Penrith to learn from world health leaders

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George Rabie has been heavily involved with the business community. He is pictured here with Jim Aitken and Paul Brennan of the Penrith Business Alliance

Five local representatives are heading to Nashville, Tennessee to witness first hand a world class health and business precinct, and bring back key knowledge to Penrith.

Four Penrith Business Alliance (PBA) members and the CEO of Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, Kay Hyman will undertake a five day ‘research mission’ this month to the healthcare capital of the USA.

PBA Chairman Paul Brennan said the Nashville Health Council’s (NHC) model of growth will be a valuable learning tool for the Penrith Health and Education Precinct (PHEP).

“The NHC targeted their key attributes which were largely around having an airport and having universities that could grow and a healthcare industry,” he said.

“They attracted funding then pharmaceutical and biotech companies to the area and the logistics businesses to support all those.

“That then resulted in roughly 200,000 new jobs in Nashville, and about an additional $30 billion US per year.”

During the trip, the PBA wants to learn from the mistakes of the NHC, which boasts similar infrastructure like the proposed western Sydney airport.

“[But with the airport] we have to make sure we don’t just end up with an area full of sheds with no people,” Mr Brennan said.

“There is always a risk… with large bulky goods type distribution centres that are robotic and aren’t employing the local workforce and producing quality jobs.”

Mr Brennan admitted if the airport weren’t to go ahead it would be a blow to investment but said other precincts like the Western Sydney Employment Area will still develop.

Aside from learning from the biggest economy in the world, Councillor Jim Aitken said the PBA hopes to foresee where the PHEP could be going before it gets there.

“96 per cent of businesses today won’t be around in 10 years time, they will have regenerated. We are trying to catch up to that so we know where the future lies,” he said.

The PBA’s Bijai Kumar said the road is open to take the next steps now the PHEP has been listed as one of the 28 strategic centres in the NSW Government’s Sydney Plans for Growth by 2036.

– Dale Drinkwater

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