GWS 'Critical' to the Nation's Future

Belinda Wallis •
May 24, 2024

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese today declared that Western Sydney would be “absolutely critical” to the nation’s future prosperity.

Speaking exclusively at the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue’s 2024 Prime Ministers Luncheon, Mr Albanese outlined a vision for a future made in Australia that put Western Sydney at its core.

“Western Sydney reflects the aspiration that drives Australia – the courage, compassion and community spirit that our government works every day to reward and to nourish,” the Prime Minister told the 500-plus business leaders, government and community representatives gathered at Sydney Olympic Park’s Accor Stadium.

“Our plan for a future made in Australia is about bringing new jobs and opportunities to every part of our country. Western Sydney may not have vast reserves of nickel or lithium – you are home to a wealth of resources that are absolutely critical to our future.

“Great universities and researchers, Australia’s largest health and biomedical research precinct, one of the largest industrial and distribution hubs in the southern hemisphere, dynamic small businesses and start-ups, skilled workers in every field, engineers and architects, designers and manufacturers, cybersecurity and digital experts.”

Dialogue CEO, Adam Leto, welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment to a future made in Western Sydney.

“The Federal Government has recognised that Western Sydney offers a unique opportunity to fuel jobs growth, support innovation and boost the national economy,” Mr Leto said.

“As the Albanese Government launches its signature $22.7 billion Future Made in Australia initiative, Western Sydney stands ready to deliver.

“Much of the region’s identity has been shaped by its makers, builders and innovators, and manufacturing has long been part of Western Sydney’s DNA. Western Sydney continues to demonstrate that it has the tenacity, skills and know-how to be the engine room of the nation.”

Speaking on the two-year anniversary of Labor’s 2022 election win, Mr Albanese told the audience that the latest Federal Budget takes the total investment in Western Sydney infrastructure to $17.3 billion.

“I’ve spoken to the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue before about the contribution infrastructure makes to our economy and our community, and the role the Commonwealth can play in the health and strength of our cities and suburbs and regions.

“We’re building new homes for this growing part of Sydney and we’re building the infrastructure to service that growth, to make local roads safer, to make moving freight easier, and to make sure that people spend less time stuck in traffic and more time where they want to be.”

Mr Albanese said the opening of Western Sydney International Airport in late 2026 “will open the world to Western Sydney – and it will re-align the dynamic of Sydney”.

“For the first time, instead of everything turning in towards the CBD and Sydney Harbour, the city will be looking outward. We’ll be looking to the West to the new state-of-the-art airport and the new jobs of the Aerotropolis. 

“Two of the biggest generators of economic activity a region can have are an airport or a university. Western Sydney will be home to both. “

Dialogue Chairman, Christopher Brown AM, welcomed Mr Albanese’s Western Sydney address, saying the Prime Minister had a strong and proud association with the region stretching back decades.

“Our Prime Minister has stood by his commitment to put Western Sydney at the centre of its ambitions to grow the local economy on a global scale, and it was a pleasure to welcome him back to the stage at Homebush two years after he came to office,” Mr Brown said.

“It’s clear we have a real opportunity to generate new jobs, attract investment and help secure a stronger global economic footing in the Golden West.

“But this region has been hit hard by the housing crisis, rising energy prices and tough economic conditions. We need all levels of government, businesses, education providers and community advocates to back Western Sydney.

“We need to work together so we can seize the economic opportunities that once-in-a-generation projects like the Western Sydney International Airport and Aerotropolis offer.”

The Prime Minister acknowledged that Western Sydney had been impacted by the cost-of-living crisis.

“I’m here today because I recognise that Western Sydney is also a place where aspirations are under pressure. We understand that there are still people doing it tough right now.

“I know that when you are living week to week, it’s hard to even find the time to think about the future, let alone plan for it with confidence.

“That’s why last week’s Budget was about delivering on the two things that have driven our Government for two years – one, helping people with their cost of living; two, making our future here in Australia.”