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 provide a wrap-up on the NSW budget, release our Out There program and share some good news about the Western Sydney Airport and Sydney Coliseum. 

What's in this month's e-update? 

  • State Budget Re-Cap
  • Program Released for Out There 2019
  • Western Sydney Airport Welcomes Airlines Support in Design Planing
  • Sydney Coliseum Program Launch
  • Sydney Metro North West Open for Business
  • Introducing the Dialogue's Generation West
  • Advance Blacktown Forum Re-Cap
  • Western Sydney Local Heroes Receive Queen's Honours

State Budget Re-Cap

The Dialogue added its voice to what was a generally positive response to the NSW Budget delivered by Treasurer Dominic Perottet. Thanks largely to sharp falls in stamp duty and GST revenue on the back of weakening property markets and consumer spending, the surplus dipped considerably from last year's to $802 million. On the other hand, the forward estimates remain healthy, with average surpluses of $1.7b and on-trend growth of 2.5% projected to stabilise, making NSW the best placed of any Australian state to withstand anything increasing economic headwinds bring.

At its core, the Budget was defined not by any change of agenda or major announcements, but by the measured expansion of the well-established, and recently strongly mandated, program of infrastructure and service spending, much of it directed towards Greater Western Sydney. The Budget's education, health and infrastructure project pipeline has grown to an impressive $93b, with most of the new commitments already announced, during the election campaign. The Dialogue welcomes the confirmation of measures that will particularly benefit GWS, including:

  • An extra $3.4b for Sydney West Metro, taking the government's total commitment to $6.4b; 
  • $2b allocated for the North-South railway linking St Mary's to the Western Sydney Airport and Aerotropolis precinct;  
  • $561m for Stage 1 of the Parramatta Light Rail linking Westmead to Carlingford;
  • $286m for Stage 1 of the Westmead Hospital Redevelopment, $196m for the Nepean Hospital upgrade, and $108 m for Stage 2 of the Campbelltown Hospital Redevelopment;
  • $107m for the M4 Smart Motorway project, to increase safety and vehicle flow between Penrith and Parramatta; and,
  • For permanent lighting to be installed at Sydney Motorsport Park. $33m to implement the NSW Motor Sport Strategy, which the Dialogue successfully advocated for.

The Dialogue also applauds a raft of Budget measures that will assist the ongoing fight against obesity, including a doubling of the successful 'Active Vouchers' program, an expansion of the School Breakfast 4 Health partnership with Foodbank, and increased funding for a variety of public open spaces and parkland assets across GWS.

The final aspect of the Budget which the Dialogue regards as significant is the Treasurer's call for a recalibration of the funding relationships between the tiers of government, particular the Federal-State allocation mechanisms used. Given both the record levels of growth agenda spending to which NSW has re-committed itself, but also the growing likelihood of further revenue pressures, the Dialogue welcomes the Treasurer's timely advocacy for a robust review of the fairness, efficiency and proportionality of Federal allocations to the States.    


Program Released for 
Out There 2019

Be the first to view our program for the 2019 Out There Summit. 

Our program continues to grow with Lucy Turnbull AO, Peter Achterstraat AM and Eddie Woo confirming their participation in this year's conference. 

"The list of speakers we have secured for this conference is exceptional. Their experience and knowledge provides an opportunity for delegates to better understand the emerging trends, issues and projects that are shaping the growth of Western Sydney, and importantly, also contribute to, and inform, the discussion." 
- Dialogue Executive Director, Adam Leto



Western Sydney Airport Welcomes
Airlines Support in Design Planning

Planning for the Nancy-Bird Walton Airport entered a new collaborative phase this month with three major airlines, Tiger Air, Virgin Australia and Qantas, forming an agreement to provide insights into the design of the overall site layout and airport terminals. 
The airlines will help to plan baggage handling, security, parking, passenger terminal and boarding systems as well as be involved in route planning.
The airport, due to open from 2026, will also include the new state of the art headquarters for the NSW Police Force's Aviation Support Branch. The new infrastructure addition to the $5.3 billion airport is part of a government approach to help reduce crime and strengthen community safety.


Artist's impression of Sydney Coliseum

Sydney Coliseum Program Launch

This month the Dialogue was proud to support the team from Sydney Coliseum at an inspiring launch event in honour of its opening program of the inaugural 2019/20 season.

The launch saw country music singer songwriter Keith Urban named as the theatre's first ever live act, while the Sydney Symphony Orchestra was announced as an Anchor Partner, signing a three-year deal to perform at the venue.

"Sydney Coliseum is a state-of-the-art venue which will attract not only the best performers in the world, but also ensure the region's visitor and tourism economy is centre-stage," said Dialogue Executive Director Adam Leto. "Sydney Coliseum will be the only 2000-seat theatre outside of the Sydney CBD capable of hosting large scale musicals, ballets, orchestras and operas  and  when it opens it will be the hottest ticket in town." 

Live music, dance and symphony acts will begin performing at the new theatre from December 21, and include Tina Arena, John Butler and Barry Humphries, as Dame Edna, as well as the St Petersburg Ballet will take their place on stage at Sydney Coliseum before the end of 2019. Ticketing information can be found here.

Read the full media release here.


Sydney Metro North West
Open for Business

One of the biggest infrastructure projects Sydney has seen in recent years, the Sydney Metro North West, opened for business on 26 May. After more than five years of construction (first announced as a transport priority by then-Premier Barry O'Farrell in 2011), Sydneysiders have enjoyed over one million Metro services in the first two weeks.

The Metro runs from Rouse Hill to Chatswood via Castle Hill and Epping, with trains running every four minutes during peak.

Read the full article by Dialogue Executive Director Adam Leto in 
The Daily Telegraph here.


Lauren Nicholls, Policy Officer at the Dialogue, presenting at our most recent Future Forum

Introducing the Dialogue's Generation West

The Dialogue's Generation West met for the first time last month, with current students and recent graduates from Western Sydney coming together to discuss issues they care about. 

Following the Future Forum on 'Exploring the Reputation & Perception of Western Sydney', Bess Graham, Matilda Harry, Rameen Malik and Andrew Phong met to discuss key concerns affecting Western Sydney, with the Dialogue's Lauren Nicholls and Catherine Nguyen also joining. As part of the initial kick-off meeting, they considered the best way to leverage their unique perspective as young Western Sydneysiders and how to drive change.


Advance Blacktown Forum Re-Cap

Last week, the Dialogue held its Advance Blacktown forum, where we welcomed civic leaders from Blacktown to discuss the growth the area will undergo in the coming years.

The forum opened with Dialogue Director of Policy & Analysis, Luke Turner, welcoming everyone to Blacktown and outlining the recent policy work the Dialogue has completed, including its paper on 
obesity and domestic violence in Western Sydney. 

This was followed by a presentation by Blacktown City Council's General Manager, Kerry Robinson, who outlined Council's vision for Blacktown, which included Warrick Lane's transformation, the new International Centre of Training Excellence and the Blacktown Health Precinct investment and upgrades. Continuing on from that was a short Q&A between Blacktown Mayor, Cr. Stephen Bali MP and Christopher Brown, Dialogue Chairman.

Australian Catholic University (ACU) Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Paul Campbell, who led the ACU Blacktown Campus deal shared the ACU Blacktown Campus timeline, as well as the impact it is expected to have on the area. 

The forum close with a panel moderated by Amanda Brisot (Western Sydney Business Connection). Panellists Jake Burgess (Sydney Zoo), Suellen Fitzgerald (Western Sydney Parklands) and Craig McMaster (Sydney Coliseum), discussed tourism and investment in Blacktown. 


Dr Catherine Keenan AM, Executive Director of the Sydney Story Factory,
who was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia

Western Sydney Local Heroes 
Receive Queen's Honours

Congratulations to all who were part of the Queen's Birthday Honour List this year. Among those included were:

  • Dr Catherine Keenan AM, Executive Director of the Sydney Story Factory, for significant service to children as an advocate for improving literacy, and to the community of Redfern.
  • David Borger OAM, Executive Director of Western Sydney Business Chamber, for service to the Parliament of NSW and to local government.
  • Martin Lumpp OAM for service to Bankstown cricket.
  • Professor Jacob George AM and Dr Michael Hollands AM from Westmead Hospital, recognised for their service to the medical field
  • Elizabeth Crouch AM for her service to higher education and transport
  • Professor Elizabeth Martin, Dr Douglas Thornton OAM and Dr Steven Cohn AM for significant service to dentistry
  • Professor David Burke AC for "eminent service to neurophysiology, to innovative treatments for spinal cord and brain trauma injuries, and to professional medical organisations".