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