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

Green Light for New M12 Proposal

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue has welcomed the new design proposal for the M12 motorway, which will help ensure the long-term protection, and viability, of the Western Sydney Parklands.   

Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities Paul Fletcher along with NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey, unveiled the preliminary M12 design today, with the project expected to be completed in time for the opening of the Western Sydney Airport in 2026.

 Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue Chairman, Christopher Brown AM, who previously sat on the Western Sydney Parklands reference group, said that the proposed motorway design would ensure one of the region’s most recognised, and popular, public spaces, would continue to thrive.

“Under this new plan, the eastern section of the M12 route will move northward to protect the Western Sydney Parklands, one of our most valuable green corridors, which is great news for the thousands of families in Western Sydney who enjoy these facilities year round, ” Mr Brown said.

“One of the key messages that the NSW Government, and the Greater Sydney Commission, has heard through its engagement with the community on its major plans for the region, is the demand for high-quality public recreational space.

“I’d like to congratulate both Minister Fletcher and Minister Davey for listening, and responding to these needs and also to pay credit to Western Sydney Parklands CEO, Suellen Fitzgerald, for the great job she’s done in establishing this site as one of the region’s most prized assets.”

AECOM joins Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue

Over a number of years AECOM has actively supported the growth and evolution of Western Sydney, delivering infrastructure and creating places that have enhanced the local economy and quality of life for residents and businesses.

 AECOM’s team of civil engineers, designers, urban planners and environmental specialists have contributed to a broad range of projects in Western Sydney including the M7 Western Sydney Orbital, the planning and realisation of the Western Sydney Growth Centres.

In a further demonstration of its commitment to the region AECOM recently opened a brand new Western Sydney office in the heart of Parramatta, led by Western Sydney Director, Justine Kinch.

“The new partnership with the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue is the logical next step in our strategy to help shape the future for the region, and gives us a platform to share our applied research/thought leadership program which is currently focused on Western Sydney and the pivot from vision to implementation ” said Ms Kinch.

“We think it is the ideal forum to drive the collaboration that will be essential to help Western Sydney optimise the benefits of the myriad of infrastructure investments that are planned or already underway.”