Dialogue welcomes new Blacktown University Campus

Western Sydney’s reputation as a hub for research, education and innovation, continues to grow, with today’s announcement that Australian Catholic University (ACU) will open a new campus in Blacktown CBD.

Chairman of the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, Christopher Brown AM, who is also Pro Chancellor at Western Sydney University and Convenor of Advance Blacktown, a civic leadership forum, welcomed the news of the region’s newest educational centre.

“Blacktown Mayor Stephen Bali has driven support for a local university, and this project, which starts with an innovative pop-up campus in Main Street, is a game-changer for the city,” Mr Brown said. “He deserves great praise for his leadership in securing this big hometown win.”

Mr Brown said the new campus should provide the spark for a broader renewal of the Blacktown CBD. “Blacktown is well-connected and is at the centre of a huge population catchment with a growing appetite for higher education. A university campus should be the first step in a larger urban renewal project for the Blacktown CBD, leveraging its existing transport, health, entertainment and retail assets.

Today’s announcement builds on recent new campus announcements at Westmead, Parramatta and Badgerys Creek, as more and more universities begin to recognise the potential and growth opportunities in Western Sydney.

ACU’s commitment to Blacktown sees them join WSU, UNSW, Sydney and Wollongong universities as institutions which have all recently announced plans to develop new facilities in the region.

“We’ve seen the impact that universities have had on cities in Western Sydney, not only in terms of education, but helping generate positive urban, social and economic outcomes. Parramatta, Campbelltown and Liverpool are great examples and we can expect a similar outcome in many of our other growth areas, including Blacktown,” Mr Brown said.

The Dialogue also paid tribute to ACU Chairman, Hon. John Fahey AC, for his personal support of Western Sydney.

The university will invest $220 million in the fit-out of an interim building and two permanent, high-rise buildings in Warrick Lane. The interim campus is the first phase in ACU’s program that will see four faculties set up. The new campus will occupy part of Blacktown Council’s Main St building, while two high-rises along Warrick Lane are built.

Enrolments in Blacktown courses will start in 2020 across education and arts; health sciences; law and business; and theology and philosophy.

ACU is Australia’s largest provider of graduate teachers and nurses and is ranked in the top 3% of university’s worldwide. An information centre will be established at the Main St building in 2019.

Dialogue 2019 Overview

In 2018, the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue expanded its events, engagement and advocacy program to include a stronger focus on the social, education and environmental factors contributing to the region’s growth.

Community was at the centre of our programming, with the Dialogue working closely with a number of councils to better understand and respond to local issues. We also provided professional, commercial and personal support for local projects such as the Bankstown Poetry Slam’s annual Grand Slam, the Western Sydney Community Forum’s Build Beyond Bricks program, the Public Education Foundation’s Scholarship Fund, Savannah Pride’s migrant basketball pathway project and the Blue Datto young driver awareness program, to name just a few.

This support, combined with a program that was focussed on raising awareness of the region’s major social issues, represented a shift in the Dialogue’s core business, which had traditionally centred on campaigning for infrastructure investment.

While we are proud of our strong track-record when it comes to advocating for ongoing government and private sector investment in rail lines, roads, hospitals, schools and arts and cultural facilities, and will continue to push for stronger economic and governance reform to support Greater Western Sydney’s growth, the year ahead reflects the Dialogue’s commitment to continue to help facilitate the creation of a more liveable, dynamic, healthier and smart city.

We will be particularly active over the next six months in the lead-up to the NSW and Federal Elections, where the tussle for key seats in the region is likely to elevate Greater Western Sydney’s growth agenda.

Part of our conversations will explore governments’ role in delivering, and prioritising, the necessary infrastructure investment to keep pace with projected population growth. But just as important for the Dialogue is to make sure these upcoming opportunities also outline why the region’s success is as much about building its capacity, resilience and wellbeing, as it is delivering new infrastructure.

This includes firmer government commitments that reduce the incidence of domestic violence, obesity and urban heating, deliver a clear jobs strategy, improve accessibility and build a more productive, lively and cohesive Greater Western Sydney.

Dialogue 2019 Overview here.

Adam Leto
Executive Director
Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue

Dialogue Year in Review

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue takes a look back on what’s been a busy 12 months for the region in its annual re-cap of 2018 – a year highlighted by the Western Sydney Aerotropolis sparking a wave of activity and investment, a number of major tourism, education, health, arts and sports projects announced, and the population vs infrastructure debate emerging as a major policy focus.

Education & Skills

Education was a major theme in 2018, with Western Sydney benefiting from a tertiary sector keen to leverage the region’s young, growing, and aspirational population, and the NSW Government recognising the need for more, and better equipped schools to support this growth.

Early in the year, Western Sydney University (WSU) announced the site for its new Bankstown CBD Campus, adjacent to Paul Keating Park and bookended by Canterbury-Bankstown Council and the Bryan Brown Theatre, with the site expected to spark the revitalisation of the city centre.

The Bankstown campus follows on the opening of its newest campus, ‘Ngara Ngura’ at Liverpool, accommodating up to 2500 students with a focus on nursing, social work, anthropology, criminology and policing. WSU also announced another new 15-storey campus in the Parramatta CBD, in partnership with the University of NSW, which will house undergraduate engineering, architecture and business programs.

UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, &  WSU Vice-Chancellor and President Prof. Barney Glover

UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, &
WSU Vice-Chancellor and President Prof. Barney Glover

Both UNSW Sydney and WSU, along with the University of Wollongong and University of Newcastle, were announced as part of a new ‘Multiversity’ campus at the aerotropolis, which will specialise in STEM.

Over at Westmead, Sydney University’s plans for a new integrated campus at the Old Cumberland Hospital site, also created plenty of excitement when it was announced by the NSW Premier, with the $500m project helping build skills and knowledge in the areas of advanced manufacturing, data and artificial intelligence.

Education was a major focus at the Dialogue’s ‘Out There’ Summit, sponsored by Schools Infrastructure NSW, and featuring Minister Rob Stokes as the keynote speaker and Dialogue Patron, Professor Peter Shergold, delivering the annual Lachlan Macquarie Lecture.

In the NSW Budget, the State Government announced that it will spend $6b to deliver new schools and upgrade existing ones over the next four years, with the bulk of these works taking place in Western Sydney.

And after years of behind-the-scenes build-up,work finally commenced on Sydney Science Park, the 280ha site, and northern gateway to the Western Sydney Airport. Upon completion, the $5b project is expected to deliver more than 12,000 smart jobs, educate 10,000 students and provide over 3,000 homes. It will house NSW’s first STEM school, a K-12 landmark projects developed in partnership with Catholic Education.

The Dialogue campaigned for reform to TAFE funding through 2018, with calls for vocational students to receive access to the same Federal scheme that finances university students. TAFE also welcomed a new Managing Director this year, Caralee McLiesh.

Breaking ground at the Sydney Science Park with Minister for Transport & Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, Minister for Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres and John Vassallo, CEO of Celestino

Breaking ground at the Sydney Science Park with Minister for Transport & Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, Minister for Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres and John Vassallo, CEO of Celestino


The signing of the Western Sydney City Deal, an historic agreement between locals councils and state and federal government, was a major win, and off the back of this announcement, delivered $7b towards a North-South rail line that links the region’s growth areas via the Western Sydney Airport.

Interest in and around the Aerotropolis picked up pace, with a number of MOUs signed with international corporate heavyweights such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG), along with Sydney Markets, who have all signalled their intent to establish a presence within the precinct.

Master-planning for the Aerotropolis, ongoing investment attraction and implementation of the City Deal, will be driven by the newly established Western City and Aerotropolis Authority, headed by former NSW Health Infrastructure CEO, Sam Sangster, with Greater Sydney Commission’s Geoff Roberts as Interim Chair.

Western Sydney’s other major transport project, the Metro West, linking Westmead to the CBD, also received $3b in State funding, with the business case for what NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance refers to as the “state’s most important transport project”, expected to be finalised in early 2019. Federal Labor has offered another $3b for the “steal spine” project and the Dialogue has called on the Morrison Government to match or exceed this.

WestConnex continues its development and was purchased by Transurban this year, and the new M4 East Tunnel will open next year. There is continued political controversy over the South West Metro line to Bankstown with Labor and Liberals differing in their views. The Dialogue supports the line strongly but wants the money restored to the urban amenity package.

Sam sangster (Health infrastructure NSW) & sue-anne redmond (Western Sydney Local Health District) presented with the award for project of the year: health category winner at boomtown 2018

Sam sangster (Health infrastructure NSW) & sue-anne redmond (Western Sydney Local Health District) presented with the award for project of the year: health category winner at boomtown 2018


Western Sydney’s health precincts continued to build momentum, particularly in Liverpool, which received $720m funding from the State Government to develop a new state-of-the-art health research and education precinct at Liverpool Hospital.

The investment builds on the area’s already impressive health and research assets and has the potential to double the number of local jobs by 2036.

The redevelopment of Westmead Hospital, which celebrated its 40th birthday, continued to progress, while a new Dialysis Centre, aimed at reducing the risk of diabetes, was opened by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian at Mt Druitt as part of Stage 2 of the $700m redevelopment of Blacktown and Mt Druitt Hospitals.

Campbelltown Hospital’s $630m Stage 2 redevelopment was also ongoing and formed the centre-piece in Council’s new plans for a world-class health and education precinct, anchored by the university, hospital, TAFE and research facilities. However, the City Deal failed to deliver the expected $20m to extend the Ingham Institute to Campbelltown, with its smart jobs in medical research, and the Dialogue will continue to campaign for it in the Federal and State election campaigns.

Artist’s impression of the redevelopment of olympic park

Artist’s impression of the redevelopment of olympic park

Arts, Sport, Tourism

The Powerhouse Museum move from Ultimo to Parramatta was finally confirmed and is expected to open by 2023. Located on the banks of Parramatta River, and opposite Riverside Theatres, the $645m facility will also include a 30m-wide domed planetarium, the largest of its kind in Australia.

The opening of the Inglis Stables and Hotel facility at Warwick Farm has made a huge impact on local tourism, and was the big winner of the Dialogue’s Project of the Year awards at Boomtown in November. The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW is currently finalising its Cabinet submission to fund the redevelopment of its Sydney Showgrounds to provide Western Sydney with its own convention and exhibition centre at Olympic Park.

However, “stadium wars” continue across the region. While the old Parramatta Stadium will open at the Bankwest Stadium in April, neither side of politics has fully committed to a proper rectangularisation of ANZ Stadium or an expansion of Spotless Stadium at Olympic Park.

Western Sydney performing arts centre

Western Sydney performing arts centre

Not far away at Rooty Hill, the vision for the Western Sydney Performing Arts Centre, a state-of-the-art, privately funded $100m facility, at West HQ, was released to the public. Dubbed the ‘Opera House of the West’ the 2000-seat theatre will be able to house large-scale musicals, ballet and opera companies, and symphony orchestras, and is expected to attract some of the world’s headline acts when it opens in 2019.

Western Sydney will soon have two teams in the A-league, with the Macarthur South-West bid, led by Campbelltown Council, beating off a competitive field to secure one of two new licences. The Macarthur South-West team will enter the A-League competition in 2020 and play out of Campbelltown Stadium.

future forum: community infrastructure, held on 1 November

future forum: community infrastructure, held on 1 November


The Dialogue continued to raise awareness about key social issues and initiatives in 2018. It partnered with the Western Sydney Community Forum to launch its Building Beyond Bricks campaign aimed at promoting the importance of investment in social services, not just public infrastructure.

It also hosted a Future Forum, which included speakers from local and state government, and private enterprise, who discussed how we can best plan and fund community infrastructure.

Later in the year, the Dialogue was announced as a formal partner of the Kimberwalli Centre, based at the old Whalan High School site (formerly known as the Aboriginal Centre for Excellence) which is expected to facilitate a range of opportunities for Indigenous youth when it opens its doors next year.

Mayor Chagai presented with the Pemulwuy Prize by Christopher Brown, Chairman of the Dialogue & Stuart Ayres, Minister for Western Sydney

Mayor Chagai presented with the Pemulwuy Prize by Christopher Brown, Chairman of the Dialogue & Stuart Ayres, Minister for Western Sydney

The Dialogue continued its support of Savannah Pride, operating from the PCYC centre at Blacktown and providing young people with an outlet for young South Sudanese teenagers that is focussed as much on education, as it is basketball.

As part of its thought-leadership series, the Dialogue launched its discussion paper, Putting Domestic and Family Violence on the Agenda, outlining a number of recommendations aimed at helping reduce the incidence of domestic violence. (Sydney Morning Herald article here.)

The Dialogue has received positive support from a number of key stakeholder groups keen to ensure the issue remains a priority for our community, business and political leaders heading into 2019 — and it will be the focus of our first Future Forum in early 2019.



In the face of growing conversation about how we prepare for the region’s growing population, the Dialogue (WSLD), in partnership with the Sydney Business Chamber, launched a new report 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 put forward a number of options for consideration, particularly on issues around local government reform.

Off the back of this report, the Dialogue advocated for a number of its recommendations, including the appointment of a Co-ordinator General for major growth precincts such as the Aerotropolis, and Greater Parramatta Olympic Peninsula (GPOP) Corridor - similar to the governance model in the Western City.

Sydney Business Chambers' David Borger and population provocateur Dick Smith ac with Dr Andy Marks (WSU) at the 2018 Out There Summit

Sydney Business Chambers' David Borger and population provocateur Dick Smith ac with Dr Andy Marks (WSU) at the 2018 Out There Summit


The Dialogue’s annual Out There Summit returned for a third year and explored the role education and health play in the development of our growth centres, and also tackled issues such as postcode discrimination, regional reputation and how to prepare for Western Sydney's population explosion, featuring a debate between Sydney Business Chamber’s David Borger and entrepreneur Dick Smith.

The annual Pemulwuy Prize was awarded to Mayor Chagai for his role in helping reshape the lives of marginalised and disadvantaged youth in Blacktown, through his Savannah Pride basketball program. In a moving, and humble acceptance speech, Mayor dedicated the award to the countless people who helped him on his long journey from the war in South Sudan to Australia.

The Dialogue’s other major event, its Property and Infrastructure Summit BOOMTOWN!, once again brought "the west to town" and with it, regional influencers across community, business and government to talk all things development, property, finance and infrastructure.

Hon. Mike Baird at the Dialogue's Inaugural Pre-Boomtown Dinner

Hon. Mike Baird at the Dialogue's Inaugural Pre-Boomtown Dinner

This year we explored the opportunities that catalytic projects like Sydney Metro West and the world's newest Airport at Badgerys Creek could have on urban renewal, liveability and economic development as well as the critical role innovative partnerships play in helping to drive positive social, economic and urban outcomes.

For the first time, The Dialogue Patrons' Prize for Excellence in Public Policy as well as the Project of the Year Awards were presented at the inaugural pre-conference dinner. The impressive Inglis Development at Warwick Farm was declared this year’s winner, while the Hon. Mike Baird and the Lindy Deitz, Chief Executive of the City of Campbelltown), Dr Steven Kennedy, (Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development & Cities), and Geoff Roberts (Deputy Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission) also took home gongs for excellence in public policy.

The evening also showcased Western Sydney's talent with performances from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Bankstown Poetry Slam, and included an address by former NSW Premier, the Hon. Mike Baird, who reflected on his achievements in office as Premier and Treasurer and the substantial legacy of his leadership in the state's impressive infrastructure pipeline.

Federal Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, at Revesby Workers Club

Federal Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, at Revesby Workers Club

Continuing its work at a local level, the Dialogue also staged a number of more intimate events, forums and workshops to draw attention to some of the work being undertaken throughout the region.

This included the launch of Reimagine Campbelltown, the Council’s new city vision announced at NSW Parliament House in front of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and a number of leading stakeholders.

While last month, the Dialogue hosted Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Revesby Workers Club, in a working lunch partnered by Canterbury Bankstown Council.

Congratulations to Macarthur South West on Joining the A-League

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue congratulates the City of Campbelltown on its successful bid for the Macarthur South West team to join the A-League in 2020.

Today's announcement also recognises Campbelltown's role as the centre of the nation's most dynamic growth region.

"This is great news for Western Sydney, now home to two A-League teams, and will help reshape the Campbelltown CBD," said Christopher Brown, Chairman of the Dialogue.

"I congratulate Campbelltown Mayor George Brticevic and CEO Lindy Deitz for their civic leadership and tireless efforts on behalf of their community."

Mr Brown added that on the back of this announcement, the Dialogue will be using the looming state and federal elections to call for better transport connectivity for the region and funding to upgrade Campbelltown stadium to enhance its capacity to host major sporting and entertainment events.


For media information

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

Dialogue Calls for Domestic Violence Inquiry

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue has called on state and federal MPs, and election candidates, to make domestic violence their top law and order priority, heading into the 2019 polls.

Off the back of last week’s White Ribbon Day, which successfully raised awareness about the issue, the Dialogue has today released its own discussion paper, Putting Domestic and Family Violence on the Agenda, outlining a number of recommendations aimed at helping reduce the incidence of domestic violence, particularly in Western Sydney.

Dialogue Chair, Christopher Brown AM, recognised that the State Government had taken a pro-active stance on domestic violence in recent years, but more could still be done.

“The fact is that Western Sydney, along with regional NSW, has a much higher rate of domestic assault than other parts of the state, and in some areas is double the rate in Eastern Sydney,” Mr Brown said.

“Over the last decade we’ve seen a drop in many of the major crime categories across the board – unfortunately domestic violence is trending in the other direction – and it’s time we started to really dig deep into the underlying factors.”

Among the key recommendations of the Dialogue’s report is the establishment of a Royal Commission, to thoroughly examine the issue and identify how the government, police, courts, the community and private sector can help tackle the problem.

“Domestic and family violence is a complex matter which touches so many people and sections of the community, and through a Royal Commission, similar to what we’ve seen recently in Victoria, we’ll not only be better informed, but have a clearer understanding on how we can all contribute to a solution.”

“This year alone, more than one woman has died each week at the hands of their partner or family member. It’s simply unacceptable and while the ongoing advocacy of our community and political leaders should be applauded, we need to take it to that next level.”

Some of the key findings and recommendations of the Dialogue’s report:

  • Across Australia in 2018, as of 19 November 2018, 61 women have been murdered by a partner or family member – more than one murder per week.

  • 59% of all domestic violence cases in Sydney are in Greater Western Sydney

  • Over the last decade, domestic violence assaults, indecent assault, and sexual assault crime categories have remained static or trended upwards, while other major crime categories have been in steady decline.

  • Rates of Domestic violence in Greater Western Sydney and Regional NSW are unacceptably higher than the state-wide average. In some areas of GWS, the per capita rates of reported DV assaults are double those of the eastern parts of Sydney.

  • In 2015-16 the overall cost of domestic and family violence in Australia was $22 billion.

Dialogue recommendations include:

  • That the NSW Government consider establishing a Royal Commission into Domestic and Family Violence in NSW.

  • $20 million over five years to develop and implement a primary prevention public health model around family and domestic violence in Greater Western Sydney. (As recommended by the Western Sydney Community Forum).

  • Replicate the NSW Government’s recent introduction of 10 days of paid domestic violence leave per year for all NSW public sector employees to all NSW workplaces.

  • The NSW Government adopt a similar approach to the Victorian Government in tracking the progress of the implementation of strategies designed to combat the prevalence of domestic and family violence, like how we track the road toll and evaluate our strategies to reduce it.

Click here to access the full Dialogue paper; ‘Putting Domestic and Family Violence on the Agenda’.

For media information

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

Dialogue Welcomes New Aerotropolis Authority & CEO

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue has welcomed the establishment of the Western City and Aerotropolis Authority (WCAA), to be led by CEO Sam Sangster, announced today.

The new authority will be responsible for the master-planning of the Aerotropolis and also have a key role in driving investment, education and employment opportunities across the Western Parkland City, which includes Liverpool, Campbelltown, Penrith and Camden.

“The State Government, along with the Greater Sydney Commission’s Geoff Roberts, as Co-ordinator General of the Western City, have already kicked a number of goals in this growth precinct, and today’s announcement not only provides a more streamlined system of governance, but will help facilitate greater co-ordination and collaboration,” Chair of the Dialogue, Christopher Brown AM, said.

“The appointment of Sam Sangster as its CEO, formerly of Health Infrastructure NSW, and one of the country’s most respected bureaucrats, is a smart move and his experience in delivering major capital projects across both the public and private sectors will prove most valuable.”

“Mind you, Sam will be dearly missed from Health, having recently delivered billions of dollars to the development of Westmead, Campbelltown, Blacktown and Liverpool Hospitals. His successor will now have the important challenge of finding a downtown location to accommodate a new Bankstown Hospital in south west Sydney.”

Mr Brown added that in addition to overseeing the strategic planning, infrastructure and development within the Aerotropolis, the new Authority will also play a role in attracting national, and international investment.

“Over the past 12 months a number of agreements with international heavyweights have been secured, along with Australia’s own ‘multiversity’ featuring some of the state’s top universities in a combined campus,” Mr Brown said.

“There is global interest in this precinct, and this new Authority will be key to ensuring these opportunities are leveraged and considered within the strategic context of the broader region.

“Today’s announcement that Sydney Markets will also call the Aerotropolis home, is further proof of the confidence that business and industry have in Western Sydney and will no doubt open up a range of opportunities across agribusiness and logistics, both locally and nationally.”

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