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 Federal Election, welcome the inaugural Dialogue Scholarship winners, share some good news on the Sydney Coliseum Theatre and Macarthur FC, and officially launch our paper on obesity in Western Sydney. 

What's in this month's e-update? 

  • Federal Election Wrap-Up & Federal Ministry Announcement
  • Sydney Metro North West: Light at the End of the Tunnel
  • Dialogue Welcomes Newly Named World-Class Sydney Coliseum Theatre
  • Congratulations to the Dialogue's Inaugural Scholarship Winners
  • Hon. Sarah Mitchell MLC Confirmed as a Keynote Speaker
    at Out There 2019
  • Western Sydney's Heavy Issue
  • Future Forum: Exploring the Reputation & Perception of GWS
  • Dialogue Welcomes Unity on Domestic Violence
  • Advance Blacktown Forum
  • New Parramatta Rugby League Centre
  • Macarthur FC Bulls Launch
  • Dialogue Proudly Partners with Pass It On Clothing & Co
  • The Dialogue's East London Study Tour
  • Final Six Architect Teams Announced for Western Sydney's
    Powerhouse Museum
  • Welcome to Urban Theatre Projects New CEO
  • Ramadan Nights Returns to Lakemba

In the News

Federal Election Wrap-Up &
Federal Ministry Announcement

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue has congratulated Prime Minister Scott Morrison on his victory at the weekend's Federal Election. 
The result was a surprise to many, but it clearly affirmed Australia's confidence in Morrison's leadership, and rewarded him for what was the most energetic and focused campaigns we have seen in living memory. 

In the Dialogue's pre-election analysis, based on our own thorough research of the seats, candidates and policies as well as published polls and conversations with both the Coalition and Labor campaigns, our assessment of the likely outcome proved to be off the mark. Clearly, we were not alone in not predicting what was a surprise result - with state and federal bureaucrats, Opposition staffers, journalists and investors across the country all having planned for a change of Government. 
Full results are still being finalised and we will thoroughly dissect these in due course. At this stage, what is clear is that Western Sydney voters, consistent with national trends, reinforced the emerging chasm between the inner-urban and outer-suburban politics of Australia's capital cities. Labor suffered swings in its stronghold regions of Blacktown, Fairfield, Penrith and Bankstown, while on the other hand, the Coalition suffered swings against it throughout its heartland Sydney's North Shore and Northern Beaches - including the loss of Tony Abbott in Warringah.
On paper, the result is very similar to the outcome of the 2016 election, however the changing seats and margins will make for a far different dynamic in our nation's politics over the next three years. Broadly speaking, Queensland swung strongly to the Coalition with net gains and widening margins across the board, Labor made some gains in Victoria with a number of seats remaining marginal, and in NSW Lindsay, Gilmore, Wentworth and Warringah changed hands in what looks likely to be a status quo result in net terms. We can be sure that Western Sydney will be a sharper focus for both major parties over the next three years as voters made it marginal again in many areas, providing fertile ground for the Dialogue and other regional advocates to push for more investment.

On the other side of the political divide, Grayndler MP, Anthony Albanese has been elected unopposed to lead the Federal Opposition.

As someone who has played a key role in advocating for a strong cities and infrastructure agenda in Western Sydney, the new Labor leader is expected to continue to push for Federal investment and policy initiatives that support the growth of the region, especially major transport projects such as Metro West.

What's it mean for Federal Investment in Western Sydney?

The result has left us with as many questions as answers when it comes to the policy and infrastructure priorities for Western Sydney, although the Morrison Government has pledged support for upgrades to commuter car parking across the region, and reaffirmed its existing multi-billion-dollar commitment to Western Sydney Airport and the surrounding road network, and the North-South Rail project. 
While the region repudiated Labor's reform agenda, a number of its priorities - $3b for Sydney Metro West, relocation of SBS studios to Western Sydney, expansion of the Western Sydney City Deal, funding of a fuel pipeline to Western Sydney Airport - were embraced by the region and remain on the agenda for the Dialogue. 

Dialogue Chairman, Christopher Brown AM, has described the Metro West as one of Sydney's most critical, and transformative, transport projects - and given its significance to the region and its role in supporting the nation's fastest growing region, demands Federal support. 

The Dialogue has long-advocated for the relocation of the SBS studios from Artarmon to Western Sydney. The Federal Opposition had signalled that it would conduct a feasibility study into the move should it win Government, a move that was welcomed by the Dialogue, along with a number of Western Sydney Councils.

The Dialogue will continue its push for, what many believe is a "logical" and "smart" decision to locate Australia's multicultural broadcaster in the nation's multicultural heartland, and will look to engage with the new Morrison Federal Government to seek its commitment.  

"Any number of cities in Western Sydney would make for a great fit for SBS," Mr Brown said. 

"Places like Bankstown for instance, which is home to a large pool of arts and creative young talent, and is centrally located. With the Western Sydney University Bankstown CBD Campus on the way over the next couple of years, I think there's some potential to create a shared site, with both tertiary, production-training and broadcasting functionality."

Federal Ministry Announcement 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a largely unchanged Ministry following the Coalition's recent election victory. Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge retains his portfolio, with oversight of the Western Sydney City Deal and major projects such as Western Sydney Airport. Tudge has been promoted to Cabinet from the outer Ministry, highlighting the growing importance of his portfolio. 

Other key changes to the Ministry include the appointment of Ken Wyatt as the first Indigenous Minister for Indigenous Australians, the appointment of Senator Marise Payne as Minister for Women (adding to her ongoing role as Foreign Affairs Minister), and the appointment of Senator Anne Ruston as Minister for Families and Social Services, with Minister Paul Fletcher moving to Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts. Morrison has also reunited Energy, Emissions Reduction and the Environment to the same Ministerial Cluster. 
A full list of the Morrison Ministry can be found here


Sydney Metro North West: 
Light at the End of the Tunnel


In readying Sydneysiders for one of the biggest, and most ambitious, infrastructure agendas we've seen, the NSW Government has often spoken about being prepared for some "short-term pain".

Its attempts to combat our city's growth demands through investment in roads, rail, airports, hospitals and schools, while at the same time balancing community, business and environmental needs hasn't always been positively received, particularly by those who've had their lives directly impacted by some of these major, city-shaping projects.

Those in the West however, which has been a significant beneficiary of the Government's infrastructure roll-out, understand more than most, that the end can sometimes justify the means, especially if it delivers on the promise of improving liveability, accessibility and productivity.

While getting people to buy-into this big-city vision has proved a challenge, yesterday's launch of the Sydney Metro Northwest, a project that has been under construction for more than five years (it was first announced as a transport priority by then-Premier Barry O'Farrell in 2011), is a clear, tangible sign that the Government's 'build-now' approach is on the right track.

This $7.3b project which has catalysed the development and growth of precincts along the corridor, in areas within Blacktown and The Hills, is the first stage of the Sydney Metro project, and with further lines promised, linking residents in Western Sydney with better access to jobs, services and education, you can understand why the region is optimistic.

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


Artist's impression of Sydney Coliseum Theatre

Dialogue Welcomes Newly Named
World-Class Sydney Coliseum Theatre

The countdown to the opening of Sydney's next great theatre has begun, with the official naming of the Sydney Coliseum Theatre, at West HQ, announced earlier this month. 

Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue Executive Director Adam Leto said the $100m world-class venue, which is due to open in late 2019, had already captured the attention of arts and cultural leaders, both locally and internationally, and was expected to play an important role in attracting more industry interest and investment to the region. Upon completion, it will be the only 2000-seat theatre outside of the Sydney CBD capable of hosting large-scale musicals, ballets, orchestras and operas.

"The Sydney Coliseum Theatre is Western Sydney's answer to the Opera House and anyone who has visited the site, or seen the plans, knows just how impressive this theatre is going to be," Mr Leto said.  

"The scale and quality of this development is unlike anything that we've seen in Western Sydney, and West HQ CEO, Richard Errington and Sydney Coliseum Theatre's Executive Director Craig McMaster, deserve plenty of credit for their commitment to delivering a world-class entertainment venue that the region can be proud of.

"Western Sydney has for a long period struggled to attract significant arts and cultural investment, and this development not only fills a void, but sends an important message to the rest of the market that we're serious about hosting top-tier international acts and performers."  

Read the full media release here.


Congratulations to the Dialogue's Inaugural
Scholarship Winners

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue has proudly partnered with the NSW Public Education Foundation to establish the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue Scholarship - presented to seven high achieving senior public school students in Western Sydney. 

Dialogue Executive Director Adam Leto last week offered his congratulations to the students, who represent a variety of schools across the region, at the Public Education Foundation's annual awards night at Sydney Town Hall.

These students will also be recognised during a special ceremony at the Dialogue's Out There Summit, held in Bankstown on 2 July

"The Dialogue is proud to support the Public Education Foundation and the region's students who have demonstrated not only academic excellence, but a willingness to contribute to their communities," he said.

Winners are:

  • Hani Abdile (Bankstown Senior College) 
  • Mona Basha (Chester Hill High School)
  • Glenys Castello (Casula High School)
  • Emily Kamanjasevic (Bossley Park High School)
  • Aylin Nazari (Northmead CAPA High School)
  • Baraa Omar (Holroyd High School)
  • Harley Young (Airds High School)


Hon. Sarah Mitchell MLC Confirmed as a Keynote Speaker for Out There 2019

We are delighted to welcome the newly appointed NSW Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, Hon. Sarah Mitchell MLC as a keynote speaker at the Out There Summit 2019. Join us as Minister Mitchell outlines the Government's plans to address the current and future educational needs of students in Western Sydney, with a specific focus on infrastructure investment, early childhood development and Indigenous communities.

Click here to watch Dialogue Chair Christopher Brown AM &
Canterbury-Bankstown Mayor chat about what to expect at Out There 2019.

Clr. Khal Asfour welcomes Out There 2019 to Bankstown and gives away a few clues on what you can expect at this years' Summit. The program will focus on education, jobs, major projects, sustainability and other trends impacting the growth of the region.

We have a limited amount of seats in the theatre and tickets are selling fast. Keep an eye out for the full program being released soon! 



Western Sydney's Heavy Issue

The introduction of a national sugar tax and targeted state-wide restrictions on junk food advertising are just some of the measures being recommended by the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue in its new Discussion Paper, Western Sydney's Heavy Issue: A Five Point Plan to Tackle Obesity. 

Dialogue Executive Director, Adam Leto, said the paper was primarily aimed at highlighting the significant 'obesity deficit' that exists in Greater Western Sydney and the need for urgent political intervention, before the obesity epidemic gets worse.

"More than two thirds of Western Sydney is either overweight or obese, which is above the national average, and the flow-on health, social and economic costs are rising markedly," Mr Leto said. "The introduction of a sugar tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, in isolation, is not the sole answer when it comes to solving what we understand is a deep and complex issue."

Mr Leto said that in addition to some of the more complex recommendations listed in the report, such as the national sugar tax, there were some "quick wins" that could make a difference, such as imposing junk food advertising restrictions on state-owned public transport assets, similar to what has been introduced in other states, including most recently, Queensland.

Read the media release and full report here.

Click here to read the Sydney Morning Herald article.

Future Forum
Exploring the Reputation & Perception of
Greater Western Sydney

Thursday 30 May | Parramatta

Join us as we explore the reputation and perception of Greater Western Sydney, and look to better understand some of the key factors that influence the region's identity. Through discussions and presentations, we will address some of the perception issues impacting growth in GWS, particularly regarding visitation and corporate investment.

The Dialogue would like to thank its event sponsor, City of Canterbury-Bankstown, and our program partner, Deloitte.



Moo Baulch, CEO Domestic Violence NSW (right), at our Future Forum in March this year

Dialogue Welcomes Unity on Domestic Violence

Among the massive focus on growth and investment in major projects across our region in the lead up to both recent elections, the Dialogue is proud of the role it takes on a range of important social issues such as domestic violence, obesity and indigenous inclusion.

The Dialogue therefore welcomes a decision made by the NSW Government this month to join a united fight against domestic violence through Our Watch. By joining Our Watch, first formed in 2013, NSW is now part of a national and shared approach to prevention of domestic violence, which is in line with recent urgent calls from Domestic Violence NSW CEO Moo Baulch.

In March 2019, the Dialogue hosted Moo at our Future Forum event in Parramatta as part of a panel discussion 'Understanding the Impact and Perception of Crime and Safety'. Our role as a moderator of discussion about, and advocate to tackle, domestic violence is an area of policy development our team takes great pride in.

The panel discussion involving Moo touched on our policy paper 'Putting Domestic and Family Violence on the Agenda' and outlines the impact this crime has on our region.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.


Advance Blacktown Forum
Wednesday 12 June | Blacktown Library

The Advance Blacktown Forum is a civic leadership initiative started by the Dialogue to further the conversation around Blacktown and the growth this region will see in the coming years.

With recent announcements of the new ACU campus in Blacktown, Sydney Zoo to open later this year and construction of Western Sydney Airport underway, it is now more important than ever to understand Blacktown’s unique positioning in Western Sydney and how to best capitalise on this. 

The forum will explore the role of ACU in the longer-term renewal of Blacktown CBD (with key speakers from Council) and potential inclusion in the Morrison Government’s City Deal, following the Federal Opposition’s commitment to expand the Deal to Blacktown. Following on from this, there will be discussions on Blacktown's future as part of the Western Sydney City Deal, as well as a panel discussion on how to best leverage Blacktown's unique offerings to attract visitors and investment.

If you are interested in attending, please contact us for further details.

Western Sydney Uncovered

New Parramatta Rugby League Centre

Parramatta Eels' CEO Bernie Gurr this month announced that a new state-of-the-art high-performance centre will be built in Kellyville. 

The $40 million centre is tipped to become the largest community rugby league facility in Australia and will provide men and women's league teams with state of the art services, their own dedicated facilities and feature a 1000-seat grandstand. 

The high-performance centre will host disability programs, the Eels Youth Academy for NRL, touch football and league tag teams. 


Macarthur FC Bulls Launch

Macarthur FC Bulls, Australia's newest A-League side, was officially unveiled at a special lunch at Campbelltown this month. 

The name, colours and brand represent the club's "football heritage, vision, communities and history." Ante Milicic, current coach of the Matildas (the women's national soccer team), was appointed as Macarthur FC's inaugural head coach.

Campbelltown Council has been named as the club's Local Government Community Sponsor, and will provide $2.5m over five years to support local community programs.

Macarthur FC will enter the A-League in season 2020-21 and play out of Campbelltown Stadium. 


Dialogue Proudly Partners with
Pass It On Clothing & Co

The Dialogue has proudly partnered with Pass It On Clothing & Co, a Sydney based social enterprise which puts your apparel, shoes and accessories donations directly in the hands of those who need it most. 

Founded in September 2016, Pass it on Clothing & Co has been instrumental in providing quality men’s and women’s clothes donations to Sydney’s homeless community, working to make charitable clothes giving more direct, efficient and effective. 

Pass it on Clothing & Co aims to provide an increased number of clothing for Sydney’s homeless community (just like the one pictured) and have already impacted the lives of over 3,000 people by providing over 5,000 garments to those who need it most. 

For more information on how to get a clothing donation box just like this one at your business or community group, visit https://www.passitonclothing.com/.

The Dialogue's East London Study Tour

In September this year, the Dialogue is leading a small cohort of leaders focussed on the development of Greater Western Sydney to examine the urban regeneration in the UK's East London community. As our region undertakes a similar transformation journey, this tour will provide us with an opportunity to learn from those who drove London's massive transformation originally, and those who are delivering and regulating its projects and policy settings today.

The Dialogue would like to extend our thanks to our primary partners for our East London Study Tour in September: the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development & Cities, and NAB. 

Final Six Architect Teams Announced for Western Sydney's Powerhouse Museum

The final six global architect teams for the new Powerhouse Museum Precinct in Parramatta have been shortlisted and announced by Minister for the Arts Don Harwin.

"Having attracted 74 expressions of interest involving a staggering 529 individual firms from 20 countries, the level of global interest we received has more than justified our excitement in moving forward with this Western Sydney project," Mr Harwin said.

The finalist international-Australian and Australian teams are (in alphabetical order):

  • AL_A (UK) and Architectus (Australia)
  • Bernardes Architecture (Brazil) and Scale Architecture (Australia)
  • BVN Architecture (Australia) and Carlo Ratti Associati (Italy)
  • CHROFI (Australia) with Reko Rennie (Australia)
  • Moreau Kusunoki (France) and Genton (Australia)
  • Steven Holl Architects (United States) and Conrad Gargett (Australia)

Each finalist team will receive an honorarium of $150,000 to develop design concepts, with a winner set to be announced late 2019. 

More details (including team bios) available at: new.maas.museum


Welcome to Urban Theatre Projects New CEO

Jessica Olivieri has been announced as Urban Theatre Projects' new CEO, starting next month. 

Holding a Bachelor of Contemporary Art from Western Sydney University, and in her role as Curator of Contemporary Performance at Campbelltown Arts Centre, Ms Olivieri has curated projects such as Real Real, with Akil Ahamat; All Ears, a listening party, with Francis Barrett and Era Yalovata Na Marama, with The Veiqia Project.  

Ms Olivieri said, "During my tenure I will build on the rich history of UTP and continue the strong leadership that has advocated for the creative life of western Sydney, the support of western Sydney artists, and the development of society affecting work."


Ramadan Nights Returns to Lakemba

Haldon Street in Lakemba comes alive each Ramadan with tens of thousands of Sydneysiders flocking to the streets to enjoy the best food Western Sydney has to offer. 

Iftar, the meal Muslims break their fast during each Ramadan, is typically celebrated with large amounts of food with family, and no place does it better than Lakemba. You can enjoy everything from camel burgers and koshari (lentils, rice, chickpeas, crispy onions and special tomato sauce) to biryani and knafeh. 

The market runs from 5pm - 3am until 6 June.

More details here.