Work Starts on Australia’s First ‘Smart City’

The development of Australia’s first ‘smart city’ is one step closer, with work set to commence at Sydney Science Park, it was announced today.

Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities, Paul Fletcher MP and NSW Minister for Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, were on hand to mark the occasion, with the 280‐hectare Luddenham site expected to deliver more than 12,000 smart jobs, educate 10,000 students and provide over 3,000 homes, upon completion.

Dialogue Chairman, Christopher Brown AM, said the $5bn Sydney Science Park, owned, and being delivered by Western Sydney‐based property group Celestino, was the exact type of development that the Federal and State Governments had envisioned when they first began planning for the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.

“This is the first sod turned in the Western Sydney Aerotropolis and is proof to this region that the airport is real. As of today the Aertropolis is off and running,” Mr Brown said.
“We are now seeing the economic impact of the Western Sydney Airport in full effect. The Sydney Science Park is the culmination of years of collaboration with industry and key stakeholders in the region and is the first one to spring to life on the back of the biggest infrastructure project in the nation.

“Sydney Science Park is now a reality and the developers, regulators and planners that have made it happen deserve a big thank you from an appreciative Western Sydney community.”
Mr Brown added that Sydney Science Park had a critical role in not only delivering the smart jobs of the future, but providing an environment that will also foster the next generation of leaders, innovators and problem-solvers.

“The City Deal promised Western Sydney 200,000 new knowledge jobs and today signals the green light on this smart employment crusade,” Mr Brown said.

“The infrastructure boom in Western Sydney has just kicked off and it’s going to continue to explode over the coming decades. To have a mixed-use facility, which can aide the development of the next wave of engineers, scientists and researchers, right on the doorstep of all this activity, is an enormous asset,” he said.

The first stage of development at Sydney Science Park includes a mix of commercial, residential, education and open space. The commercial buildings have been designed for a multitude of uses including retail; commercial; co‐working spaces; education; childcare and executive short term residential accommodation.

The remainder of the first stage includes over 170 homes, a one‐acre central park and NSW’s first ‘pre-post’ STEM school. Celestino anticipates that the first of its commercial buildings along with the STEM school will be operational by 2021.

Media Information:
Adam Leto — Director
Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue
0419 019 637

Media release - PDF here

NSW 2018-19 Budget Breakdown


The 2018-19 NSW Budget was handed down on June 19 by Treasurer Dominic Perrottet; his second as treasurer, and the Berejiklian Government’s last Budget before the March 2019 state election.

Similar to the preceeding two Budgets , the 2018-19 Budget focuses strongly on hospitals, education and transport infrastructure. A total of $87.2 billion over the next four years will be invested in the state’s infrastructure pipeline. This includes $8b for health infrastructure, $6.8b to deliver schools and training centres, and $51.2b for road and rail projects.

The 2017-18 Budget surplus stands at $3.9b with surpluses averaging of $1.6b projected in each year over the forward estimates. The surplus exceeds last year’s Budget and mid-year forecasts, and is widely expected to fund additional commitments in the lead up to the March 2019 election. 

NSW Generations Fund

The Government has established the NSW Generations Fund, a new sovereign wealth fund with $3b in seed funding allocated and further funding to flow from the Government’s asset recycling prgram. The dividends of this fund will used to fund small-scale projects, which can be nominated and voted for by all members of the community over the age of 16. Projects may include playgrounds, community mobility services, public gardens, upgrades to local sporting facilities, public artworks and festivals, programs for at risk youth, and healthy lifestyles initiatives.


Of the $8b in health infrastructure spending, approximately $3.8b will be spent on Greater Western Sydney. New funding includes $740m for the Liverpool Health and Academic Precinct (complete 2026), $75m for the land for the future Rouse Hill Health Service, and $25m for the Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital Emergency Department (complete 2020).

Continued funding includes:

  • $765m for Stage 1 of the Westmead Hospital Redevelopment;
  • $632m going to Stage 1 and 2 of the Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospital Redevelopment;
  • $632m for Stage 2 of the Campbelltown Hospital Redevelopment;
  • $550m for Stage 1 of the Nepean Hospital Redevelopment;
  • $95m to Stage 1 of the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Redevelopment; and
  • $91.5m for the Lidcombe forensic pathology lab and Coroner’s court.

Westmead, Campbelltown, Blacktown and Nepean Hospitals all received continued funding for redevelopment of their respective car parks.

Non-infrastructure related investments in health in the 2018-19 Budget included a landmark $156.5m for a new Parents Package to improve the wellbeing of new parents and their babies, and investing $23.7m in 2018-19 for ambulance services to employ an additional 700 paramedics and 50 call centre staff over four years. The existing $12m investment in drug and alcohol serves and the $82.5m for community based mental health services is continued.   


The 2018-19 Budget includes $6.8b over the forward estimates to spend on education infrastructure across NSW, a further increase of $2.6b on last year’s landmark investment in school projects. This includes the delivery of over 170 new and upgraded schools and training facilities, approximately $500m for the installation of air-conditioning in various schools, and almost $400m worth of TAFE NSW infrastructure investment.  

Western Sydney received funding for 28 new and upgraded schools including a new primary and high school at Edmondson Park, a new primary school at Westmead, and continued funding for the construction of the new high-rise Arthur Phillip High School in Parramatta.

This Budget also works towards extending universal education access to preschool for three-year-olds by injecting $197.8m over the forward estimates into community preschools through the (existing) Start Strong Program. NSW is the first state in Australia to do so, and this is expected to, on average, save participating families $825 dollars per year from January 2019.

The Budget will inject $285.2m over six years to fund 100,000 free apprenticeships with TAFE or other registered providers. This is an effort by the NSW Government to increase apprenticeship commencements by removing the financial barrier to participating, and thereby address skills shortages in areas of significant demand in NSW.  


With $51.2b budgeted over the forward estimates, spending on transport has exceeded that of the 2017-18 NSW Budget’s record investment. This aims to deliver over 3,500 road and rail projects across the state. Western Sydney will benefit from this spending through a number of projects including:

  • $3b in new funding reserved in Restart NSW for Sydney Metro West, with a further $28.1m for the planning and business case, which is already well underway;
  • $3.5b for to complete Sydney Metro Northwest, with $2.4b to be spent in 2018-19;
  • $780m for new roads and road upgrades across Western Sydney.
  • $50m (also matched by the Federal Government) for the project development and business case of North South Rail for the Western Sydney Airport, Stage 1; and
  • $400m committed to Parramatta Light Rail, with $258m committed this year to commence construction of Stage 1 and $20m for Stage 2 planning.


The budget includes $2.4b in capital spending across the forward estimates for housing and social infrastructure throughout NSW. In addition to this, $1.1b seed capital will be provided for the Social and Affordable Housing Fund (announced 2016-17), and over the next decade $22b will go into the Communities Plus Program and $2.8b for the upgrade and maintenance of social housing.

The Social and Affordable Housing Fund is the NSW Government’s current approach for commissioning social and affordable housing. The Fund is presently in Phase 1, where 2,200 additional social and affordable dwellings are being delivered. Phase 2 is expected to begin by December 2018 and is targeting the delivery of up to 1,200 dwellings, with a focus on housing women aged 55 and over. 

Specifically for Western Sydney, $30m ($15m each from the NSW and Federal Governments) has been set aside for the Western Sydney Parkland City Housing Package. The goal of this package is to ensure sustainable growth through streamlined and optimised planning practices.

Community Services

Over the forward estimates the NSW Government is investing an additional $59.1m into the NSW statutory child protection system. This includes adding an extra 100 child protection workers to ensure more children are supported in the system, and to help achieve the goal of 1,000 open adoptions over the next four years.

Also included for community services is an $87m injection into Community Transport and Community Care services to assist people who have difficulties accessing transport.

The Budget contains funding for a number of Aboriginal services programs. This includes $33.1m for the Aboriginal Social Housing Strategy, and $10m for social impact investment to support Aboriginal economic development across the forward estimates. Also included for 2018-19 is $3.75m to support an additional 1,000 student placements in the Clontarf Foundation program, and $2.8m for the establishment of Australia’s first Aboriginal Languages Trust.

To address domestic violence and reduce homelessness, new initiatives include $61.1m over four years to implement the NSW Homelessness Strategy 2018-2023 (programs including Staying Home Leaving Violence, sustaining tenancy supports, social impact investment and transitional accommodation), and $44.1m over three years to support people impacted by domestic violence and reduce reoffending and re-victimisation.


The big-ticket item for sport is the continued funding of the Western Sydney Stadium - $183.7m in 2018-19 with an estimated total cost of $360m. The project is due for completion in early 2019, providing a stunning new home facility for the Parramatta Eels and Western Sydney Wanderers.

Through the Western Sydney City Deal, the Western Sydney Parkland City Liveability Program came to being. The NSW Budget contributes $60m towards this, with the Federal Government matching that sum, and local councils funding $30m. This project will deliver community infrastructure and public spaces to promote an active and healthy lifestyle.

Reserved from Restart NSW is $100m for the Greater Sydney Sports Facility Fund. This will be used to develop or upgrade local sports facilities, including ovals, dressing rooms, kiosks, and equipment.

Additionally, the $30m put into the Share our Space program aims to open more than 80 public schools to the public throughout school holidays to encourage greater use of school facilities such as playgrounds, ovals and sport courts.


The Government is seeking to improve liveability for communities across NSW, and is allocating $287.5m over five years to do so. Programs within this include $100m for the acquisition of green and open space for public use across the Greater Sydney region, and $37.5m to partner with communities, councils and businesses to increase the average tree canopy across Sydney, by planting an extra five million native trees.

For further information

This overview document is a summary of key measures included in the Budget that are of relevance to Western Sydney and the Dialogue policy and advocacy agenda. The above list and analysis are not exhaustive, and cover highlights only. For more specific information on any of this, or any other Budget item, please contact the Dialogue team.

Luke Turner, Director (Policy & Analysis):
Lauren Nicholls, Policy Officer:

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
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:
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