Time to Speed Up Metro West

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue supports moves to speed up the delivery of the Sydney Metro West, one of the region’s most critical, and transformative, transport projects.  

WSLD Chairman, Christopher Brown AM, said that NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley MP’s commitment to prioritising the Sydney Metro West was a positive step towards ensuring its timely delivery.

“The Metro West, connecting Sydney to Westmead, and linking the city’s two CBDs is a game-changer for the region, and quite rightly needs to be a top priority,” Mr Brown said.

“The north-south link, connecting St Marys and the Macarthur to Badgerys Creek, along with the West Metro are the two most important transport projects for Western Sydney, when it comes to employment generation, improved liveability and reduced congestion.

“The Dialogue stands behind any effort to deliver both of these rail projects by the time the Western Sydney Airport is operational in 2026.”

Funding Questions Remain on Metro West

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue (WSLD) is encouraged by the State Government’s commitment to the delivery of the Sydney Metro West but is calling for more clarity on how the project will be funded.

WSLD Chairman, Christopher Brown AM, said that along with the recently announced North-South rail-link, the Metro West represents one of the most transformative projects for the region, and in addition to providing a stronger connection between Sydney’s two CBDs, would catalyse significant urban renewal along the city’s most dynamic corridor.

“There is no doubt that the Metro West is a game-changer, and the NSW Government, in particular Transport Minister Andrew Constance, should be congratulated for his unwavering commitment to its delivery,” Mr Brown said.

“However there are still a number of questions that need to be answered, primarily, how is it going to be funded?

“Value-capture, where landowners who benefit from the project, help subsidise its cost, has been discussed for the past 18 months as the way forward when it comes to the funding of future infrastructure projects.

“But to this point, we’re still waiting for greater clarity on how value-capture will be applied, who it will be applied to, and who will administer it.”

Mr Brown has called on the State Government, through the Greater Sydney Commission, to establish a working group, comprising of representatives from the public, and private sectors, as well as the community, to develop a value-capture framework.

“There is only so much in the government coffers to go around and the time has come to have a sensible discussion on how all sectors of the community are going to contribute to the region’s growing infrastructure costs,” Mr Brown said

“I’ve often said that Western Sydney is prepared to ‘pay to play’ but we just need to know the ‘conditions of entry’.”

Governing the Region's Growth

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue (WSLD), in partnership with the Sydney Business Chamber, has launched a new paper aimed at stimulating discussion about how the region’s growth is governed.

The discussion paper – Governance Reform for Growth: Ideas on how we can best plan, finance, build and govern the growth centres of Greater Western Sydney – was launched at the Western Sydney University’s vertical campus in the Parramatta CBD, in front of leaders in government, the private sector and community, and has put forward a number of options for consideration.

These include:

  • Implementation of “real” local government reform measures such as election of full-time mayors, mandatory professional training for all councillors, improved protection for staff and CEOs, and stronger probity controls.
  • The creation of bigger, fewer and better resourced Councils.
  • Having the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) take on the role of Co-ordinator General, overseeing the development of major precincts such as the Western Sydney Aerotropolis and Greater Parramatta Olympic Park Peninsula (GPOP), and having the GSC report directly to the NSW Premier.
  • Examination of the role of the private sector, in funding infrastructure via ‘value-capture’.

WSLD Chairman, Christopher Brown AM, said the paper was not intended to provide all of the answers, for a nuanced and complex area, but to spark discussion about the need for a clearer model of governance.

“The Western Sydney City Deal, in addition to the population explosion that is driving our growth, has shone the spotlight on the region. It also means we need a structure in place that can deliver transparency, accountability, and importantly, results,” Mr Brown said.

“Western Sydney was embarrassed by the appalling governance issues at Auburn Council and we need new systems in place to attract and retain municipal talent, to weed out corruption and to ensure ratepayers get value for money. This region should be a beacon for best practice, not a sanctuary for spivs.”

Sydney Business Chamber, Western Sydney Director, David Borger added:
“The strategic vision for Western Sydney has largely been set, but how do we begin the transition from planning to delivery? The development of cities requires co-ordination across all levels of government – who is going to take the lead role? And importantly, who is going to pay for all of these important infrastructure projects?

For Media Information – Adam Leto, Director, WSLD 0419 019 637


Give Sydney a Sporting Chance

Three of Western Sydney’s leading business groups have joined forces to call on the NSW Government to establish a NSW Global Events Taskforce to ensure Sydney plays its best cards when bidding for events.

This special Taskforce would work closely with Destination NSW to target ‘the big 5’ global sporting events on the horizon.

Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, Western Sydney Business Chamber and Sydney Olympic Park Business Association believe a unique opportunity exists to leverage the state government’s stadia investment to successfully bid for at least five major global sporting events.

They are:

  • Women’s Rugby World Cup, to be held in 2021;
  • FIFA Women’s World Cup, to be held in 2023;
  • Men’s Rugby World Cup, to be held in 2027;
  • Commonwealth Games in 2026 or 2030; and
  • FIFA Men’s World Cup in 2030.

“The NSW Government is making an important investment in our sporting and cultural infrastructure. We believe that, thanks to this investment, a fantastic opportunity exists for Sydney, and Western Sydney in particular, to bid for and win more major global events,” said Chairman of the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, Christopher Brown AM. 

“In the absence of the stadia investment we would face stiff competition from other countries and states that have invested heavily in upgrading their sporting infrastructure. In Australia alone, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth have all made significant investments in their stadia, while Sydney has let our facilities age to the point where they are no longer fit for purpose.”

“However, with three new world-class rectangular stadiums with fantastic lively precincts around them, Sydney will be extremely hard to beat.”

David Borger, Director of the Sydney Business Chamber, Western Sydney, said “The tourism benefits and economic returns from major events like these would be amazing, particularly for Western Sydney.

“We know people who visit for major events stay longer and spend more in more places.

“This could be a huge economic boost for our state.

“We often talk about how Sydney came alive during the Olympics in 2000 and the city does have a chance bidding on ‘the big 5’ to relive that mood time and again over a five-seven year period.”

Mr Brown added that the three Western Sydney groups were excited by the prospect of maximising the stadium investment and securing new major events to build on Sydney’s impressive Olympic legacy.

“Hosting any one of ‘the big 5’ events would not only boost the western Sydney economy but they would re-invigorate the Olympic Park precinct,” Mr Brown said.

“We would all love the chance to see the world’s best athletes once again competing in athletics, swimming, hockey or weightlifting, right here at Sydney Olympic Park.”

“With new world-class facilities, there will be no better way to make full use of Sydney’s Olympic legacy.”

Sydney’s bid will be further strengthened by projects such as Sydney Metro, Sydney Light Rail and WestConnex, which are due to come online throughout this period. Each of these projects will make travelling to and from the venues quicker and easier.

The timeline for completion of works on the new stadiums aligns well with the events and there would be no need for extensive further infrastructure investment.

Commonwealth Games officials are already exploring the possibility of a revitalised Olympic Park hosting the spectacle. Officials believe the opening and closing ceremonies, plus events such as rugby 7s and hockey, could be held at the new 75,000-seat Stadium Australia, while the athletics would take place next door, at Spotless Stadium.

The push to bid for these major global events comes on the back of the State Government securing Sydney as the host of the NRL Grand Final for 20 years, as well as several years of Bledisloe Cup tests and State of Origin matches.

WSLD media contact: Adam Leto 0419 019 637

City Deal Win for North-South Link

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue (WSLD) has welcomed today’s announcement by the Federal and NSW Governments, committing to the delivery of a north-south rail link that connects north and south-west Sydney via Badgerys Creek.

WSLD Chairman, Christopher Brown AM, who helped establish the Western Sydney Rail Alliance to build a business case, and advocate, for the north-south connection, said today’s decision, included as part of the Western Sydney City Deal, was a “massive win” for the region.

“The campaign which the Dialogue initiated, and helped drive in partnership with councils and landowners, has been more than two years in the making, and today’s outcome shows what can be achieved through collaboration and determination,” he said.

“This is more than just a rail line. Our studies have shown that the connection, linking our key growth and employment areas, has the potential to catalyse 40,000 jobs for the region. It will also provide improved access for cities that currently lack any public transport options.

“The Western Sydney Airport represents a new era for the region and it is vital that our booming cities in the south-west and north-west are connected to it, from the outset. This is, after all, not Sydney’s second airport, but Western Sydney’s first airport.”

Mr Brown said that the north-south link, along with the West Metro, which connects the Sydney CBD to Parramatta, were the two most important transport projects for Western Sydney, when it came to employment generation, improved liveability and reduced congestion.

“With the north-south corridor secured, and the West Metro prioritised by the NSW Government, we need a firm timeline on delivery, and also some certainty on how they will both be funded,” Mr Brown added.

“Value-capture, where landowners who benefit from the project, help subsidise its cost, has been discussed for the past 18 months as the way forward when it comes to the funding of future infrastructure projects.

“But to this point, we’re still waiting for greater clarity on how value-capture will be applied, who it will be applied to, and who will administer it.”

Population Debate to Take Centre Stage

Sydney’s growth debate will be a major focus at the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue’s (WSLD) annual Out There Summit, including population sceptic, business leader and philanthropist, Dick Smith.  

WSLD Chairman, Christopher Brown AM, said that Infrastructure Australia’s Future Cities report, released today, highlights the need for discussion on how we manage the rapid growth of our nation’s largest cities.

“The report’s modelling confirms that around 60 per cent of Sydney’s population growth and 50 per cent of its new jobs over the next 30 years will occur west of Parramatta.  So, like it or not, we need to understand how to best prepare for this growth.” he said.

“While it’s important to ensure that infrastructure investment, particularly rail, keeps pace with this growth, we also feel it is time to have an honest, and respectful, discussion on Australia’s population policies, particularly as Western Sydney is expected to do the majority of heavy lifting in coming decades.

“The last two Out There summits hosted NSW Premiers and Opposition Leader, and the Prime Minister, and explored big ideas in Western Sydney - and it doesn’t get much bigger than how we plan, manage, finance and support the four million people that might call the region home over the next 30 years.”

Mr Brown added that today’s report underlined the important role of the Commonwealth when it comes to cities policy, and why the governance of the region’s growth centres was fundamental to their success.

“The Western Sydney City Deal, to be launched very soon, should lay out a blueprint for future city building and regional governance, matching transport and land use, and tabling real money” Mr Brown said.

“The role of the Commonwealth needs to be permanent, codified and insulated from partisan politics, and federal funding of major projects are required to support the growth of Western Sydney.   Canberra cannot just be a rural development agency but nor can State and Local Governments treat it as an ATM.  

“We need a genuine partnership model that brings together three levels of government and also finds an appropriate role for the private sector in planning, funding and delivering projects.” Mr Brown concluded.

A stellar line up of speakers has been confirmed for the 2018 Out There Summit, where the population debate, governance, health and education, along with arts, sport and culture, will feature, including NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes, Western Sydney Minister Stuart Ayres, Opposition Leader Luke Foley, GSC boss, Sarah Hill, ‘Westie” legends, Bryan Brown & Mark Geyer and the Bankstown Poetry Slam will perform. 

WSU Chancellor, Professor Peter Shergold will delver the 2018 Lachlan Macquarie Lecture at the summit, which is presented in partnership with NSW Schools Infrastructure and take place on May 9, at the Novotel Parramatta.  The program and tickets will be available from March 1, at www.westernsydney.org.au.