Located in the Central-West region of New South Wales, Parkes is a vibrant regional centre built upon strong industries of transport, mining, agriculture and tourism and is known for its Radio Telescope, ‘The Dish’, and the renowned Parkes Elvis Festival.


  • New South Wales, Australia

Due to its unique position next to the Newell Highway and at the intersection of national rail links, Parkes has become the focal piece of major NSW Government and Parkes Shire Council development plans to encourage economic development in the region and improve livability.


“With sustainable development at the core of design in Parkes, the region is primed for an exciting period in its history. SAPs are one of the most innovative place-making design concepts we have seen in Australia and to have the opportunity to create a future ready precinct has been a career highlight.


“Whether it’s the growth in industry, opportunities for community or the acknowledgement of country, there is something here for everyone to celebrate.”

Emma Dean, Principal Environmental Scientist

Special Activation Precincts

Special Activation Precincts (SAPs) are defined by the New South Wales (NSW) Government as areas with the potential to activate state or regional significant economic development.


An innovative place-based solution, the NSW government is drawing on the AUD4.2 billion from the Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund towards making future ready regional communities. Specifically, the regions will prosper both socially and economically from the windfalls of major public and private investment to create jobs, attract businesses and investors, and fuel economic development.


The first SAP is located to the west of the Parkes township and centres around the landmark Inland Rail project and existing freight hub. Using sustainable development and circular economy principles the precinct h aims to build upon the region’s thriving freight and logistics and high-value agriculture sectors whilst creating new industry and enterprise opportunities.


For more information on the SAPs, please click here.

SAP Strategic Environmental Planning, Community Connection and Indigenous Design

Environmental Planning

Since early 2019, our environment team has been working closely with government, industry and the community to develop a sustainable, resilient and Future Ready precinct through the development of the Parkes SAP.


Assisting the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) through their master planning phase, we have created Ecological Sustainable Development plans, conducted field surveys and assisted in the plans to streamline the environmental approvals.


More broadly, our team has used their in-depth knowledge of the region and our multi-disciplinary services to provide strategic advice across transport, water, mining and sustainability projects, including active roles on the Parkes Bypass, North Parkes Mine and the Pacific National Intermodal Hub.


Community Connection

On behalf of DPIE, we conducted a Community and Social Infrastructure Assessment to identify the regions current and future infrastructure needs.


To ensure our recommendations were Future Ready, key consideration was given to significant societal trends including provisions for services and facilities to address inclusive employment and training, health and wellbeing, ageing populations, cultural acknowledgement, tourism and community identity.


To assist the DPIE, we also facilitated engagement opportunities including:

  • Input into Inquiry by Design workshops
  • Government-led community engagement campaigns
  • Interviews with key stakeholders, organisations and service providers


Indigenous Design

Utilising our Indigenous Design specialists, which includes an Aboriginal led process we have also engaged and implemented the input of the local Wiradjuri people throughout the master planning phase of the SAP.


Together, we created and planned for a community that reflected the traditional custodians of the land and their heritage as well as sacred sites and places of spiritual meaning. To better connect the precinct and to promote inclusiveness we identified potential areas for local Aboriginal design and knowledge to be implemented into the public art and landscaping initiatives.


The image below is a sketch of the Aboriginal significance throughout the SAP and surrounding country:



Image source: Michael Hromek, Technical Executive – Indigenous (Architecture), Design and Knowledge, WSP


Services: Ecology, Acoustics, Noise and Vibration, Air Quality, Sustainability, Stakeholder Engagement, Heritage, Environmental Planning and Management, Indigenous Specialist Services.

SAP Flood and Water Quality Management

With the effects of climate change likely to prolong drought periods and intensify flooding events, Parkes is an at-risk region.


Engaged to conduct a flood and water quality management study for the SAP, our team developed a set of models to assist in the development of the master plan. To deliver future-ready solutions, our team aims to optimise usage, spatial and master planning, to maximise land value and to minimise project costs.


In these models, we were able to define the baseline environment and constraints on future development.


Services: Water Policy and Planning, Technical Assessment.


Increasing Transport Efficiency

Having played a key role in the development of the 1,700 km Inland Rail project since before the SAPs were announced, WSP in a joint venture with Mott McDonald, has provided detailed design and construction phase services across the Parkes to Narromine section of the AUD8.4 billion development.


For Parkes, this generational project means increased opportunities for local businesses to setup supply chain networks with major hubs spanning Melbourne through to Brisbane. Specifically, the development will help other sectors such as agriculture increase their economic output.


The Inland Rail has also spurred on greater transport investment. The AUD35 million Pacific National Intermodal Hub will connect the transcontinental rail corridor with the aim of eventually connect with the Inland Rail.


Road connections haven’t been missed either with the AUD168 million Parkes Bypass and upgrade to the Newell Highway seeking to improve freight and logistics connections and efficiency as well as safety for local and interstate motorists.


For more information on this project, please click here.


Related Services: Environmental Planning and Management, Stakeholder Engagement, Rail Design, Environment, Health and Safety Management and Compliance.

Parkes Hospital

Completed in 2015 before the SAP development, our team of experts provided mechanical and sustainability services on the new Parkes Hospital. Now offering the surrounding area with expanded and enhanced health care facilities, Parkes Hospital provides a range of acute and sub-acute services including emergency, paediatric, general medical and surgical services.


Healthcare and social assistance is the number one source of employment for Parkes.


To find out more information about this project, please click here.


Services: Mechanical, Electrical and HVAC, Building Services, Building Information Modelling, Sustainability Advisory.


To find out more about how we activate regional places, please click here.