The voice for business in Sydney

WINS FOR BUSINESS

Since 1926

Now we are business sydney

As the oldest business organisation operating in NSW, we continue to influence, advocate and deliver for business and the Sydney region.  During the year, Business Sydney hosted more than 60 individual events across numerous topics relevant to our 140 members and the broader community. 

Recent Achievements

Through our strong advocacy, influence and action we have delivered key outcomes for the city and business. 

Our recent achievements include:

  • Taking a central role in public discourse to find a solution to the housing crisis with our ‘Three Roads’ paper calling for medium density housing to redevelop Parramatta Road, Victoria Road and the Great Western Highway, delivering up to 75,000 housing units. 
  • Encouraging more employees from the public and private sectors to return to their workplaces to restore the vibrancy of the city and to reduce the economic impact of the work-from-home trend on businesses affected by much reduced foot traffic. 
  • Holding a forum on the cruise industry with Carnival Australia at which Daily Telegraph editor Ben English was a special guest panellist. The forum led to NSW Premier Chris Minns taking action to bring Australian cruising into line with other parts of the world in relation to post pandemic health protocols. 
  • Intervening to achieve the reversal of a decision to close Paddington police station, a closure seen as being detrimental to the area’s growing night time economy. 
  • Supporting the arts, culture and entertainment sector including strong backing for lifting the six-concert limit at Allianz Stadium and advocacy for permanent parking solutions and infrastructure in the Moore Park precinct. 
  • Highlighting the work of organisations such as Vinnies Sleepout, Bread & Butter Project, Rev Bill Crews Foundation, Foodbank NSW, Gut Foundation and The Big Issue in improving the life of those most marginalised in the community. 
  • Continuing to advocate for a homelessness commissioner to coordinate charity efforts to assist the hundreds of people who live rough on our streets including encampments in the heart of our otherwise prosperous city. 
  • Working with Lifeline to highlight ways of improving mental health and well-being in the workplace. 
  • Maintaining ongoing support for international students and the hugely positive part they play in the economic life of our city. 
  • Encouraging the social cohesion fostered by our great cultural institutions including the NSW Art Gallery, the Australian Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. 

Current issues and projects include supporting the establishment of three strategically located permanent performance shells including in the Domain, continuing to support growth in the city’s night time economy with special emphasis on women’s safety and ongoing support for a Metro station at Moore Park coupled with a redeveloped Entertainment Quarter to support this entertainment, sporting and cultural hub.

OUR HISTORY

Sydney has long been the centre for economic activity of the nation. In 1826 the Sydney Chamber of Commerce was established to provide a strong voice for business in the growing colony. The Chamber’s unwavering commitment to leading the business community by identifying, developing and advocating for economic growth in Sydney continued across the decades.  

 

The history of the Chamber movement in Australia dates back 182 years to 5 June 1826 when the Sydney Chamber of Commerce was first established.

As Oswald Ziegler in his book We're in Business states:

There were the auspicious preliminaries to the formation of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce on 6 July 1826 {sic}, with John Wollstonecraft as its first Chairman and A. B. Spark, Secretary. Some 16 merchants were enrolled as members and, although early records of the Chamber's activities are very scant, the immediate reaction was a sensing of greater unity among the businessmen of the time......The foundation of the Chamber was championed by the Australian, and with very good reason, within a period of five years trade had doubled, and the semi-circular Quay was a scene of constant activity, the masts of ships from many lands crowding together at the wharves.

As former, long-serving New South Wales Premier, Sir Robert Askin, wrote in the foreword for Ziegler's book (We're in Business):

In fact, the Chamber, established in 1826, is almost as old as the NSW Legislative Council, which in 1824 became the first legislative body in the Australian Colonies. At that time the Council, the 'Mother Parliament' of Australia, administered the area now occupied by New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, Northern Territory, South Australia and New Zealand.

So, to all intents and purposes, at the time, the Sydney Chamber was in some sense also the Australian Chamber.

Source: Captains of Industry, Biographies of the Presidents of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, by Peter Hendy.

 

In 1996 we became the Sydney Business Chamber, continuing to work diligently as the voice for business in our city. As the leading advocate for reforming local governance, recycling state assets to fund new transport and infrastructure and supporting Sydney’s cultural and tourism offerings, the Sydney Business Chamber shaped Sydney as a global, competitive city.