanced liveability, and which drives enterprise and jobs growth. It is in the process of conducting an analysis and plan for traffic and transport management in the main Campbelltown/Macarthur Regional City CBD. This will enhance connectivity and accessibility and support development in the area.
Wayne Rylands, Council’s Director City Works, said Council is working hard to reduce the infrastructure backlog.
“Last year, we spent about $20 million doing some short-term catch-up and that is continuing into this financial year. We are also investing quite heavily in new infrastructure, with a $19 million upgrade of Eagle Vale Drive to a dual carriageway underway and about $2 to $3 million set aside for extending Beverley Road into the Campbelltown CBD.”
“In the following years, we propose to spend an extra $6.5 to $8 million per annum to reduce the backlog of infrastructure works. We anticipate that by 2025, we will not have any backlog. We also have plans to upgrade the Campbelltown Arts Centre. That’s a $30 million project which we are seeking assistance from the State Government for, which will turn the centre into an even greater flagship cultural venue for Greater Sydney.”
Council is currently working on open space planning to ensure that residents have access to innovative and well-maintained parks, reserves, sports fields and other areas, with a focus on accommodating a range of recreation and leisure experiences. Between $800,000 and $1 million, a year has been set aside to upgrade playgrounds and diversify the types of play spaces that are available for the community. This aspect of Council’s work is especially important as the population of Campbelltown is steadily expanding and the demand for active and passive leisure is increasing.
Industries and employment
Manufacturing is an important part of the local economy and is primarily based in Ingleburn and Minto. This sector continued to sustain itself through the global financial crisis and is currently moving towards a greater degree of specialisation and niche manufacturing.
Jeff Lawrence says, “The number of precision manufacturing businesses is increasing in Campbelltown. That will be a cornerstone of our future industrial base, but we are also seeing activity and market interest in health and education due to the location of Western Sydney University and both the Campbelltown Public and Private Hospitals. A lot of employment is anticipated to be generated in health and education, based on our city’s significant health and education assets.
“Along with Macarthur Square shopping centre, another large shopping facility is the Campbelltown Mall operated by the Perron Group who is based in Western Australia. They have been retailers in Campbelltown for many years and just recently, they have talked to us about future plans for their site. Retailing is a significant employer for us and we’re working closely with local businesses such as this to ensure sustainable future growth, as well as increase employment opportunities for our residents.”
Council considers the promotion of industries and business and collaboration between enterprises, an important economic development activity. In 2014, a survey of local Campbelltown businesses identified areas where Council could provide assistance to help them grow their business.
The survey found that businesses wanted someone at Council they could talk to about their needs and help them through government processes. This was especially true of small businesses.
In response, Council is developing the Campbelltown Small Business Development Program with one of the primary components being to appoint dedicated staff to work with small businesses, to help them with the development approval process, grow their business and provide local jobs for local people.
The goal is to provide an environment which supports sustainable economic growth, job creation and business opportunities.
Council’s strategy to appoint a small business advocate on its staff will go a long way in helping the growth of industry and business in the area. This is a unique initiative and has not been tried out by many other local councils.
Forging of strong relationships
A wave of redevelopment is taking place in Campbelltown’s existing urban areas while the development of green-field sites continues. All this activity will generate additional challenges for the area’s infrastructure, so Council is in regular discussions with the government, the business sector and the development sector to ensure these critical infrastructure needs are addressed.
Over the years, Council has established strong business relationships with several urban development firms. The relationship between Landcom and the Council goes back to the 1980s and this agency is responsible for large parts of Campbelltown, with Stockland and others also playing a major role in the more recent expansion of the city.
Council maintains strong ties with the two local Chambers – Campbelltown Chamber of Commerce and the Ingleburn Chamber of Commerce – and has developed strategic partnerships with key stakeholders to value-add to the city’s already existing infrastructure. The focus for these relationships is on economic growth and diversification, which respects the city’s environmental character and widens its offering of strategic community facilities.
A destination of choice
Campbelltown City Council has done commendable work over the decades and made the area one which has a host of facilities, infrastructure and attractions. But Council has a lot of work ahead of it as the population of the city is set to increase to a level of 300,000 people. Past experience shows that Council is in strong and capable hands and is very ably managed by its new General Manager, Lindy Deitz. It is also very clear about its goals, with Lindy bringing a renewed enthusiasm for establishing a clear strategic direction for the Council heading to 2036.
Jeff Lawrence said, “We want to position ourselves as a self-sustaining city where you can access high-level services, facilities and amenities within the Regional City Centre, rather than having to get on the M5 or the railway and go somewhere else.
We want to try and get people off the train, out of the car and keep them in Campbelltown to work, to shop, to access health and educational facilities, and to play. We want Campbelltown to be a major destination in its own right – and we think we’re on the right track to achieve that goal.”
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Campbelltown City Council
WHAT: Campbelltown offers a unique combination of city opportunities in a natural setting to its 150,000 residents.
WHERE: Campbell Town, NSW 2560