Dialogue Supportive of ‘Cool School’ and TAFE Plans

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue has backed the NSW’s Opposition’s education policy plans, which include the provision of air-conditioning for all public schools in the state, and greater funding security for NSW TAFE.  

NSW Opposition Leader, Luke Foley, outlined the proposal today as part of the Plan for a Fairer NSW, and confirmed his earlier promise to reallocate part of the NSW stadia funding towards schools.

“Luke Foley has made it clear that his main priorities heading into the next election are education, health and social services and this plan is very much a return to old-school ALP policy that was so successful in the 80s and early 90s,” Mr Brown said.

“His commitment to education infrastructure is particularly pleasing, and with the growth of our communities, particularly in Western Sydney, out-pacing the supply of schools, and high-quality facilities, this funding promise is not just a commitment to more resources, skills and training opportunities, but an investment in our students and leaders of tomorrow,” Mr Brown said.

 “The reform of the vocational education and training sector is a welcome move and one that is long over-due. For too long students have been let down by dodgy providers and by guaranteeing at least 70% of VET funding towards TAFE, Western Sydney’s leading, and most reputable provider, it helps ensure our students are being equipped with the skills that meet our employment needs.”

The Dialogue has previously welcomed the State Government’s plan to boost apprenticeship numbers, by slashing TAFE fees and has also called for mandatory on-site training programs for all major infrastructure projects in the region.

For media information
Adam Leto — Director
Western Sydney Leadership Dialogueadam@westernsydney.org.au
0419 019 637

Funding Wins for Liverpool Hospital and Metro West

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue has welcomed the State Government’s commitment towards the development of a new state-of-the-art health research and education precinct at Liverpool Hospital.

Dialogue Chairman, Christopher Brown AM, said the $740m redevelopment, announced as part of today’s State Budget, has the potential to double the number of local jobs by 2036, and would reaffirm the region’s reputation as a leader in health, innovation and education.

“This is a massive win for Western Sydney, one which will not only build on Liverpool’s existing health and research assets, but also help catalyse further investment, and interest, in the city,” Mr Brown said.

“The State’s investment in this health and academic precinct will also deliver improved services, and importantly, thousands of jobs for the region.

“Today’s result is a testament to the hard-working team at South West Sydney Local Health District, led by Amanda Larkin, who deserve plenty of credit for the work they’ve done in helping establish the vision for this world-class health and innovation hub, and for their unwavering belief in the potential that exists in the south-west.”

Other key features of the project include:

  • a comprehensive cancer centre providing inpatient services
  • expanded capacity for ambulatory care services to provide an alternative to hospital admissions
  • expanded neonatal intensive and maternity care capacity
  • expanded day surgery and interventional radiology capacity
  • expanded critical care and inpatient capacity.

Funding for Liverpool’s Health and Academic Precinct, was one of a number of projects that the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue had called for in the lead-up to the 2018 State Budget, having also flagged the need for funds for North-South Rail, Stage 2 of Parramatta Light Rail and Metro West.

“Pleasingly, the State Government has provided funding which supports all of these projects, including $3b for the Metro West, one of NSW’s most critical transport infrastructure projects,” Mr Brown said.

For media information
Adam Leto — Director
Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue: adam@westernsydney.org.au
0419 019 637

Outstanding Regional Leaders Recognised

Blacktown community basketball initiative, Savannah Pride, has taken out the prestigious 2018 Pemulwuy Prize, presented by the NSW Minister for Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, in front of 300+ delegates at the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue’s Out There Summit.

Named after the famed local Indigenous warrior, the Dialogue created The Pemulwuy Prize to honour a leading group that has made an outstanding contribution to the region.  The winner was selected from one of four finalists who were category winners in the Western Sydney Leadership Awards.  (Listed below.)

Mayor Chagai, a south-Sudanese refugee, founded Savannah Pride in 2006 as a way of bringing together South-Sudanese-Australian families through basketball programs in Blacktown.  It was established to build at-risk young people’s self-esteem, developing their life-skills and helping provide a platform for growth, through education and sport.

From its humble beginnings, Savannah Pride has grown to be an all-inclusive community organisation that attracts kids across the area, providing support and an outlet for them to channel their energy. In leading the program, Mayor has volunteered endless hours of his time, not just as coach and administrator, but as a mentor for hundreds of young people in Western Sydney - helping cement Savannah Pride as a place of opportunity. 

His hard work has provided a pathway for many young talented athletes, with Savannah Pride developing some of the world’s most promising basketball players, including a number of young stars currently on college scholarships in the United States, with their eyes firmly on the big stage of the NBA.

“The work that Mayor has done through Savannah Pride is truly inspiring and transcends sport. This is an initiative that has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of young people in the region, offering them the support, direction and discipline needed to be successful on and off the court,” Chairman of the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, Christopher Brown AM, said.

To become a finalist for the Pemulwuy Prize, Savannah Pride won the Western Sydney Leadership Award forCommunity Engagement”, beating a stacked field of Leadership Award winners.


Western Sydney Leadership Award for “Regional Advocacy” – Mark Geyer OAM

Known as one of the hard-men of rugby league, Mark Geyer made his name as a tough-as-nails front rower for the Penrith Panthers before going on to represent both NSW and Australia.  Raised in Mount Druitt housing commission home to teenage parents, he left Whalan High after Year 10 and struggled to find employment because of his ‘postcode’. 

After footy, the self-confessed “westie”, became known for his media and charity work, which includes ambassador roles with the Blue Datto young driver safety program, Save our Sons and the Children’s Hospital, Westmead.  He also takes an active role with young offenders.

 “Mark is a fearless champion for Western Sydney, and as a role model, he has helped re-shape the lives of hundreds of young men in the region through his continued advocacy and charitable work.” Chairman of the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, Christopher Brown AM, said.


Western Sydney Leadership Award for “Regional Partnerships” – South Western Sydney Local Health District, Ingham Institute, Western Sydney University

Ingham Institute, in partnership with Western Sydney University and Liverpool Hospital has conducted a world-first clinical trial of new experimental medicine to treat advanced prostate cancer.

The clinical trial is being led by Ingham Institute Associate Professor and Western Sydney University researcher Kieran Scott, who has discovered and developed a simple tablet called “c2”.

The trial, the result of years of successful research at the Ingham Institute, had its first patient enter earlier this year through Liverpool Hospital’s new Phase 1 Clinical Trials Unit, which opened in December 2017.

“Western Sydney has a proud history when it comes to health, research and education and through these types of partnerships, we’re delivering world-class outcomes that only enhance our reputation as a leader in medical innovation,” Chairman of the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, Christopher Brown said.


Western Sydney Leadership Award for “Excellence in Education” – Marija Yelavich, Western Sydney University (WSU) Law Student

A Western Sydney University law student, Marija (pronounced Maria), has enjoyed success as a publisher, mentor and community advocate.

In taking out the national, and prestigious, ‘Law Student of the Year’ in 2017, Marija was recognised as for her extensive community work as well as her role in enhancing the community’s understanding of the legal profession as the founder of the student club, Dare to Know Publications, which produces the student law magazine Sapere Aude and online animation Bitesize Law.

Marija was elected to join the University Student Council in 2014, and in 2016 worked as a ‘Respect.Now.Always’ ambassador to educate students about safe sex, healthy relationships and sexual assault. She is also a member of the NSW Young Lawyers International Law and Human Rights Committee, and the Environment and Planning Committee

Every week, Marija also volunteers at the Mount Druitt Ethnic Communities Agency – where she is a mentor for local high school students.

“Marija is more than just a law student, she is an activist, mentor, and leader, and the enthusiasm in which she has applied her skills and knowledge to improve the lives of others is worthy of special recognition.  Patriots like her are the future leadership cohort of this region.” Chairman of the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, Christopher Brown said.


The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue is a community advocacy initiative designed to give voice to this dynamic region and boost its social and economic progress.   It is governed by a distinguished Board of Patrons, comprising: 

  • Hon. Nick Greiner  AC
  • Mr Cameron Clyne
  • Hon. Craig Knowles  AM
  • Dr Kerry Schott  AO
  • Professor Peter Shergold  AC

Western Sydney to Host the 'Great Population Debate'

Sydney’s growth debate and regional education will be a focus at the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue’s annual Out There Summit, with population sceptic, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Dick Smith, going head to head with some of the region’s leading voices at the Novotel Parramatta, today.  

Dialogue Chairman, Christopher Brown, said that no matter where you stood on the population debate, managing Western Sydney’s growth was too important to ignore and needs to be discussed.

“We’re talking about a region that will absorb around 60 per cent of Sydney’s population growth and 50 per cent of its new jobs over the next 30 years so, like it or not, we need to understand how to best prepare for what’s coming,” he said.

“Some say that a reduction in our immigration intake would ease the pressure on housing affordability and unemployment levels, while many leading planners and economists argue that the region’s long-term success is predicated on population growth, and that a drastic deviation to forecast figures, would be a disaster.

“It’s hard to argue against one of Western Sydney’s greatest strengths - its cultural diversity - and the contribution, both economically and socially, migrants have had made to the region over the past 50 years can’t be overlooked.

“The case is made even stronger when you consider the number of highly-skilled migrants that have filled gaps in our labour market and helped generate business, and employment, opportunities.

“Rather than simply scaling back immigration, let’s work with government to provide the infrastructure, homes, jobs and lifestyle that we need – we can have population and prosperity.

“Some say that if we populate we will perish but I do not agree as the roll out of infrastructure, social services and jobs can see this city, and our region flourish.  The more pertinent point for the Federal and State Governments considering this roll out is that if we procrastinate we will perish.

“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.”

A stellar line up of speakers today include 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. 

WSU Chancellor, Professor Peter Shergold AC will deliver the 2018 Lachlan Macquarie Lecture at the summit, which is presented in partnership with NSW School Infrastructure.

Among the other highlights at today’s Out There Summit:

  • Keynote address and Q&A, with leading Government ministers and local representatives such as Minister for Education, Rob Stokes, Minister for Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres MP and NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley MP.
  • Acclaimed Aussie actor Bryan Brown detailing his deep connection with Bankstown with members of the Bankstown Poetry Slam.
  • Leadership Prizes presented to Mark Geyer OAM, Western Sydney University law student Marija Yelavich, South West Sydney Local Health District and Ingham Institute, and Savannah Pride.
  • Special performance by acclaimed Western Sydney tenor, Lorenzo Rositano
  • 300+ delegates registered to attend across business, government, sport, arts and tourism

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue is a community advocacy initiative designed to give voice to this dynamic region and boost its social and economic progress.  It is governed by a distinguished Board of Patrons, comprising: 

  • Hon. Nick Greiner  AC
  • Mr Cameron Clyne
  • Hon. Craig Knowles  AM
  • Dr Kerry Schott  AO
  • Professor Peter Shergold  AC

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’.”