Fast rail could turn Sydney, Wollongong, Central Coast, Newcastle into 'mega region'

Could fast rail create new jobs and improve housing affordability in Greater Sydney? According to a new report by the Committee of Sydney, a fast rail network connecting greater Sydney, Wollongong, the Central Coast and Newcastle as a ‘mega region’ could create more than 10,000 new jobs and improve housing affordability.

The Committee for Sydney recently produced a blueprint for uniting Newcastle, the Central Coast, Sydney and Wollongong into an economic powerhouse of 10 million people. SGS contributed to the report, providing economic analysis on the potential impact on residential development, housing costs and local jobs.

Newcastle, the Central Coast, Sydney and Wollongong have the potential to be a mega-city but are currently hampered by poor rail connections states Terry Rawnsley, SGS National Leader of Economic & Social.

“Victoria has invested heavily over the past decade to link the regional cities of Bendigo Geelong and Ballarat with Greater Melbourne. This has produced a range of economic, housing and social benefits for Victoria. This experience, combined with international best-practice examples, highlights the benefits improved rail links between Newcastle, the Central Coast, Sydney and Wollongong can unlock,” said Rawnsley.

With improved rail access many people will be drawn to live in Newcastle, the Central Coast and Wollongong. By 2036, there could be an additional 10,000 dwellings in Wollongong, 9,000 in Gosford and 8,000 in Newcastle. Consequently, the median property price in Greater Sydney will decline.

“The demand for housing will spread and the median property price of Greater Sydney could be $40,500 less in 2036,” predicts Rawnsley.

While people would continue to work in Sydney, some new residents would switch to local jobs and help generate increased local economic activity. Businesses would also gain agglomeration benefits from the improved access to Sydney. By 2036, there could be an additional 4,725 local jobs in Wollongong, 3,875 in Gosford and 3,225 in Newcastle because of improved rail access to Sydney.

Click the image to download the report.