New South Wales

Sydney on the verge of joining top global cities: Committee for Sydney report

SYDNEY is growing closer to joining the top-tier of global cities, according to a new report from independent think tank, the Committee for Sydney, and written by global cities expert, Professor Greg Clark, which finds that Sydney is one of the leading global cities for financial services, air quality, openness for business and opportunities for students.

However, the study finds room for improvement on affordability for young professionals, transport and infrastructure and internet speed. In these areas, Sydney is towards the bottom when compared with other global cities.

North Sydney and Luna Park viewed from the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Above: North Sydney and Luna Park viewed from the Sydney Harbour Bridge / by Felix Dance.

The report, 'Joining the Top Table? Benchmarking Sydney's Performance 2017', analyses 33 global indices to asses Sydney's performance in 14 relevant indicators identifying areas where Sydney can leverage its success, and a limited number of areas for improvement. It is the second year that the Committee for Sydney has published the benchmarking report.

The 'top six' world cities have been established for a decade, with London, New York, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore recognised as the established world cities of the current cycle. The report argues that Sydney has now joined a second tier of 'leading contenders' with the assets and aspirations to join the global elite.

According to the report, the city has made incremental gains in many key areas that are necessary to make the next step, including:

  • Direct foreign investment;
  • Gateway functions;
  • Investment attractiveness;
  • Quality of talent pool; and
  • A core business and investment location in Asia-Pacific.

However, the report says that the unintended consequences of unmanaged growth for Sydney are now becoming starkly visible, as the data underpinning city indices catches up with current reality. Inflated costs, loss of liveability, and deficits in infrastructure, all now negatively affect Sydney's performance in multiple global measures.

Congestion, spatial imbalances, unaffordability and environmental strains all risk relegating Sydney from the group of cities associated with a high quality of life. Recent results provide an even clearer imperative for integrated planning, spatial development, and infrastructure investment across Greater Sydney.

Tim Williams, Chief Executive of the Committee for Sydney, described the results as important and illuminating. He said the results show a continued momentum towards Sydney being a serious candidate to achieve 'top table' status as a global city while also identifying some key challenges.

"As with the previous study, the evidence suggests that Sydney's transport offer – while improving and receiving significant new investment – is still a drag on its absolute and comparative performance," Mr Williams said.

"In addition, Sydney's affordability challenge as one of the world's more desirable locations for property investment has exacerbated over the last few years and this is being picked up in global surveys as well as being a prime focus of new policy and thinking by both the state and federal governments. The knock-on effect on Sydney's attractions for global talent is also reflected in this survey."

More information is available from the Committee for Sydney website at <>.

Photo: North Sydney and Luna Park viewed from the Sydney Harbour Bridge / Felix Dance / Licensed under Creative Commons BY 2.0.

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