Council has a long history of involvement in local and regional economic development, with the City’s economy a key platform in its Strategic Plan and Delivery Program.
Around 40 years ago, there were jobs within the City’s boundaries for 86% of our resident workers. The large housing estates that were established during the 1980s and 1990s, without matching employment opportunities, meant that more and more people had to leave the City every day for work. By 2001, only 60.8% of our workers could find a job locally.
These days, nearly 53,000 of the City’s labour force continue to work outside the City. Around 63% of those travelling beyond the City manage to find work within the Greater Western Sydney region. This at least reduces their travel, so that they can spend more time with their families and in their local communities. As well as bringing social and community benefits, reducing the time that we spend travelling to work usually means that we drive our cars less. This helps with our household budgets, and reduces our impact on the environment. We also know that we must do more to improve the diversity and quality of job opportunities in the region because many of our current jobs will not be needed in the future.
To help bring more jobs into the City, and our region, the Penrith Valley Economic Development Corporation (PVEDC, now the PBA) was established and funded by Council. The Corporation is charged with a vital community service – stimulating economic activity and creating jobs in Penrith. The organisation will encourage major employment generating initiatives and promote Penrith’s Regional City role, as articulated in the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy and Council’s Strategic Plan.
I am very pleased to support the establishment of the ‘new’ Penrith Business Alliance, and look forward to seeing the contributions of this key organisation to the development of our City in the years to come.