Western Sydney Warned Ahead of Scorching Summer

Nicholas Rupolo •
September 15, 2023

Next week’s mini-heatwave is an early sign of what many Greater Western Sydney (GWS) residents can expect this Summer, and highlights the need for continued investment in urban greening initiatives and access to recreational water in the region.

Temperatures in Penrith, Smithfield and Blacktown will break the ‘extremely hot’ threshold of 35 degrees Celsius next week, while Liverpool is forecast to creep into dangerously hot conditions ahead of what is expected to be a hot, dry summer fueled by an El Niño weather system.

Dialogue CEO, Adam Leto, said Western Sydney always feels the heat more than the rest of Sydney.

“The last time a dry and dangerous summer like this was forecasted, the country suffered through the black summer bushfires,” Mr Leto said.

“The number of extremely hot days above 35 degrees in Western Sydney almost doubled over the past 15 years and is forecast to go even higher. And let’s not forget, it was just three years ago when Penrith was declared the hottest place on the entire planet at 48.9 degrees. The city’s average temperature in January 2023 was three degrees higher than Mascot, Sydney Harbour and Manly.

“Smithfield will sweat, and Blacktown will bake next week and Western Sydney’s hot issue will only get worse”.

The people of the west will find little refuge from the heat during summer. Urban sprawl, precious few recreational swimming spots and the prohibitive cost of cooling a home mean people in GWS continue to boil during the hot months.

“Western Sydney residents have to travel an hour to reach the beaches of the east because they can’t beat the heat in the west,” Mr Leto said.

“There is a council-managed pool for every 17,000 people in Randwick, but in Penrith there is one for every 108,000 people.

“We should be looking for opportunities to open the waterways of the west to recreational swimming in places like Penrith Lakes and Prospect Reservoir, as well as targeted investment in regeneration and ongoing maintenance of our urban river system, led by Sydney Water, so it’s clean and safe for people to have a dip.

“We can only cool the streets of Western Sydney with investment in green infrastructure like trees, roof gardens, parks, open spaces and other urban greening initiatives that will bring down the temperature in our suburbs.”