NSW’ 20 year plan for Pill Hill

By Megan Brodie 3 years ago | In Companies
  • 3 years ago
Artist's impression of Macquarie Place courtesy NSW Department of Planning

5 July 2021

The NSW Government has launched a strategic vision for Macquarie Park that will see the Sydney area, home to much of Australia’s pharmaceutical industry, “reach its potential as a world-class place for innovation and collaboration” with a strong connection to the area’s indigenous heritage.

The strategy, being led by the Greater Sydney Commission, will “guide Macquarie Park’s transition from a successful suburban business park to a vibrant commercial centre that supports job growth and creates a great place for people to share ideas, live and play”, the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment stated in releasing the Draft Strategy late last week.

“Macquarie Park’s future will be about better connections – between places, between businesses and between people and the land they live and work on,” it states.

Home to 180 large international businesses including J&J, Sanofi, Novartis, MSD, Amgen, Biogen, Merck, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Astellas, the pharmaceutical sector makes up 19 per cent of Macquarie Park’s commercial businesses – hence the nickname ‘Pill Hill’. However, 70 per cent of people who work in the area travel by car.

The draft Place Strategy “intends to create opportunities to develop and enhance Macquarie Park, centred on attractive public spaces and connections within and around the area” which “will boost its economic capacity and see it transition into a leading 21st-century place to collaborate, innovate and do business”.

Macquarie Park investigation area

The plan covers 350 hectares in Sydney’s north including a 170-hectare “investigation area” (see map) covering the commercial core where most large pharma companies are headquartered.

It aims to create up to 20,000 jobs, 7,650 new residences and better access to public transport. To achieve its vision, the plan incorporates six ‘big moves’:

  1. Drive transformation to create diverse economic and employment opportunities to open access to private and public funding;
  2. Scale and time new development to match infrastructure capacity;
  3. Rebalance transport through a movement and place framework that encourages walking, cycling and public transport;
  4. Prioritise and enrich the pedestrian experience by improving natural features and attributes of Country;
  5. Creat seven neighbourhoods, each with their own identity to spur an 18-hour economy; and
  6. Connect to Wallumattagal Country and its history as a place of higher learning through improved open space and connections.

The seven neighbourhoods will be given indigenous names, with pharma largely sitting in Waterloo Park – to be known as Butbut (heart).

Pharma’s new Butbut home

“Linking across the high points and connecting the two primary creeks, Butbut can be the healthy, healing heart of Wallumatta. It will be characterised by health, medicine, pharmaceutical businesses and educational institutions.”

The seven Macquarie Park neighbourhoods

With the seven neighbourhoods all having a distinct character, the vision for Butbut is for 1,000 new jobs (100 in the first five years) and an 18-hour economy but no residential development. It will have a new cycling infrastructure and 25,000sqm of parks, plazas and linear parks.

The Industrial Creek will be restored and a riparian corridor integrated and revealed within a Central Park. Buildings along Waterloo Road will be the ‘key spine’ and gateway to the area.

“More active shopfronts will support the commercial core of Macquarie Park. Waterloo Road will transform into a place more than a movement area with intensified tree planting connecting new open spaces at Khartoum Road and Coolinga Street. Here the line of the creek will be revealed with water within the public realm and enhancing green infrastructure to define and demark the route of the creeks.”

The Place Strategy builds on the area’s “foundation of innovation and enterprise, as well as the area’s pre-Colonial history as a place of trade, exchange and learning”.

“In the 21st century, Macquarie Park will remain a place of sharing ideas and technology,” the plan states. “The Place Strategy aims to create a place for people, deepened by the recognition of Wallumattagal Country.”

*The Draft Strategy is on exhibition until 10 August. Online information sessions are being held on 13 July and 21 July. 


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