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Supporting growth of targeted industry sectors

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Planning Priority N13

A Metropolis of Three Cities highlights the importance and role of the NSW Government in leading the development and coordination of sector-specific industry development strategies to grow and globally position key sectors of the economy.

These sectors are important in fostering innovation in the development of highly skilled jobs which drive productivity and global competitiveness.

The strategies build on and leverage existing industry and government activities and plans, and focus on delivering high-impact practical initiatives to drive sector growth through industry, academia and government collaboration.

A Metropolis of Three Cities outlines the strategies to support industry sectors. They cover the areas of:

  • industry skills and capacity building
  • investment attraction
  • export growth and facilitation
  • industry showcasing and promotion
  • opportunities through government procurement
  • government and industry partnerships.

To support these strategies, Objective 24 of A Metropolis of Three Cities emphasises the need to work with internationally competitive trade sectors to identify the barriers to growth, including regulatory barriers.

The North District also includes part of the Metropolitan Rural Area, where agricultural processing and export is a key economic sector.

This Planning Priority reinforces the need to:

  • support the growth of internationally competitive industry sectors
  • respond to changing technologies
  • plan for tourism and visitation activities
  • protect and support rural industries.


The tourism and visitor economy contributes significantly to the District's economy supporting jobs and businesses. Approximately 1.8 million visitors stayed overnight in the North District in 2015-16, 82 per cent of whom were domestic visitors. Visitors spend $2.56 billion each year on accommodation, hospitality, entertainment and leisure.

The North District has a high rate of overnight visitors and expenditure, second only to the Eastern City District. The tourism and the visitor economy provides a significant contribution to productivity in the District, supporting jobs and businesses23.

Attractions include:

  • world-class locations on the north shore of Sydney Harbour including Luna Park, and Taronga Zoo, and views to the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge
  • stunning beaches and national parks such as Palm Beach, Lane Cove National Park, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Marramarra National Park, Berowra Valley National Park, Garigal National Park, the Great North Walk and the Hawkesbury River
  • parkland destinations such as Bradfield Park, Clifton Gardens and Fagan Park
  • retail centres such as Chatswood and Macquarie Centre
  • significant historic sites such as the Quarantine Station at Manly and Barrenjoey Head.
A photograph of overlooking the ferry terminal at Manly.


Weekend and night markets, events and festivals (such as food and wine shows, Vivid in Chatswood, Manly Jazz Festival, Northern Beaches Music Festival, Narrabeen Lakes Festival and Granny Smith Festival) attract visitors, promote the District's lively centres, and contribute to the local economy. Centres such as Manly, Chatswood Kirribilli, Crows Nest and Dee Why also provide popular night-time destinations.

Manly also benefits from its ferry connections to the Sydney CBD. The walk and cycleway from Palm Beach to Manly will provide further tourism opportunities.

Improving public transport will give tourists and visitors access to significant natural, cultural and commercial tourist assets. Walking and cycling trails could expand tourism to destinations such as Manly, Palm Beach, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Lane Cove River and National Park, Middle Harbour and Pittwater.

Encouraging tourism in natural areas should not be at the expense of the environment. Tourism must be culturally appropriate and respect the District's Aboriginal and European heritage.

A comprehensive tourism strategy for the District could identify local, national and international tourism markets, and the infrastructure needed to support economic growth, including improved public transport services, and walking and cycling routes, to facilitate accessibility in key tourist corridors and to significant destinations.

Rural industries

Rural industries in the North District include a multi-use horticulture cluster, growing vegetables and fruit around Middle Dural, Galston and Arcadia. This cluster extends into The Hills Shire in the Central City District. Other rural uses such as nurseries and the equine industry feature in the corridor between Duffys Forest and Ingleside.

Nurseries - both outdoor and undercover - are the most economically productive form of agriculture in the North District, while cut-flower and stone fruit production are the other main agricultural activities. These industries are to be supported and protected throughout the District.

A photograph of Blackmore's head office at Warriewood.


Adapting to changing technologies

Rapid technological changes and digital advancements are disrupting established business models and the workplace worldwide. These are dramatically changing the way people and goods move around, providing more efficient transport services. While technological changes can reduce demand for certain types of jobs, they also help to deliver innovation, new knowledge-intensive jobs and business opportunities. Business and governments must continually engage with industry, assess regulatory barriers and manage data to update governance and policies to capitalise on changes.

The NSW Government has invested $18 million in the Boosting Business Innovation Program, giving small businesses access to research organisations to build strong local business communities and stimulate economic growth in metropolitan and regional NSW.

The Program is boosting:

  • a networked innovation ecosystem across NSW
  • additional external funding
  • small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) which want to scale up and innovate
  • the regional start-up sector and creating innovation clusters across the state
  • access to high-tech equipment and technical expertise research for SMEs and start-ups through TechVouchers. 

In the North District, delivery partners include the Australian Catholic University, Macquarie University and CSIRO Lindfield. The Program will allow SMEs to connect with skills and research expertise to create a better, more collaborative, innovative future for the NSW economy:

  • Australian Catholic University - ACU Collaborate Plus is establishing multidisciplinary collaborative spaces in North Sydney to facilitate sustainable partnerships with organisations.
  • Macquarie University - the University is establishing co-working space providing access to expertise and technical equipment and undertaking other initiatives.
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) at Lindfield - CSIRO is offering collaborative work spaces at CSIRO's high-tech lab, providing access to digital and analogue electronics, prototyping, general laboratory equipment and workshop tools, and various other initiatives.

Embracing opportunities to expand start-up and digital innovation can allow more people to work closer to home. Small businesses can be supported by providing infrastructure including smart work hubs and meeting spaces across the District. There are already smart hub business providers located in North Sydney.


Consider the barriers to the growth of internationally competitive trade sectors including engaging with industry and assessing regulatory barriers.

Councils and other planning authorities


When preparing plans for tourism and visitation, consider:

a. encouraging the development of a range of well-designed and located facilities.
b. enhancing the amenity, vibrancy and safety of centres and township precincts
c. supporting the development of places for artistic and cultural activities.
d. improving public facilities and access
e. protecting heritage and biodiversity to enhance cultural and eco-tourism
f. supporting appropriate growth of the night-time economy
g. developing industry skills critical to growing the visitor economy.
h. incorporating transport planning to serve the transport access needs of tourists.

Councils and other planning authorities


Protect and support agricultural production and mineral resources (in particular, construction materials) by preventing inappropriately dispersed urban activities in rural areas.

Councils and other planning authorities


Provide a regulatory environment that enables economic opportunities created by changing technologies.

Councils and other planning authorities and State agencies


Consider opportunities to implement place-based initiatives to attract more visitors, improve visitor experiences and ensure connections to transport at key tourist attractions.

Councils and other planning authorities and State agencies


Consider opportunities to enhance the tourist and visitor economy in the District, including a coordinated approach to tourism activities, events and accommodation. 

Councils and other planning authorities and State agencies