A solution to Penrith’s local job shortage may be in sight with the announcement of the $613 million Nepean Business Park project. Set to create a combined 18,450 direct and indirect jobs just two kilometres from the Penrith CBD, the precinct sounds almost too good to be true for the 56.4 per cent of residents who currently travel out of area for work. Nepean Business Park is set to be deliv- ered on the 47-hectare former quarry adjacent to the Penrith Lakes Scheme. The Penrith Lakes Development Corporation sold the land to the business behind the project, Precinct Capital, for $19.25 million.
With a current ratio of only 68 jobs per 100 residents locally, Minister for Jobs, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres said the new precinct and similar projects aim to significantly improve these figures. “The Greater Sydney Commission plan is about creating more jobs closer to where people live, to do that we’ve got to invest in the enabling infrastructures,” he said.
“We’d love to say there’s more jobs available than locals, that means people actually coming in to Penrith to work, that’s the long-term objective with invest- ments in Western Sydney Airport and the Aerotropolis.”
At an official launch event last Friday, Mayor Ross Fowler congratulated Precinct Capital on its investment in the area. “Not only will this proposal create more local jobs, it will enhance the river precinct by extending the Great River Walk, which is good news for our community,” he said. “Jobs close to home which, in turn, creates a balanced lifestyle with time to be more active and enjoy nature is a key element of a liveable city.”
Precinct Capital Chairman, Bruce Baudinet, said there was a major shortage of suitable employment land, and that Penrith “has a remarkable opportunity to act now to help local small business win out on the benefits provided by the infrastructure development boom in the western Sydney region.”
“Our vision is to create a park for small business operations to keep jobs locally- based,” he said.“We also have a strong environmental focus and will be gifting land to the community and constructing a path at our own cost to continue a vital link in the Great River Walk.”
Rehabilitation of the former quarry should begin early next year, with construction of business premises to commence in two years’ time.
This article originally appeared in The Western Weekender