Welcome to the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue's monthly e-update, providing a snapshot of news, events and initiatives impacting the region.

In this month's update, we wrap up the State Election and Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s public sector restructure, re-cap the federal budget and confirm the federal election as 18 May, and share good news about Western Sydney schools' NAPLAN results, as well as BankWest Stadium's grand opening.

What's in this month's e-update? 

  • Post-State Election Wrap
  • Federal Election Confirmed for 18 May & Federal Budget Re-Cap
  • Celestino Hosts 'Autonomous City' Think-Tank
  • Parramatta Developments Progressing
  • Bright Sparks Shine in Western Sydney
  • BankWest Stadium Throws Open Doors
  • New Housing Development Concept
  • Close the Gap 2019: Airds Launch
  • Out There Summit '19 Moves to Bankstown
  • Health District Welcomes Future Leaders
  • Urban Theatre Projects & Western Sydney University Join Forces
  • Apprenticeship Pathways for Camden High Students
  • ANZ Stadium to Host Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
  • Sydney Writers' Festival Heads West
  • Marcarthur Businesses Win National Awards
  • 22nd Annual Education & Training Research Conference

In the News

Post-State Election Wrap

A little over three weeks after Premier Gladys Berejiklian's victory at the 2019 State Election, the vote count is now complete, and the make-up of the NSW Upper House for the next four years has been revealed. In a House of 42 seats, the Berejiklian Government will need to secure five votes from a diverse crossbench of 11 (3 Greens, 2 Shooters, 2 One Nation, 2 Animal Justice, 1 Independent and 1 Christian Democratic Party MP) to deliver its policy agenda - it previously had to secure just two additional crossbench votes.

The final count in all Lower House seats is also now complete with a few noteworthy outcomes across Western Sydney:

  • Wollondilly, where a strong challenge from Independent local Mayor Judy Hannan saw the Liberal Party's margin reduced from 17.3% to now 5.5%. 
  • The rapid growth and suburbanisation of Camden delivered a 10.7% swing to Labor, who had not previously enjoyed much electoral success in the area. A new margin of 7.6% in the seat will certainly pique the interests of political strategists moving forward, and the rapid population growth will likely see a redistribution of boundaries in the near future. 
  • In the State's previously most marginal seat, East Hills, voters bucked the state-wide trend and defied the expectations of many, delivering a 0.1% swing to the Government. It remains the most marginal seat at 0.5% but was a key hold for Berejiklian in her election win. 
  • Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres retained Penrith, despite a 4.9% swing to Labor, leaving the seat now the second most marginal on 1.3%. 
  • Holsworthy, Riverstone, Seven Hills and Londonderry all delivered swings against sitting MPs that will see them move from the 'fairly safe' to 'in-play' category at the next election in 2023.

Public sector restructure
Shortly after the election, and with a fresh mandate to lead the state forward, the Premier also revealed a significant restructure of the public sector, with the following eight agency clusters bringing a sharper focus to social reforms and regional NSW:

  • Stronger Communities - merging the functions of the former Family & Communities and Justice Clusters, under Secretary Michael Coutts-Trotter, previously Secretary of the FACS Cluster.  
  • Planning & Industry - bringing together the former Planning & Environment and Industry Clusters, under new Secretary Jim Betts, the former CEO of Infrastructure NSW. 
  • Customer Service - a new Cluster with authority to plan, prioritise, fund and drive digital transformation and improvements to customer service across every Cluster of Government. The Secretary will be former NSW Customer Service Commissioner, Glenn King.
  • Health - this Cluster remains largely unchanged, with Elizabeth Koff continuing as Secretary.
  • Premier & Cabinet - DPC will bring in Aboriginal Affairs, the Arts, Heritage and Employee Relations. Urban Growth and Barangaroo Delivery Authority were abolished as executive agencies within DPC. Tim Reardon remains as Secretary of DPC.
  • Transport - RMS will cease to operate as a separate agency, with its functions coming completely under TfNSW. Within Transport, a restructure of divisions has also occurred, with a fresh focus on Regional Transport, place-making, customer service and technology reflected in the changes. Rodd Staples remains as Secretary.
  • Treasury - an expanded Cluster, tasking on the functions of the former Finance, Services & Innovation Cluster and the economic development functions of the former Industry Cluster, including the Western Sydney Ministerial portfolio. Michael Pratt will continue to serve as Secretary.
  • Education - Skills and VET, including TAFE, will move from Industry back into the Education Cluster, giving it a holistic focus from early childhood through to adult education, with Mark Scott remaining as Secretary.


Federal Election Confirmed for 18 May &
Federal Budget Re-Cap

The Federal Election has been called for Saturday 18 May, with just over four weeks until Australians gather at the polls.
Confirmation of the election date follows on from the Federal Budget's release early this month, with funding wins for a number of Western Sydney projects, including the North-South Rail Link, upgrades to Horsley Drive and Homebush Bay Drive and additional funds for the M12 Motorway.
Notably missing, however, is funding for the Metro West rail project - a missed opportunity for the Morrison Government to demonstrate its support for the economic development of Greater Western Sydney.
Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue Chairman, Christopher Brown AM, described Metro West as Sydney's most transformative transport project. He said upon completion of its first link, it will generate tens of thousands of jobs, unlock the potential of the city's two CBDs, in Sydney and Parramatta, as well as help battle congestion.
"Turbo charging economic development in the Greater West can only be done with infrastructure that brings Olympic Park to life, opens up Camellia, encourages more businesses to locate in Parramatta and boosts the high tech medical/education hub at Westmead," he said.
Included in the Federal Budget for Western Sydney was:

  • $3.5 billion for the Western Sydney North-South Rail Link
  • $405 million additional funds for the M12 Motorway
  • $95 million to improve The Horsley Drive
  • $50 million of improvements for Homebush Bay Drive (including Australia Ave & Underwood Rd)
  • Upgrades to commuter parking at Panania
  • Part of a $328 million package to support domestic violence prevention measures
  • $200 million for a new Hawkesbury River Crossing at Windsor

Read the full media release about the Federal Budget here.


Artist's impression of Sydney Science Park

Celestino Hosts 'Autonomous City'

Some of the world's leading manufacturers, tech companies and start-ups recently partnered with Celestino, developers of Sydney Science Park, to help map out the future of the site. 

Held in conjunction with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) the 'think-tank' was focussed on autonomous technology and included participants from Sage Automation, Hyundai, Bosch, Navya, Westfield (a leading provider of autonomous vehicles in the UK) and CSIRO.

"Autonomous technology is changing all aspects of our lives and transforming careers and lifestyle,"
Duncan Challen, General Manager of Business Development, Celestino, said. "Sydney Science Park will be at the forefront of implementing this technology at a city-wide scale.
"We understand the city will be surrounded by established communities, so we will see a range of traditional and autonomous technology that accommodates everyone."
He said he anticipated the autonomous Sydney Science City to be a reality within the next five to ten years.

Read the original article here.


Parramatta Developments Progressing

Walker Group has won the contract to house more than 4,200 government workers in Parramatta, with the NSW Government leasing 4,300 sqm of A-grade office space. 

The new $3.2 billion Parramatta Square will become home to over 4,000 government staff, though which sectors are moving has yet to be determined. 

"Once completed, the public-sector workforce occupying 6 Parramatta Square is expected to inject $37 million a year in retail spending in the CBD, providing a boost for local businesses and the local economy," said Melinda Pavey, Minister for Property.

The 6 Parramatta Square development will be the NSW Government's second Parramatta CBD office hub. More than 5,500 public sector employees are set to occupy the adjoining 4 Parramatta Square later this year.

This follows news of the sale of the riverbank site for the future Powerhouse Museum in Parramatta. 

"I am delighted to reaffirm that the Powerhouse Museum will be the centrepiece of a new arts and cultural precinct on the banks of the Parramatta River," said Don Harwin, Minister for the Arts.

Stage One of the project's international design competition closed in March 2019 and attracted entries from 74 teams made up of 529 individual companies. A competition jury met for the first time in April to shortlist the teams that will develop their own design concepts for consideration (due before July).


Nikola Amanovic, Director of Parramatta Sydney Story Factory, at their opening last year

Bright Sparks Shine in Western Sydney

Last week's release of the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) results are further proof of Western Sydney's emergence as one of the nation's 'smart cities', Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, Executive Director, Adam Leto said. 
According to published NAPLAN results, 37 schools from Western and South West Sydney achieved above or substantially above similar schools in at least three subject areas in both Years 3 and 5. Another 24 schools in Western Sydney achieved above or substantially above other schools in at least three subject areas in Years 7 and 9 in the test.
Mr Leto said Western Sydney's teachers deserved plenty of credit for their role in helping students to reach their potential, while also underlining the quality of the region's public education system.  
"You don't need to spend thousands of dollars on private schools to receive an excellent education, as these schools and their students have demonstrated," Mr Leto said.
"Public schools such as Cabramatta, Fairfield Heights and Carlingford West, to name just a few, have all performed well above their national peers and prove quality education exists in Western Sydney.

In addition to the region’s committed teachers, it’s also worth acknowledging the work of groups like the Story Factory, which recently opened its office in Parramatta, and the Bankstown Poetry Slam. These organisations are playing an active role in improving childhood literacy, instilling confidence and providing opportunities for our region’s kids to find their voice.”

Click here to read the full media release.


BankWest Stadium Throws Open Doors

BankWest Stadium, Parramatta's newest sporting facility and home to the Western Sydney Wanderers and Parramatta Eels, threw open its doors to Sydneysiders over the weekend. 

Officially opened by the Premier, as part of a Community Open Day on Saturday, 30,000 fans experienced the stadium ahead of the stadium's first sporting event, which will be held on Easter Monday, when the Parramatta Eels take on the Wests Tigers.

Fans were encouraged to climb the new stands, walk around the designer modern concourse as well as see the warm-up rooms, food stands and take their place on the hallowed turf. Club legends, mascots and players from the Parramatta Eels, Western Sydney Wanderers, Wests Tigers and NSW Warratahs also attended, and a range of family friendly and all-age sports zones landscaped into the stadium's exterior were among other popular attractions that will serve the community well into the future. 

Dubbed the new home of sport and entertainment in Western Sydney, BankWest Stadium and the stadium precinct, is set to host a range of community and business events and activities.  


New Housing Development Concept

The Good Growth Alliance has unveiled a concept for a South-West Sydney development that combines diverse housing, green space, community gardens, and access to a university and transport.
Converge at Macarthur, a proposed hypothetical development, is a development that seeks to benefit the community with liveable sustainable and inclusive growth as its focus. The design includes a provision for 30% social and affordable housing; 7,000+ sqm open space, 1.3km walking/cycling trail, public plaza and community hub site, all on a site that is currently unusable for the community.
This Alliance comprises of the Property Council of Australia, the Committee for Sydney and the Sydney Business Chamber together with the Community Housing Industry Association of NSW, Homelessness NSW and Shelter NSW, with Landcom providing input to the design.


Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation with the Close The Gap Campaign Committee
launching the Annual Close The Gap Report

Close the Gap 2019: Airds Launch

Close the Gap 2019, launched last month, is a first of its kind policy impacting local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Focused on stories of community practices which positively affect health and wellbeing, rather than the emphasis on statistics in the Closing the Gap report tabled recently in parliament was launched in Airds.

Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation, baserd in Airds, hosted the launch along with Close the Gap campaign co-chairs, Rod Little and June Oscar. Tharawal Chief Executive Officer, Darryl Wright, say the programs on offer at the centre include health and clean housing, partnerships with the local TAFE, and other projects that will aim to improve life outcomes.

For more information, click here.


For a sneak peek of what's in store, click here to watch last year's Out There highlights  

Out There Summit '19 Moves to Bankstown
Register Now for Tuesday 2 July

The 2019 Out There Summit will feature a full day conference, including the annual Lachlan Macquarie Lecture (to be delivered by the Prime Minister pending the election outcome) and the Pemulwuy Prize recognising the region's great advocates. This is the Dialogue's flagship policy and community event, bringing forward great new ideas for Western Sydney - and setting the debate for regional investment, growth, governance and social inclusion.
Out There 2019 will build on the success of previous years and prioritise topics such as education, jobs, major projects, tourism and other current and future trends impacting the growth of the region.

Registration is now open - click here to register! More details will be released next week, so be sure to keep an eye on your inbox for further details.

Western Sydney Uncovered
New health management trainees (L-R) Kayla Blanksby, John Dillon, Emily Meharg, Grace Navin, Joana Andre Garrido and Christopher Reece

Health District Welcomes Future Leaders

The Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) welcomed seven new management trainees who will learn the ropes of health care management over the next two years. 

The program, supporting seven trainees, will develop the aspiring health leaders who currently work on temporary full-time basis while they undertake a Master's Degree at the University of New England.

WSLHD Executive Director of Operations Robynne Cooke said the aim of the program was to see the new wave of trainees go on to build rewarding careers.

"The program is designed to empower and help our enthusiastic trainees succeed as a leader in our complex and diverse health system. I wish the trainees all the very best, I look forward to showing them everything they need to know about our health district, " said Ms Cooke.

At the end of the program, graduates will be given the opportunity to express their interest in available 12-month placements.


Image Credit: Home Country, photo by Heidrun Lohr

Urban Theatre Projects &
Western Sydney University Join Forces 

Last month, Bankstown-based Urban Theatre Projects and Western Sydney University announced a three-year partnership to work together and support the next generation of Western Sydney creative and cultural leaders.

Peter Hutchings, Dean Arts and Humanities at Western Sydney University, says: "Western Sydney University is very pleased to be extending our relationship with Urban Theatre Projects. The partnership enables us to work together to produce innovative, high quality performance culture in Western Sydney. Both students and staff will benefit from this partnership."

Urban Theatre Projects Artistic Director and CEO, Rosie Denis, says: "We're thrilled to be partnering with the University to deliver practical opportunities for students over the coming three years, and actively supporting the next generation of artistic leaders in Western Sydney and beyond with real-life industry experience and expertise."

By providing professional pathways and project-based learning for students and young creatives who are studying a Bachelor of Communications, Creative Industries and Screen Media, a Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication) or a Bachelor of Arts at Western Sydney University, this exciting new partnership will develop critical skills that support our artistic community and ensure the future of the Greater Sydney region is in good hands.


Apprenticeship Pathways
for Camden High Students

Camden local group training organisation, My Gateway, has selected 17 Camden High students for a new program that will see them engage in different trades as part of a new apprenticeship pathway. 

My Gateway's Trade Engagement Program involved students attending Campbelltown TAFE once a week, gaining hands-on experience and exposure to different trades. Engineering was the focus of term on and all students will undertake work experience as part of the program.

"The program with My Gateway allows the boys to get a taste of a variety of skills and trades, as well as work readiness and personal skills," says Tim French, Camden High School Deputy Principal, Stage Five.

"My hope is that the boys develop a deeper understanding of the broad range of skills out in the work force, and mature in their perspective of what the real world looks like."

The program was created to support those students who are interested in leaving school to explore apprenticeship pathways. 


ANZ Stadium to Host
Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Tickets are on sale for the acclaimed international spectacular Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, held at ANZ Stadium in October.

Sell-out performances of 220,000 people over the European summer puts performers in tune to deliver a show that will feature a cast of 1400 international and Australian performers. Pipe bands, highland dancers, fiddlers and precision drill teams, together with Australian Defence Force bands will make up the performance, which will be set against a full-size replica of Edinburgh Castle spanning the entire width of the stadium.

Producer and CEO of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Brigadier David Allfrey, said audiences can expect to be amazed.

"This will not simply be a case of bringing a Scottish show to Australia. It's specifically written with Australia at its heart. If we get this right, Australians who come to see the show will feel incredibly proud of being Australian," Brigadier Allfrey said.

Learn more or buy tickets at www.edinburghtattoosydney.com.au


Sydney Writers' Festival Heads West

Sydney Writers' Festival returns this year with the theme, 'Lie to Me' with events all over Sydney. 

This annual literary event features talks, panels and performances all across Sydney, with Riverside Theatres, Auburn Town Hall, Bankstown Arts Centre, Campbelltown Library, Castle Hill Library and Narellan Library all hosting events as part of the Sydney Writers' Festival.

Riverside Theatres will play host to All Day YA on 4 May, with inclusiveness, diversity and presentation at the centre of that day's program. DY(STOP)IA, held in the afternoon at Riverside, will feature four Western Sydney poets and "explore the increasingly blurred lines between reality and fallacy in the 21st century through an amalgamation of poetry, performance and play." 

The festival's program also includes a performance by Auburn Poets and Writers Group at Auburn Town Hall on 1 May and an immersive art experience from the Finishing School Collective at Parramatta Artists Studios on 2 May.

For the full program or to buy tickets, click here.


L to R: Crown Electrical Solutions and Crystele Homes

Marcarthur Businesses Win National Awards

Two Macarthur businesses - both based in Smeaton Grange - have picked up top gongs at the Australian Small Business Champion Awards. 

Crown Electrical Solutions was recognised in the Electrical Business category, while Crystele Homes took out the Home Builder/Renovations category. 

"It's a great recognition for our staff who have put in a lot of work over the past 12 months and previous years," said Crown Electrical Solutions co-owner, Jordan Lawrence. "It's a reflection of our worth ethic and dedication."

Mr Lawrence said Crown had grown over the past seven years to be at the forefront of electrical businesses, with approximately 40 employees under him and operating between the south coast and the city. 

Crystele Homes was founded by Daniel Lettieri in 2007 and has grown to be one of the region's premier home-building organisations.


22nd Annual Education &
Training Research Conference

The Annual Conference of the Australasian Vocational Education and Training Research Association will be held from 17 June to 18 June in Parramatta. The event theme will be 'Researching for the training systems of tomorrow.'

How current rapid economic and industrial developments, as well as changes in society, are affecting the demands placed upon VET systems both in Australia and elsewhere will be discussed at the event as well as how to address the new Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) system. The conference will bring together VET researchers and policy stakeholders to discuss and debate the future of VET.

The conference will include researcher capability workshops including workshops for emerging, mid-career and established VET researchers.

Click here to register and for more information.