The NSW Government has announced a major new technology and innovation precinct that will stretch from the Central Station area, where the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is based, to the inner-city suburb of Eveleigh.
Atlassian, Australia’s largest technology company, along with other tech industry players will work with the state government to co-create the precinct, a launch event at UTS heard.
A NSW Government taskforce headed by Jobs for NSW chair David Thodey will lead design and development of the precinct and will include representatives from UTS, the University of Sydney, the Sydney Business Chamber and from Australian start-ups. Co-working space Fishburners and industry representative body Tech Sydney will also be an integral part of the project.
The precinct is expected to create 10,000 new jobs by 2036, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told guests.
“This will cement Sydney as the technology capital of Australia,” Ms Berejiklian said. “Central to Eveleigh is already home to Australia’s largest cluster of startup firms. We want to use that as a base to grow new jobs and new businesses.”
Atlassian Co-Founder and co-CEO Scott Farquhar, speaking at the launch, said every successful innovation hub in the world, from Silicon Valley to Tel Aviv, had a “centre of gravity”. “What we’ve been missing until today is a home … I think we finally have a home for technology in Sydney.”
Sydney had the potential to be of one of the world’s leading tech cities, Mr Farquhar added. It was close to the global growth coming from Asia, and technology was a “weightless” export that meant market proximity was no longer an advantage or disadvantage.
UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs said the next generation of ideas would come from people being in close proximity to each other in just this sort of precinct.
“One of the biggest impacts that universities can have in driving innovation is facilitating collaboration and providing opportunities for people to bump into one another,” Professor Brungs said. “That’s why we really do welcome today’s announcement and the Government’s commitment to establishing a technology and innovation precinct that will bring together tertiary institutions, technology firms, research institutions and government to drive technology and innovation.”
Universities had a huge role to play in innovation precincts around the world, he said. They did this through their physical assets – such as the new ProtoSpace at UTS, which hosted the precinct launch – and through their globally connected academics and, importantly, through their dynamic and innovative students.
UTS research had found that over 40 per cent of its students hoped to one day start their own business. UTS had registered 35 student startups in the few weeks since the recent launch of its UTS Startups program, led by Murray Hurps.
“The new precinct has the potential for at least 10,000 additional jobs by 2036 – UTS and students will be at the forefront of that job creation,” he said.
The UTS representative on the taskforce will be Professor Glenn Wightwick, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Innovation & Enterprise.
NSW Trade and Industry Minister Niall Blair said the announcement was not just about location but also about a shared vision for the growth of the NSW tech sector over the next 30 years. “We know that government can't do that alone and we need to work with the firms that are driving innovation today and those that will be delivering the opportunities of tomorrow.”
Read the NSW Government news release here.
Find out more about entrepreneurship and innovation at UTS here.