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.