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Growing a stronger and more competitive Harbour CBD

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A city supported by infrastructureInfrastructure
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A city for peoplePeople
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Planning Priority N7

Harbour CBD

Growing the global competitiveness of Greater Sydney is fundamental to the vision of a metropolis of three cities.

The Harbour CBD contains 22 per cent of Greater Sydney's jobs and is Australia's financial business capital, containing a large proportion of the regional headquarters of multinational and national companies11. It has the largest commercial office market in Australia with the largest concentration of high-value knowledge-intensive jobs.

The Harbour CBD is a metropolitan city centre and includes the areas of Sydney CBD, North Sydney CBD, Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, Pyrmont, The Bays Precinct, Camperdown-Ultimo health and education precinct, Central to Eveleigh, part of Surry Hills and Sydney East, and is therefore discussed in detail in Planning Priority E7 of the Eastern City District Plan.

Delivering a well-connected city where transport investments improve residents' ability to access a larger and more diverse pool of jobs is central to the Harbour CBD.

Maintaining a long-term supply of office space will maintain Greater Sydney's global economic role, and should not be compromised by residential development. Future planning for the Harbour CBD will balance high levels of development with high levels of amenity.

North Sydney CBD as part of the Harbour CBD

North Sydney CBD is a thriving office market and is an attractive complementary office market to Sydney CBD. For this reason, it is recognised as the northern component of the Harbour CBD.

North Sydney CBD is also an attractive alternative to the Macquarie Park commercial office market, offering:

  • a distinct and high quality commercial core
  • Sydney Harbour and Sydney CBD views
  • high accessibility to Sydney CBD and a skilled labour force
  • surrounding high-amenity residential and mixed-use precincts that, along with the commercial core, provide specialist services and experiences.

North Sydney CBD will continue to benefit from higher proportions of jobs in professional, scientific and technical services, financial and insurance services, and information, media and telecommunications12.

The North Sydney CBD is located on a rail line, and includes a bus interchange and access to major arterial roads. Sydney Metro City & Southwest will deliver a second North Sydney station - Victoria Cross station - to improve connectivity with the Harbour CBD and other centres in the Eastern Economic Corridor and expanded labour pool from the north west. North Sydney CBD's strong commercial core is thriving. Its ongoing protection and growth is key to its prominent role in the Greater Sydney office market. This commercial core is complemented by educational institutions, including the Australian Catholic University and many schools; Greenwood Plaza; and civic uses including the North Sydney Council chambers and Stanton Library.

North Sydney CBD has access to the Sydney CBD's existing tourism infrastructure. This access, combined with a waterside location, spectacular views and amenity, provide opportunities to increase visitation and further diversify the local economy.

With many office workers using the North Sydney CBD commercial core, a more diverse night-time economic offering should be explored. Continuing to improve walking and cycling links will attract business to the North Sydney CBD. For the same reason, public spaces should be protected from overshadowing and wind (potentially generated from buildings).

An aerial image of North Sydney showing the principal areas containing jobs and services.

Data sources: Public open space - Sydney Open Space Audit (DPE 2016),  Aerial Photo - Nearmap 2018

Download this image north_north_sydney.jpg (format PNG / 626 KB )
North Sydney Jobs
2016 Estimate 60,400
2036 Baseline Target 76,000
2036 Higher Target 81,500



Grow economic development in the North Sydney CBD to:

a. maximise the land use opportunities provided by the new station
b. grow jobs in the centre and maintain a commercial core
c. strengthen North Sydney's reputation as an education centre, to grow jobs and add diversity
d. expand after hours' activities
e. encourage growth in business tourism as a conference location that takes advantage of North Sydney's identity as a business hub, its location, access and views
f. provide a variety of high quality civic and public spaces befitting a globally-oriented CBD, which can be utilised for a range of cultural and entertainment activities
g. improve amenity by reducing the impact of vehicle movements on pedestrians
h. create capacity to achieve job targets by reviewing the current planning controls.

North Sydney Council, other planning authorities, and State agencies



a. public transport projects to the Harbour CBD to improve business-to-business connections and support the 30-minute city
b. infrastructure investments particularly those focused on access to the transport network, which enhance walkability within 2 kilometres of metropolitan or strategic centres or 10 minutes walking distance of a local centre
c. Infrastructure investments, particularly those focused on access to the transport network, which enhance cycling connectivity within 5 kilometres of strategic centres or 10 kilometres of the Harbour CBD.

Councils, other planning authorities, and State agencies