Light Rail to unlock the potential of Sydney’s ‘Olympic Corridor’

A new report examining a light rail route along the 'Olympic Corridor' has encouraged the private sector and government to work together to deliver a precinct that will support more homes and jobs than the Barangaroo, Bays Precinct, Central to Eveleigh and Green Square projects combined.

The report by Deloitte and respected urban planner, Rod Simpson, Restarting Sydney’s Heart – Light Rail the Engine of Change examines the opportunities and issues that a light rail line along Sydney’s Olympic Corridor would deliver. The Olympic Corridor begins at Westmead and connects the Greater Parramatta area with Rosehill, Camellia, Olympic Park, Rhodes and Strathfield.

The report was commissioned by the WestLine Partnership, comprising of some of Sydney’s leaders in business, government, sport and development, and has been released as the NSW Government considers four proposed light rail options as part of Stage 1 of the Western Sydney Light Rail Network.

WestLine spokesperson and Chair of the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, Christopher Brown AM, said that the Deloitte report indicated that the creation of two light rail lines – one from Rosehill to Carlingford and the other from Westmead to Strathfield/Rhodes along the Olympic Corridor, was not only cost-effective, but would also unlock the potential of one of Australia’s fastest growing regions.

“The report findings show that there is a strong argument for the route along the Olympic Corridor, which will stimulate the growth of more smart jobs, homes and development,” he said.

“This is not a case of one or the other, we feel that the people of Western Sydney deserve both this line and the other line to Carlingford. This report not only reaffirms that view, but also reveals that it could potentially be self-funded by the private sector.

“Essentially, this is a two-for-one deal for the NSW Government. A deal which would add thousands of jobs and homes, and provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to totally re-think Sydney.”

Under the proposal outlined in the Deloitte report, the light rail line along the Olympic Corridor could be funded through a voluntary contribution model for the private sector. This involves land owners who elect to take up density uplift incentives along the light rail route putting up money for the project.

It is a similar approach to the one successfully adopted to fund the recent Homebush Bay Bridge development between Rhodes and Wentworth Point.

“The Olympic Corridor is an often overlooked region when it comes to transport infrastructure, but over the next 20 years, with the right support, it is expected to house more than one third of all new jobs and almost 20 per cent of new dwellings,” Mr Brown said.

“For this, and many other factors outlined in the report, it can no longer be ignored.”

The Deloitte report highlights that by 2036 more than 190,000 people are expected to be living in the Olympic Corridor, putting significant pressure on the existing transport network.

It highlights that renewal and revitalisation of the Olympic Corridor catalysed by a light rail link provides the opportunity to connect established knowledge, business, health, recreation and cultural precincts in Parramatta, Strathfield and Sydney Olympic Park. At the same time, creating new housing and employment, attracting new businesses and investment and improving urban productivity.

Mr Brown added that the WestLine Partnership had held positive talks with the NSW Government, NSW Opposition and other key stakeholders over the past three months and would continue to engage with these groups and the broader community to research the opportunities and issues that exist along the Olympic Corridor.

Key findings:

Restarting Sydney’s Heart –Light Rail the Engine of Change

What a light rail line along the Olympic Corridor will deliver:

– More potential jobs and new dwellings than the Barangaroo, Bays Precinct, Green Square and Central to Eveleigh projects combined.

– Through private sector support, the potential for two Western Sydney Light Rail lines to be built for one cost.

– Conservative estimate of $1.1b in project funding for light rail and remediation via voluntary developer levies through the precinct

– Almost 20% of required infill and a third of all new jobs in Western Sydney by 2036.

– The capacity to move 5000 passengers per hour in both directions through the Corridor. The equivalent to 40 light rail services in place of 200 buses.

– Possible relocation of the Sydney Produce Markets at Flemington to a new home at Badgerys Creek to boost outer Western Sydney employment, reduce Parramatta Road congestion and free up the 42 hectare site for residential development

– Halve the current travel time between Parramatta and Sydney Olympic Park.

– Significant and sustainable ‘smart jobs of the future’ to Western Sydney and attract global investment to the region.

WestLine Partnership Members: ANZ Stadium, Australian Turf Club, Billbergia, Dexus, Goodman Group, GPT Group, NRMA, Payce Consolidated, Accor, Royal Agricultural Society of NSW, Sekisui House, Sydney Olympic Park Authority, Sydney Olympic Park Business Association, Sydney Business Chamber, City of Canada Bay, Auburn City Council.

Supporters: AECOM, GJS, FDC, University of Western Sydney, Graf International, McCollough Robertson

Download the Deloitte report (8.5 MB)

Download the Westline report (4 MB)