28 October 2015
(Questions Without Notice, 28 October 2015, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)
My question is directed to the Premier. Given the Premier's comments about the Bays Precinct becoming a tech hub or silicone harbour, will he ensure the site provides affordable commercial space for Australian-based start-ups?
Response from the Premier:
That is how to ask a sensible question on a sensible issue. I wish that other members would pay attention.
I acknowledge in the public gallery the many students, indeed some of the future leaders in my electorate. It is great to be talking about the future with our future leaders. Our future leaders understand the importance of the digital economy. They do not see it as a threat but as a great opportunity. Statistics show that the digital economy will grow from just over the current 5 per cent to 22 per cent by 2040. New South Wales will be participating in the digital economy and we are determined to lead not only this nation and the Asia-Pacific but also the world. The digital economy will grow seven times more than the rest of the economy, which is very significant. If we want our future jobs to be central to this economy, obviously we have to participate in the digital economy.
Around the world people are competing for these jobs. The leading precinct of Roosevelt Island in New York is creating future skills and capabilities in order to participate in the digital economy. I also refer to Tech City in London and the Startup City in Berlin. The world is after the best minds, including from Australia. We can say to the world that not only are we paying attention but we will be participating and leading, so the best minds may as well come here. That is what we are about in New South Wales. The Bays Precinct power station site is a place where we want a digital future. The formal process will start next week and we are providing opportunities for the best companies in the world to come and participate. This project will provide a great opportunity for this city.
This Government wants to build on the State's current capabilities. The information technology sector already is significant, with close to 45 per cent of the leading Australian information technology companies headquartered here. We want to build on that by connecting the Bays Precinct with an innovation and technology campus. There are great opportunities for start-ups in this process. Our technology park will facilitate and play a role in the digital economy. All of that collectively provides an opportunity for this city to be a key participant in the digital economy. While we look to the future, it is advisable not to look backwards. I thought the Opposition would embrace this process but, unfortunately, it has not. The Leader of the Opposition said, "I think we should look at the feasibility of the Rozelle metro." We all understand the problems with that project. I will not tell the Leader of the Opposition how to do his job but I certainly would not talk about the Rozelle Metro.
This Government is determined to make sure that we have the appropriate transport at the right time to ensure that the Bays Precinct succeeds and thrives. The member for Sydney gets it. He understands the importance of the digital economy and the Bays Precinct is a part of it. He is challenging the Government to do this in the best possible way, which is entirely appropriate for a member to do. I thank him for his support and I assure him that we will do everything possible to make sure Sydney and New South Wales is leading the digital economy, because our future generations depend on the decisions we make today. We will do everything we can to ensure that Sydney leads the digital economy. The power station site at the Bays Precinct is an important part of that. I again thank the member for his question.