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Imagine SYDNEY

June 22 2017

Sydney Harbour: Our global shopfront

Sydney’s iconic waterfront is arguably the city’s most valuable asset. As the population doubles over the next 40 years what decisions need to be made now to ensure this precious resource is protected and enhanced guaranteeing future generations can enjoy its economic contributions and lifestyle benefits?

Sydney’s geographic proximity to Asia is a strategic advantage at a time when many western economies are becoming more insular and nationalistic. Is this the time to expand our reach and strengthen our Asia Pacific relationships to benefit from the growth that is predicted to come from the ‘Asian Century’?

At Imagine 2060: Sydney, you will gain perspectives from influential leaders who will encourage us to think and act differently.

Imagine 2060: Imagine Sydney Speakers & Panelists

Nicholas Brooke

Chairman, Hong Kong Harbourfront Commission

Nicholas Brooke is the Chairman of the Hong Kong Harbourfront Commission, which co-ordinates the planning, design, implementation and management of the various initiatives around Victoria Harbour. The Harbourfront Commission is seen as the champion of Hong Kong’s most important natural asset, as well as the initiator of a range of public private partnerships designed to bring life, connectivity and vibrancy to the waterfront.

Nicholas Brooke is also the Chairman of Professional Property Services Limited, a specialist real estate consultancy, providing a range of advisory services across the Asia Pacific region. He is a recognised authority on land administration and planning matters, and has always had a particular interest in the built environment and how to address the needs of differing sectors of the community. 

Nicholas says the prime objective in Hong Kong in relation to its “jewel in the crown”, Victoria Harbour, has been to enhance connectivity both to and along the waterfront for both residents and visitors. Shared enjoyment and use, and vibrancy and variety in this joint working/recreational asset are key to its value to both the community and Hong Kong as a whole and are best achieved in partnership with the private sector.


Dr Stephanie Fahey

CEO, Austrade

Dr Stephanie Fahey is the CEO of Austrade and has over 30 years’ experience both as an academic and an executive working in Australia and overseas, including as a lead partner for education (Oceania region) of EY, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Global Engagement) at Monash University and Director of the University of Sydney’s Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific.

Dr Fahey has also served on the Australia China Business Council, the Australia China Council, the NSW International Education Advisory Board, the European Australian Business Council, the Board of Canberra Institute of Technology, the Foreign Affairs Council and the Australia-Korea Foundation.

Joe James

Executive General Manager, Bays Development

Joe James is the Executive General Manager, Bays Development for the Port Authority of New South Wales, with executive responsibilities for leading the strategic delivery of the port and working harbour development at Glebe Island and White Bay, including the delivery of integrated port and urban renewal development outcomes and facilitating the delivery of NSW Government’s major transport infrastructure in the Bays Precinct.

Mr James has previously led a number of major initiatives, including an upgrade of the Overseas Passenger Terminal, an investigation of the feasibility of shore power for cruise ships, and the privatisation of Port Botany.

Joe will share his deep insights into the functioning of Sydney’s ports infrastructure and the value of the ports and Sydney harbour, as well as the role they play in support of the economy and quality of life in Sydney, and challenges facing the city and region in relation to further development of the harbour.


Dr Sarah Pearson

Pro Vice-Chancellor of Industry Engagement and Innovation, University of Newcastle

Dr Sarah Pearson is the inaugural Pro Vice-Chancellor, Industry Engagement & Innovation at the University of Newcastle. In this role, she works with the university, industry and the local innovation ecosystem to deliver economic and social impact through collaborative R&D, commercialisation and the growth of startups and innovation hubs across the Hunter region.

Sarah has had an eclectic career spanning innovation ecosystem building, industrial innovation, academia, management consulting, government, and science communication, and she has devised strategies for high-tech industries, co-authored a book chapter on innovation and developed and patented new methods for cancer diagnosis and confectionary. Among other roles, Sarah was a McKinsey management consultant in Sydney, a tenured Physics academic, Global Head of Open Innovation at Cadbury, Director of Science in the Office of the Chief Scientist, as well as the Founding CEO of CBR Innovation Network, an entity set up to transform the ACT economy through innovation and entrepreneurship.

With her background in innovation and startup ecosystems, Sarah will share her insights on how to increase Sydney’s attractiveness to global talent and innovative start-ups, drawing on lessons from other cities with a successful track record of nurturing startup companies.

According to Sarah, priorities will include, among a number of others, better transport to and creativity around the harbour, a necessary improvement in Sydney’s affordability rankings and a more collaborative approach to overall support for startups and high growth companies.

David Pitchford

Principal, The Right Pitch Consultancy and former CEO of UrbanGrowth NSW

David Pitchford is Principal of the Right Pitch Consultancy and an expert with over 35 years’ experience in the successful delivery of major urban transformation projects, advising governments and industry in Australia and internationally.

David was Chief Executive of UrbanGrowth NSW and Chief Executive of UrbanGrowth NSW Development Corporation until December 2017. He was created a Professor of Practice at the University of New South Wales in July 2016. At the request of the UK Government, he designed, implemented and developed the Major Projects Authority UK, whose portfolio consisted of 212 Projects costing over £800 billion. He was the Head of Profession for UK Government Major Projects and advised the Prime Minister directly. He also led the Palm Jumierah Development in Dubai, the world’s largest land reclamation project, which cost over $8 billion. As the CEO of the City of Melbourne from 2003 to 2007, David engineered the city’s contribution to the construction of the much-awarded Melbourne Convention Centre and the Docklands Waterfront Redevelopment, the largest Urban Transformation Project in Australian history.

David is passionate about building great places with great spaces. He will be discussing strategies to enhance the Sydney waterfront, including making the best use of what is likely the highest-potential urban regeneration site in the world at the Bays Precinct. He describes this as a ‘complex major precinct’, a step above the ordinary in developing major projects due to the size and scale of the development to be undertaken. David is a firm believer that Government action is key to ensuring that Sydney achieves the potential both of this site and of its world-famous harbour. During the panel discussion, he will share his insights into how government can work better with the development industry and how it can steer clear of a ‘fundamental flaw’ that has too often impeded good planning and design to the detriment of the community.

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