Council resolves that public funding of PBA will cease

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Following a recent independent review of a Deed of Agreement with the Penrith Business Alliance (PBA) Penrith Council has resolved that public funding of the Alliance will cease on June 30 2015.

The Deed of Agreement concluded on 30 November 2014 however it was extended to 30 June 2015 while the review was completed.

Mayor Ross Fowler OAM said the PBA's role in planning for Penrith's economic future had been significant, however, it had become clear that what's most needed is a substantial shift from planning into action, requiring capacity and expertise beyond the current model.

The PBA was constituted in 2009 as a Company Limited by Guarantee.  Mindful of the changing economic environment, Council included a review of the Deed of Agreement after five years to ensure an on-going contemporary approach to growing Penrith.

"The review gave us the opportunity to look at the bigger picture and take a fresh look at whether there are better ways to drive economic development, boost jobs and attract investment to our City," Councillor Fowler said.  "Council has decided to investigate and consider alternative models for the future".

One such model is Penrith Progression.

"Already Penrith Progression is providing a realistic vision and the ability to deliver smart growth for the future, focussing on the development of the Penrith City Centre. It has been a collaborative process, tapping into the minds of business, developers, government agencies, the community and a range of other experts.

"Penrith Progression is already seeing investment in city living, the development of a vibrant city centre with flow-on development happening throughout the City".

The Penrith Progression has identified sectors in which Penrith City can compete and create jobs: 

  • Lifestyle Health
  • Creative information, Digital Media and Telecommunications
  • Advanced Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction
  • Global Advanced Education
  • Advanced Logistics
  • Housing, Amenities, Lifestyle and Learning

Council has also formed a Property Advisory Panel to give direction and advice on Council's property portfolio to capitalise on future opportunities.

"The landscape has changed in recent years and this has also resulted in Penrith forming a strategic alliance with Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury councils to identify and attract future regional opportunities. We're also hearing from prospective developers who want to work directly with council on key projects." 

"I would like to acknowledge the work of the PBA and especially commend the Board who have been generous in giving their time and expertise," said Mayor Fowler.

Penrith Council has received advice from the PBA that it has capacity to meet all ongoing financial obligations.

Q & As

What is the PBA? When and why was it formed?

The PBA is a Company Limited by Guarantee, created in November 2009 with the signing of a five year Deed of Agreement with Penrith Council. The PBA was established following a review of options available to Council to deliver citywide economic development and employment services.

The PBA has received approximately $3.5Million over five years.

Why was a review conducted?

Council's 5 year Deed of Agreement with the PBA ended in November 2014. The deed was extended to June 30, 2015 while an independent review was conducted to consider its future role in the economic development of the city. The time was right to evaluate the functioning of the PBA.

How extensive was the review?

The independent review into the Deed of Agreement was conducted by The Professional Partner Group (TPPG).

The review considered whether the current arrangements achieved contemporary outcomes for Council and the City.

In undertaking this work, the consultants:

  1. Reviewed the PBA's activities and initiatives, including the business plans and annual reports to Council
  2. Conducted a brief written survey of a broad range of stakeholders on the key outcomes and issues facing PBA, undertaking a similar survey with the PBA Board of Directors
  3. Held a number of individual interviews with key stakeholders, PBA Board Directors, several Councillors, senior Council staff, and business partners.

Why do we need an economic development delivery model?

The recent Metropolitan Strategy has earmarked the Western Sydney Employment Area as a considerable contributor to jobs growth in Western Sydney. The economic challenges facing Penrith (to deliver homes and jobs for the future) makes strategic economic development essential to Penrith's future. More recent opportunities to grow jobs have also been coming into sharper focus for the city and these include:

  • The construction of the Western Sydney Airport
  • The delivery of the Penrith Lakes Scheme
  • The roll out of the NBN and the Digital Economy Strategy, and 
  • The Penrith Progression.

Information contained within this news release was correct as at Tuesday, 30 June 2015.