Dialogue welcomes $7 million fast-tracked funding

Western Sydney’s reputation as an educational hub for research and innovation just got a $7m boost with the Federal Opposition committing funds towards the Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) new Blacktown CBD campus.

Executive Director of the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, Adam Leto, said the funding commitment was welcome news for every person who lives, works or studies in Western Sydney.

“ACU’s commitment, backed by the Federal Opposition, is the first step in the broader urban renewal of Blacktown CBD,  leveraging its existing transport, health, entertainment and retail assets. The new ACU campus will have a key role to play in not only equipping the next generation’s leaders with the skills and knowledge to succeed, but also helping drive the development of a more vibrant and innovative central Blacktown,” Mr Leto said.

The university will invest $220 million in the fit-out of an interim building and two permanent, high-rise buildings in Warrick Lane. The new campus will occupy part of Blacktown Council’s Main St building, while two high-rises along Warrick Lane are built. The interim campus is the first phase in ACU’s program that will see four faculties set up.

The latest announcement, as part of the Federal Opposition’s $300m University Future Fund, comes in the lead up to the Federal election on May 18.

Enrolments in Blacktown courses will start in 2020 across education and arts; health sciences; law and business; and theology and philosophy.

ACU is Australia’s largest provider of graduate teachers and nurses and is ranked in the top 3% of universities worldwide. An information centre will be established at the Main St building in 2019.

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 today.

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.

“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.”  

Upon completion, the Sydney Coliseum will be the only 2000-seat theatre outside of the Sydney CBD capable of hosting large scale musicals, ballets, orchestras and operas.

The Theatre is based at West HQ, an expanding cultural, sporting, commercial and accommodation destination that currently attracts over three million visitors a year. The precinct includes two-luxury hotels, an Olympic-standard Sydney Gymnastic and Aquatic Centre and the iconic Rooty Hill RSL, among other projects.

Additionally, West HQ recently unveiled a number of exciting new dining partnerships, including Chu by China Doll, Pizzaperta by Manfredi, Steak & Oyster Co by Sean Connolly, Chur Burger and Gelatissimo with more offerings expected to be announced shortly.

Sydney Coliseum Theatre is one of a number of regional cultural and sporting assets to be launched in 2019, joining  the newly opened Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta and neighbouring Sydney Zoo at Bungarribee Park.

For media information

Sarah Campbell — Communications Manager
Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue sarah@westernsydney.org.au

Bright Sparks Shine in Western Sydney

Today’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.”

Mr Leto said just as encouraging as the results, was that Western Sydney was developing a clear pathway for the next generation of smart kids, through places like Sydney Science Park and health and innovation precincts at Westmead, Campbelltown and Liverpool.

“Western Sydney is not only home to some of the smartest students but also some of the country’s leading, innovative precincts, including Westmead, which is home to one of the biggest health clusters in the southern hemisphere,” Mr Leto added.

“A large degree of future jobs growth in Western Sydney will be linked to these precincts so it’s vital that they continue to attract government and private sector support. 

“It’s one thing to develop the next generation of talent, but we also need to hang on to it, and that’s what these health, innovation and high-tech precincts represent.” Mr Leto said.

The future of education in Western Sydney and its connection with skills, industry and training, will be among a range of issues discussed at the Dialogue’s Out There Summit on July 2 in Bankstown.

 For more information visit: www.westernsydney.org.au


For media information

Sarah Campbell — Communications Manager
Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue sarah@westernsydney.org.au

Federal Budget Misses the Metro West Mark

The decision to not include funding for the Metro West rail project in the Federal Budget is 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 and battle congestion.

“West Metro is the most critical, and transformative, transport project in Australia’s fastest growing and highest density urban area that can only support the growing population of Western Sydney with State and Federal backing,” Mr Brown said.

“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.

Mr Brown acknowledged the Federal Government’s continued support of the north-south rail, which will link St Marys to the Western Sydney Airport.

“The Dialogue is proud of the role it played in securing this vital connection, which was announced last year as part of the Western Sydney City Deal. The additional commitment in this year’s budget reaffirms the Federal Government’s commitment to the growth of south-west and north-west Sydney, and the success of the Aerotropolis.

“In saying that, we can’t lose sight of the importance of Sydney’s ‘central city’ and the areas within that corridor which are at breaking point, and need immediate investment and improved transport links.”

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

·       $50 million to upgrade King Georges Road

·       $95 million to improve The Horsley Drive

·       $50 million of improvements for Homebush Bay Drive (including Australia Ave and Underwood Road)

·       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


For media information contact

Sarah Campbell — Communications Manager
Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue sarah@westernsydney.org.au

Commonwealth must show its hand on Metro West

Leading up to the release of the Federal Budget, Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue Chairman Christopher Brown AM has called on the Federal Government to put its money where its mouth is and contribute funding to the Sydney Metro West project.

Mr Brown said that with the project having received bipartisan support during the recent NSW election campaign, along with a financial commitment from Federal Labor, the Government must now come to the party and invest in the most transformative infrastructure project in Greater Sydney.

“The ‘steel spine’ is a $20 billion project that is critical to the long-term growth of Parramatta and to unlocking the potential of Sydney Olympic Park. It has been nominated as one of Infrastructure Australia’s highest priorities for NSW, and importantly will double rail capacity on the Western Line between Parramatta and the City.”

“The Western Line has underpinned Western Sydney’s growth and prosperity for the last 150 years,” Brown said. “But it is reaching its limits, and Metro will enable the region to thrive for many more generations. Many are calling it a ‘game-changer’ and for the Australian Government, it should be a ‘no-brainer.’’

The NSW Government has earmarked $6.4 billion for the project and following its election victory last week is pushing to get it underway as soon as possible. Mr Brown said the State couldn’t fund the project alone, and its significance to the national economy demanded a Federal commitment.  

“The Government is talking a big game on congestion busting and managing population growth and in front of it is an opportunity to make a down-payment on a solution to Sydney’s growing pains. The Opposition has recognised this opportunity, but the Morrison Government is yet to commit.”

“The Opposition’s commitment of $3 billion, should it win the upcoming election, is welcome but the Dialogue believes that a project of this scale and importance to the economy needs a Federal commitment of at least $5 billion, or around 25 per cent of the total cost,” Mr Brown said.

“Victoria was promised $2 billion for a Geelong fast rail last week, without any significant planning or request from the State Government. Meanwhile the NSW Government is ready to roll with West Metro and has no Federal commitment to rely on. Western Sydney deserves better from the Morrison Government.”

Greater Western Sydney alone is forecast to grow from 2+ million people to 3+ million by 2036. In the next 25 years the region will generate 15 per cent of Australia’s population growth and 60 per cent of Sydney’s.

“The Federal budget must include this significant urban renewal project along Sydney’s most dynamic corridor and show the people of Western Sydney they have support to reach their potential with a stronger connection between Sydney’s two CBDs,” Mr Brown said.

“The Federal Government has rightly invested in the transport links to support the growth of the Aerotropolis and also needs to recognise the importance of Western Sydney’s other major growth precinct, the Greater Parramatta and Olympic Peninsula (GPOP).”

For media information

Sarah Campbell — Communications Manager

Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue sarah@westernsydney.org.au

New Cabinet boost for Western Sydney

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue is looking forward to a period of strong consolidation, following the announcement of the new NSW Government cabinet on the weekend.

 “The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue welcomes the new Cabinet and we see it as a positive next step toward generating even more momentum in Western Sydney,” Dialogue Chairman, Christopher Brown AM, said.

 “Yesterday’s announcement by the Premier was consistent with our view that a number of key ministers retain their portfolios. The Dialogue recently held conversations with the Premier’s office to underline the importance of Andrew Constance being retained in the Transport portfolio, Stuart Ayres remaining as Minister for Western Sydney, Rob Stokes returning as Planning Minister and Health Minister Brad Hazzard continuing to oversee the development and performance of our hospitals.

 “Stuart has been one of the region’s strongest advocates, and the addition of jobs, investment and tourism is a smart move, particularly given the leading role he has played in the development of the Western Sydney Aerotropolis. The Dialogue is excited to continue working with Minister Ayres on managing the major issues and rapid growth of the region.

 “The Dialogue believes it is vital that Stuart Ayres, with his Western Sydney and Investment portfolio roles, maintains control of both the Western City Aerotropolis Authority (WCCA) and Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA) to fully leverage these dynamic job precincts.”

 Mr Brown also congratulated Parramatta MP, Geoff Lee on his appointment as Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education, while acknowledging Minister Stokes return to Planning, with the addition of Public Spaces to his portfolio, as a big win for Western Sydney.

 “The Dialogue sees the appointment of Rob Stokes as Planning Minister, following previous Government success in the role, as a very positive move, and one that will deliver more sustainable development outcomes in Western Sydney and a stronger focus on urban design and the environment.

 “We look forward to working with the Government, and assisting the new Cabinet as they get on with the job of delivering better health, education and infrastructure initiatives, including the Sydney Metro West, one of the most transformative projects in Greater Sydney. As the final plans for Metro West are prepared, the Dialogue is committed to continuing to facilitate engagement with the public and private sector to ensure this vital project is funded and delivered by 2028.

 The Dialogue is set to welcome many of the new ministry to speak on their priorities for the future of Western Sydney at the upcoming Out There Summit on July 2 in Bankstown.