This is the business hub of Sydney and North Sydney. Unless you have gone to private school, forget trying to do business here. You can get a very stable job here but it is hard to go out on your own due to cliques. You have to be really big to cover your overheads in this area too. Mainly US and UK companies seem to do business here. They can afford it! This area has many very large government departments, libraries, universities (UTS and University of Sydney), churches (Wesley Mission and St Barnabas Broadway which was burnt down on 10 May 2006, now meets at Moore College, near Sydney University and by June 2007 had made plans to rebuild the old wreck of a church building at Broadway with a new design by late 2009, construction in August 2010 and a 1000 strong congregation was opened in June 2012) and courts so if you need to figure something out or get a transaction done, go here. It's quicker but dearer. Also there is the high crime rate from Redfern next door if you live in the area so batten down the hatches! This is an incredibly congested area so take the train or bus, don't drive your car. Needless to say there are tons of Internet cafes and wireless hotspots here.
In August 2010, City of Sydney started rolling out Sydney Cycleways through the CBD and Ultimo. In January 2011, NSW Govt launched Bicycle Info NSW. In December 2013, NSW Cycling Strategy completes missing links mainly in Sydney CBD. Bikes move more people than cars in Peak Hour!
Most of the rich and famous live here - the upper middle class. They are very money-oriented and ruthless when it comes to price. They will put huge pressure on your cashflow by not paying on time and extorting by using feature creep to get free work done. They are asset rich but cash poor. They are very myopic and think they are the only good bit of Sydney, despising people from the Western Suburbs and trying to keep them under the thumb by leaving them in poverty - usual capitalist people.
Hornsby is a fringe area - most companies up here don't have enough capital to do larger jobs successfully but are trying to get bigger - 'eyes are bigger than their stomach'. They are always cutting corners and not investing in technology and broadband which cruels jobs in this area.
Lane Cove Tunnel and Military Road E-Ramp, operator of the Lane Cove Tunnel, went into administration in January 2010 after huge losses when only 50% of patronage eventuated. Rich people obviously prefer congestion over a toll. $1Bn was lost by investors.
M2 tollway via Macquarie Uni - Roam Express toll.
From 2014, WestConnex motorway will be completed by Infrastructure Australia and NSW Government.
This is part of Sydney Motorways - Roads and Maritime Services to create a ring of motorways and complete badly needed infrastructure in Western Sydney!! Good news!! They manage Brisbane's Gateway Bridge toll.
Macquarie University Hospital, Talavera Rd, Macquarie Park via North Ryde, using ehealth and cloud computing is being opened in mid-2010. (AFR 23.2.10) They will be a centre of brain surgery and an electronic hospital, a first of its kind!
This area has much more culture and fun things to do, but it is way more expensive to do business. This area has a high percentage of yuppies (under 25 year olds) so you may find it hard to get anywhere unless you have all the modern gadgets and meet in all the right cliques - very hard to break into. There are a ton of internal politics in this area due to all the upwardly mobile types clambering over each other to reach the top quickest. Waverley is very friendly whereas Randwick is very money conscious and cheaper than Bondi to live in and has UNSW next door. Also the Sydney Airport is very handy. Green Square is growing in the old Alexandria/Mascot industrial area with train to Central and close to the Sydney Airport too. Woollahra is the upper-crust. Inner West Council (Marrickville) is cheaper but again a high percentage of non-english speaking migrants live here so you will need good language skills to survive here. Ultimo is proving to be a good location for IT startups, just next to Darling Harbour and over the footbridge from the CBD or connected by frequent buses to the CBD from Newtown, Chippendale and Glebe. Central Station is the best train station for connecting to anywhere in Sydney or abroad. Glebe Point Road has the most Internet cafes. Newtown has very few. A local Internet cafe is: Jo Jo Internet, 249 Broadway, Ultimo 2007 just west of Broadway Shopping Centre before Glebe Point Rd.
In 2008, the City of Sydney Council has taken over Glebe from Leichhardt Council and has upgraded the foreshore park in Glebe Point and also is upgrading large parts of Glebe Point Rd, a very active, community oriented council! Clover Moore is a great Lord Mayor. The Valhalla Cinema is being converted into office studios upstairs and a restaurant downstairs after closing in 2005 (story in SMH).
Australian Technology Park a hitech incubator in old railway workshops at Eveleigh since 1991 is being sold off in 2015 by NSW Government. Some like Atlassian are trying to save it via a petition. ATP has been going 24 years. Universities and local businesses occupied bays in it. Seminars were held there. Research and development was done to commercialise products.
The problem areas are where there is a high proportion of low income and migrants scrambling to survive. Nearly all our problems have been with migrants, small businesses and hobbyists in the Western Suburbs of Sydney, Wollongong and the Central West and North Coast of NSW who are pretty sharp on finance and ripping us off. We have armed ourselves with intense information and protect our interests.
This area is like the Wild West - not for the faint hearted but there are opportunities if you hunt around and go to the right part of the city for your particular business. So do your research before being hoodwinked by wiley locals who will prey on your innocence of their outrageous ways. The better businesses out here tend to move to the Central Coast or Queensland before the rot sets in. There is a wealth of unskilled labourers out here and a growing number of college and university trained young folk from UWS.
We have had problems dealing with small businesses in Western Sydney. The businesses in this area always want to pay way less than the value of the service, tend to want to do bits of the project themselves to save money, meddle in areas in which they have no expertise, or draw out fixed price contracts so they optimise the amount they get for their money (mean), which ruins everything as nothing seems to work properly and both parties become ticked off with each other and part on a sour note - hick and backward. This has happened about 3 or 4 times over 5 years.
Western Sydney has been let run-down for 40 years. Inner Sydney continually ignores the growing needs of this area so transport is always shocking. Infrastructure is way behind and only since 2003 have major roadworks and new housing estates been setup to allow for growth in this area. The M7 tollway using eTags between Campbelltown, Liverpool, Blacktown and Parramatta opened in late 2005 has made an enormous difference to transport in the West and is making $2M/mth in sales showing what a vital bit of infrastructure can do to boost an area's economy. There is also a new Transport for NSW T-Way bus rapid transit system between Liverpool and Parramatta servicing the more inland suburbs away from the train route including Wetherill Park, a big industrial estate, 30 mins by T-Way Bus from Parramatta, due south of Blacktown and Prospect Reservoir. All the bus stops are high-tech with bus arrival times and interactive information kiosks and buses run every 10 minutes so they are easy to catch, a long overdue improvement to transport options in this rapidly expanding corridor with 1000s of new homes being built in the Liverpool and Fairfield area west of the older areas. There is also a T-Way from Parramatta to Rouse Hill (via Norwest Business Park: Meurants stop) on route T65, Hills Bus.
This area is heavily populated south of the Great Western Highway with non-english speaking migrants which drives down prices but tends to splinter the community into many areas. The arts tended to be the only cohesive force when I was working with the Holroyd Arts Advisory Committee (now Cumberland Council (merger of Parramatta, Holroyd and Auburn in 2016) as a musician representative to setup community concerts in the Council chambers and a jazz concert in Holroyd Gardens amphitheatre, commission local sculptures in Holroyd Gardens, murals and street art which is now proving fruitful in expanding the scope of working with all these minority groups and making working in the area much more enjoyable. The new cinemas at Merrylands were demolished in 2007 due to low use and K-Mart took over the space just showing you no matter now much money you spend, some areas will not take up the arts very much and are very individualistic and insular.
The white sector north of the Great Western Highway tend to be professionals and very insular. However the Hillsong Church in Castle Hill has opened a new chapter where the North-West is growing and planting seeds for the future of the city that are not all about money but spiritual values. They got one of their members, Louise Marcus MP (Liberal Party), to stand for Federal Seat of Macquarie (Blue Mountains) and got in! My electorate Calare borders Macquarie.
Hills Shire Council is a growth area - high income, high worth people and businesses - see Hills Shire economic profile. The strongest industry is construction. Economy is $8Bn in 2011 up from $5Bn in 2006, a 32% increase! See Sydney Hills Business. I visited here for a URemote (iRule) training day in Feburary 2012 catching T60 from Westmead to Castle Hill TAFE area then back to Parramatta. Victoria Ave Castle Hill has a huge home maker centre. ResMed is nearby in Bella Vista (6km). Buses from Castle Hill to Bella Vista are poor - 3 buses to travel 6km in 1 hour. T65 from Westmead/Parramatta direct is quicker. The traffic in Castle Hill is very congested! A new railway is being built from Parramatta to Castle Hill area due in 2020 or so. IT industry and professional/scientific/technical people are 15% to 20% of workers and add value of $194,000 per worker! Hills News and Hills Shire Times are local papers. In 1998, when I lived in Merrylands I did a network contract via my business WWWalker Web Development Pty Ltd for a home-based medical ISP in Pennant Hills. IBM is based in West Pennant Hills.
Penrith is a real hub of activity. There are many small businesses eager to use the Internet. I had most of my better customers from Penrith. Penrith Valley BEC (Business Enterprise Centre) ran a speed-dating event at Rose Hill Racecourse in 2004 which I attended. Nothing came of it but I still get mail from several participants. I think Internet development is too expensive for most small enterprises.
New City of Parramatta (2016) is always behind Cumberland (ex Holroyd) in innovation except with its ParraConnect venture starting in June 2010. Holroyd is heavily blue collar with limited funds but it has much more innovation than bigger Parramtta with all the money and white-collar constituency! So Holroyd would dream things up and with Parramatta's money it would be instigated. There are some myths that white-collar are paid more. Actually blue-collar are paid more and they have more cash. White-collar are paid less and have more debt as they tend to buy way out of their reach and force all their suppliers to carry their debt by delaying payment or doing grandiose projects that they have no real business plan for. Hence, do business with blue-collar. They are not as flashy but they pay on time and don't haggle like white-collar who are up to their eyeballs in debt with the family home, car, equipment, holidays, gadding about, school fees, etc. If a blue-collar person has a car, though it's old, he owns it. A white-collar person never owns anything. Everything is on credit. Parramatta is now building a $1.4 Bn civic place near the new rail interchange, a quite glamorous piece of public architecture a bit like Railway Square in the CBD, and next to the current council chambers and library. David Borger, past Lord Mayor of Parramtta, now State Member for Granville, seems to be pushing ahead with modernising Parramatta to make it the centre of Western Sydney. Mr Borger is doing very well in his career! He has a lot of fervour for advancing the less advantaged areas of Sydney.
In 15/7/12, David Borger took leading role in building up Western Sydney business community via the NSW Chamber of Commerce. This was with the support of the Premier, Barry O'Farrell, despite Mr Borger being an ex ALP Minister for Housing. Bipartisanship helps Western Sydney grow - good ideas of Labor and capital of business!
In 10 June 2010, old Parramatta City Council with CivicTEC is launching ParraConnect with Senator Stephen Conroy at Riverside Theatre (launch details). ParraConnect is an ICT venture of enabling community via internet and computer technology. The Federal Government is involved via NBNCo (manager of the National Broadband Network) rollout of fibre to 90% of homes. WWWalker Web Development Pty Ltd registered an Expression of Interest in ParraConnect via Western Sydney IT Cluster (WSITC) (business community group now) planning the wifi hotspot rollout and developing mobile traffic management applications for motorists on their smartphones. Other applications include ehealth, rates, roadworks and rubbish collection via ICT enablement. Parramatta will be a model city in Australia for using ICT for the benefit of citizens. In February 2012, this mobile phone app for parking meters and location based services for restaurants went to the winner of a State Government Collaborative Solutions Program which drove us to leave WSITC and remove our expression of interest in Parramatta City Council digital projects because they are biased to savvy business operators which we cannot compete with.
Blacktown BEC, aka Basi, was better than the Parramatta BEC because it was more hands on and got you actual leads whereas Parramatta people just milled round and never did anything! Parramatta BEC though has an excellent library and space for a virtual office (you share a receptionist and rent a little room for a bargain amount). Parramatta also has better public transport than Baulkham Hills which requires a car.
In North Parramatta is based the NSW Dept of State and Regional Development and Austrade. They hold many free seminars for small business in the area and often have CBD get-togethers to get people interested in attending an overseas trade mission to USA or Southeast Asia etc - bit over my head but good if you are manufacturer. I just use the Internet and phone for most of my offshore work. SRD runs Small Business Month every September across NSW.
Sydney Metro NorthWest railway will have 4km skytrain and be opened in 2020/21.
In 18 May 2012, Greg Pearce MP, NSW Minister for Finance and Services and Minister for the Illawarra (Liberal Pary) announced NSW Government ICT Strategy 2016 including data centres for Western Sydney at Silverwater and in the Illawarra at Unanderra. Greg won his seat off ALP at the last State Election. (PDF of Strategy 24MB) It covers open government, open data, cloud computing and citizen focused with better information management and a Government CIO to stop redundancy and duplication and is well overdue and is catching up to Canberra's much better ICT strategy that has been going 2 or 3 years now.
I met Commissioner in Orange in 2012. She is a go-getter at removing obstacles to running small businesses in NSW. She is pretty common-sense, no quick fixes. She setup a bus that takes business consultants all over NSW in 2012.
Areas we have had problems in:
OK areas are:
Business is very slow in the country and they want rock-bottom prices (similar to Queensland). Only upside is low overheads. They are very parochial and will not trust you unless you have been there a long time. Orange is very conservative, misses tons of opportunities to do business, is very corrupt and resists technology. Bathurst though lower-income is more adventurous with technology and giving it a go! This is the usual white-collar/blue-collar divide in Australia. White collar does nothing and has all the money. Blue collar has little money but gives new technology a go. Why don't blue collar learn how to run a business and carve out a niche and give the white collar a run for their money? It is not rocket science! Count your pennies and invest wisely, like the parable of the talents so when the Lord returns he will find growing areas in his vineyard not buried money in the backyard! (Matthew 25:14-30) "Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest." (Matthew 25:27)
Country businesses generally require a site visit to get the job done due to slowness of replying to emails or difficulties with ringing them to get an answer. Country businesses always put jobs back months and months in their favour so a lot of pressure is required to get jobs going or just give up and find another customer in another city or on the Web. The latest has been writing off unpaid work as it would take 9 mths at $25/fortnight to pay us off and would cost us 10 times more to collect than it was worth. Country areas are starting to be a liability. Only businesses outside the Central West that move here are any good as they are positive and give it a go and invest something not just wait for someone else like the government to do everything for them all the time like the vast majority seem to do out here. In 2008, a retiring councillor said Molong was relying on government handouts too much instead of giving it a go! I suggested they insert microfiltration plant to tackle poor water quality. When I was out in Orange, I used to write to the Central Western Daily and raise such things as improving water quality using modern technology such as carbon-filtering. Lots of these little towns are badly ignored and just need some basic technology installed to make life better for their area. A similar town was Cowra which had a bad run when the abattoir closed down but later was rejuvenated when it reopened with new owners and many of the sacked workers got new jobs (Cowra Guardian letter to the editor by Dwight Walker).
Orange has 3 internet cafes: Orange Ex Services Club, Piccadilly and Cartridge World. The library also has free wifi for laptops and 2 PCs which are usually booked out. Fusion Australia, next to the Uniting Church, nr Anson and Summer Sts, has 2 PCs but their office is only opened 2 or 3 days per week.
The Greater Western Area Health Service of NSW (GWAHS) which covers 2/3 of the state, had a $60M backlog in paying of bills (Daily Telegraph, 9/3/09) and has only just caught up in March 2009 using 2009/10 budget. This will open opportunities for greater efficiency and better management of the NSW Health Dept using wireless technology to increase productivity.
Wollongong Council has been found to be corrupt by ICAC who has recommended that the Wollongong Council be sacked. Many of the councillors are Italians or Arabics. (Illawarra Mercury 3/3/08). Wollongong has many occupants that are very corrupt, many being migrants after a slick dollar.
Wollongong companies tend to be slack and take as long as physically possible to pay their debts e.g. 3 mths. Be a bank so they can't just wait and wait till you give up. Charge them a late fee.
The younger generation under 30 seems to be incredibly slack at paying their debts but have very high demands on what they want - a hopeless combination where the assets do not match the requirements - beware! See story. In April 2008, administrators slash budget in Wollongong to reduce deficit of $15M to $4.4M in 1 year. Permission for redevelopment of decrepit pavilion at North Wollongong by corrupt businessman Frank Vellar will be axed by Wollongong City Council. It shows Wollongong is starting to tackle their endemic corruption problems! (Latest article re ICAC investigation into Wollongong Council finding a large proportion of councillors corrupt: Telegraph 9 Oct 2008)
In May 2008, on a business trip we were impressed by how Wollongong is a hi-tech city with plenty of variety and energy. There was a billboard in the shopping mall that sent movie trailers to mobile phones with Bluetooth switched on. There was a wide range of shops and very cheap internet cafes. The YHA we stayed at had its own internet vending machine where people could top up their account. Apparently there was wireless internet in all rooms for laptop users. The speed was very slow so we found another much faster internet cafe in Crown St Mall called Network Cafe at 157 Crown St upstairs - only $3.50/hr!
In December 2011, Italy had € 1.963T debt (AFR 12/12/11), the worst in the EU by 5 to 10 times of other countries. This shows their profligate lifestyle and government as shown in the bad experiences with the Italian bad debtor from Wollongong in 2007. Italians can't be trusted with money as they run up huge debts which they cannot pay off and expect everyone else to bail them out.
I went to this once near Kiama and it was very good! It is now at Bulli NSW.