Western Sydney University Leads Landmark COVID-19 Impact Research Project
Written by Elliot Nash on 29 October 2020
As Melbourne exits lockdown, Western Sydney embarks on a landmark research project examining the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 across Sydney’s west and northwest.
Dubbed the ‘Future Directions’ project, researchers from Western Sydney University (WSU) will investigate the socio-economic impact on local government areas, including Blacktown City Council, Cumberland City Council, The Hills Shire Council, and the City of Parramatta Council.
Labeled keystones of the local communities, Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale OAM said, “there is strong evidence that damage caused by the pandemic will ripple through the national and state economies and have its greatest impact at the local level.”
“In Blacktown, we estimate the pandemic will cost Council more than $24 million in the 18 months to October 2021. The councils in Sydney’s Central City district need research-based planning to steer their communities through a post- COVID-19 environment.”
To combat this, 8 socio-economic ‘influencers’ of the district’s economy will be examined over the next ten years. Seeking to determine the short and long term effects of government pandemic response on local economies and councils, the Westpac study focuses on the following topics: future policy and regulatory direction of NSW and Australian governments, future levels of immigration, household and business debt levels, employment impacts and patterns, housing demand affordability, people movement, visitors to the region, and remote working and the demand for commercial office space.
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Following on from the release of their global snapshot of COVID-19 response, WSU will again examine the pandemic’s impact, with a key focus on NSW. In June, Associate Professor Georgeou said, “some of the broader trends relate to the idea of community resilience and the role people played in supporting and protecting each other.
“From testing and isolation, through to economic stimulus and education, there are many lessons to be learnt.”
Backed by all those participating, the Hills Shire Mayor, Dr. Michelle Byrne, said she was proud to support this landmark research project, alongside Cumberland City Mayor, Steve Christou who is looking forward to “implementing the research so that we are best equipped to deliver programs which will benefit the businesses and residents of the area.”
“The Central City district is very important economically to NSW, and we’ll be the fastest growing district over the next 20 years. We will respond decisively and innovatively together to achieve the desired socio-economic outcomes for our region.”
With the City of Parramatta already supporting its community through a wide range of initiatives, grants and programs, including a $3 million COVID-19 Community Resilience and Economic Relief Package, Lord Mayor, Bob Dwyer, reaffirmed the Council’s commitment to its residents.
“While the impact of COVID-19 has hit us hard, City of Parramatta Council remains committed to helping our great City, and the rest of the Central City district, emerge from this pandemic stronger and more resilient than ever,” said Cr Dwyer.
Research is expected to be completed and delivered by February 2021, with the Australian Catholic University, as Blacktown City Council’s strategic partner, providing peer review and research oversight for the project.
The future impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on 4 council areas in Sydney will be examined in a landmark research project being undertaken by Western Sydney University. The ‘Future Directions’ project examines the socio-economic impact on the councils that make up Sydney’s Central City District – Blac…