Western Sydney is booming, thriving on population-driven industries and boasting the third largest economy in Australia.
But COVID has hit hard and exposed the area’s weakness – the labour market. With heavy reliance on construction, retail and hospitality, thousands of jobs have disappeared, and unemployment levels in some pockets are now expected to reach double the national rates.
Despite this, Greater Western Sydney maintains a strong identity, with community links strengthened by the pandemic and many businesses adapting in ways never imagined. But what of the immediate future with thousands reliant on Centrelink through to Christmas and beyond?
Government departments, industry and the arts are moving their headquarters west and there’s a new airport on the way. Will this be enough to create jobs for the future?
It’s a scenario faced by outer suburbs in all Australian cities, where population booms but infrastructure lags. COVID has hit Australia’s poorest the hardest, and young people are struggling to find work in the coronavirus recession. Yet Labor struggles to hold onto its grassroots heartland in these areas, and the NSW Liberal party faces questions over secret land deals and thwarted plans for a light rail extension. Who has the answers for areas like these so crucial to our national COVID recovery?
Joining Hamish on the panel:
Matt Kean, NSW Minister for Energy and Environment
Richard Marles, Deputy Opposition Leader
Dai Le, Fairfield City Councillor
Amani Haydar, Artist, lawyer and writer
Amanda Rose, Founding Director of Western Sydney Women
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