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Herbert Smith Freehills supports NSW Government in negotiating world-leading health and innovation campus

15 December 2020 | Australia, Asia Pacific
Deals and cases


Herbert Smith Freehills has advised the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet in its negotiations with the University of Sydney in relation to a framework to facilitate the development of a world-leading health and innovation campus.

The negotiations between the NSW Government and University of Sydney relate to plans for a potential new multi-disciplinary university campus, which will be delivered within the Westmead Health and Innovation District, near Parramatta in Western Sydney.

The development of the campus will cement the District’s role as one of Australia’s largest health, education, research and training precincts.

The agreement marks the next step in exclusive negotiations between NSW Government and the University which commenced in November 2018. It confirms the University of Sydney as the ‘educational anchor’ for the Government’s planned innovation district, based on the University’s leading status as a top-100 global university. It also confirms a site for the new campus in Parramatta North adjacent to the Westmead hospitals, and a process for ongoing engagement once land for the proposed campus becomes available for development.

The Herbert Smith Freehills team was led by partners Nicholas Carney, Julie Couch and Peter Briggs, with support from senior associates Rebecca Davie and Maxwell Wu, and solicitors Emma Mackey, Cecilia Ngu and Stephanie Purcell.

Mr Carney said: “It was a pleasure advising the NSW Government as they make the next in a series of steps aimed at encouraging investment and driving jobs growth in our cities. In the context of COVID-19, the adoption of a flexible framework structure which allows the parties to develop and implement a shared vision over the coming years makes a lot of sense. Our recent Future Cities’ Report identified a high degree of optimism about current and future development and infrastructure projects in Australian cities, with 86 percent of respondents more optimistic about their projects than pre-COVID-19. The agreement with University of Sydney in relation to the Westmead Health and Innovation District supports this optimism.”

Pending final agreement around the size and timings of the campus development, the University hopes to attract more than 25,000 students and 2,500 staff by 2055 and provide affordable student and staff accommodation.

This deal is another example of Herbert Smith Freehills’ market-leading work in advising on some of Australia’s most important precinct and development projects. Other recent examples:

  • Advising Transport for NSW on Sydney’s Circular Quay renewal
  • Advising Oxford Properties on the Sydney Metro Pitt Street integrated station development
  • Advising on the masterplanning and development of the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.

Herbert Smith Freehills recently released a new report “The Future of Cities: Businesses stand ready to help governments unlock city investment”. That report included a survey of 450 senior people involved globally in future city projects. That survey highlighted the importance of building flexibility into project structures and regulatory frameworks for the government and the private sector develop innovative solutions to the challenges faced by cities. You can read more about the our Future of Cities report here.

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