Sydney at 5 million and the growth of The Hills Shire

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sydney has now officially hit a new population milestone of 5 million, and almost half of the population (2.2 million) reside in the 14 local government areas that make up Western Sydney of which The Hills is one.

If Western Sydney was a city in its own right, it would be the 4th largest city in Australia after Melbourne, the rest of Sydney, and Brisbane. While Western Sydney is just slightly smaller than Brisbane’s population of 2.3 million, it is growing 30% faster than Brisbane.

The population of The Hills is greater than the population of Darwin, and the two local government areas of Blacktown and The Hills have a combined population almost the same size as the entire state of Tasmania. This growth is evident in the increasing development seen around the Hills. The increasing urbanisation has raised the density of The Hills to 4.15 people per hectare, above Hornsby Shire’s 3.69 and well above Hawkesbury’s 0.24.

What differs the hills to the rest of Sydney?

The Hills Shire is now almost 10% larger than that recorded in the 2011 Census. Not only is the Hills population growing faster than the national growth rate, but the average household is significantly larger than the Australian average (3.1 compared to 2.6 people per household) and the district is home to a higher proportion of students, university educated adults and full time workers than both the national and state averages. The region is more culturally diverse with 3 in 5 residents having at least one parent born overseas compared to less than half of Australians nationally. The proportion of school-age children locally is 20% higher than the Sydney average, and those in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s are similarly well above the greater-Sydney average.

Age gap in the Hills Shire

There is a hole in the Hills’ demographic, a 15-year gap in the numbers of locals aged 23 to 38. This missing group, neatly lining up with Generation Y, is a staggering 20% smaller than is average across the rest of Sydney. In fact, while there has been an increase in numbers of almost every age group over the 5 years between the last two Census reports, for the mid 20’s to mid-30’s there has actually been a decrease in numbers.

Entrepreneurial hotspot

The Sydney Hills is also an entrepreneurial hotspot, with 32,191 actively trading local businesses. So while the local population represents less than 0.7% of Australia, the number of businesses is more than twice this share at 1.5% of all Australian businesses. And with the new transport infrastructure, commercial constructions and emerging urban centres, the number of new business start-ups in the Hills will only grow.

The future of the Hills Shire

The future for the Hills will include more pockets of urbanisation which will create options for those looking for apartment living, walkable communities and a café culture. However, the size and diversity of the area will mean that the suburban and semi-rural nature of other parts will remain and the overall density will never reach the highs of local government areas like Parramatta which currently has 27.48 people per hectare. Not too many parts of Australia offer high-density living options just 10 minutes’ drive from acreage. Little wonder The Hills is one of the fastest growing regions in NSW.

Mark McCrindle will present the results of the 2017 Hills Business PSI, the third year of this study this Friday at the Sydney Hills Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Lunch at which the Premier will deliver the keynote address.

If you would like a copy of the full Hills PSI Report please let us know and we will make it available after Friday’s launch.

Understanding and supporting business in the Hills Shire: The second Hills Shire Business PSI

Thursday, May 12, 2016

2016 marks the second Hills Shire edition of the Business PSI, a tracking index created by McCrindle to measure business conditions, performance, and sentiment through a survey of businesses residing in the Hills Shire area. The Business PSI can be used across local governments and regions to better understand and support local business.

The Sydney Hills population is growing 20% faster than the national average (1.9% p.a. compared to 1.6% p.a.) at 169,872 people each year, with average households being significantly larger than the national average (3.1 compared to 2.6 people per household) and home to a higher proportion of students, university educated adults and full time workers than the national and state averages.

The Hills Shire Business PSI is an important measure for an area that relies so heavily on small business as a driver of the local economy. The 2016 survey was conducted 6 months on from the initial survey and captures the constant change in the Hills Shire region.

Download the full report here.

Businesses expanding and growing in the Hills Shire

The results from 2016 show that the business environment is more positive 6 months on from the last survey with sentiment being significantly improved from last year. Businesses are expanding and projected to expand even more in the next 6 months, with business owners seeing this not only as a physical expansion but also due to increases in staffing levels, as the region continues to grow.

Business owners more positive about national economic conditions

Business owners perceive the economic conditions of our nation to be considerably better than 6 months ago with conditions expected to improve even more over the next 6 months. This increase was also reflected in perceptions of the local economic conditions.

New Additions to the PSI survey

The Net Promoter Score was introduced in 2016 as a measure of how likely business owners and managers are to recommend doing business in The Hills Shire to a friend or colleague. 78% indicated that they would probably or definitely recommend The Hills Shire as a place to do business to a friend or colleague, showing high levels of engagement.

Chairman of the Sydney Hills Business Chamber, Anthony Moss, in partnership with the Hills Shire Council, commissioned the Business PSI to measure the pulse of the Hills Shire. “The Business PSI survey results reflect a true snapshot of business in the region. We are thankful for those who completed the survey, including individuals representing businesses of all sizes including, medium to large (20+ staff), small (5-19 staff), micro (1-5 staff) and non-employing businesses.”

Hills Shire Council Mayor Dr Michelle Burns endorses the PSI tool. “The Sydney Hills Business Chamber and the team at McCrindle Research have done another fantastic job at measuring the sentiment of businesses in The Hills. It’s great to hear that the sentiment is generally improving – however it’s unsurprising that the main frustration of businesses is infrastructure.”

The results of the 2nd Hills Shire Business PSI were presented on 11 May 2016 at the Castle Hill RSL and are available for download via the Sydney Hills Business Chamber website.


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