April 2024


Federal Budget Focus for GWS

Adam Leto, Chief Executive Officer

The Federal Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, has flagged that the upcoming budget in May will have a Western Sydney flavour, which is welcome news particularly on the infrastructure front. 

The Dialogue’s full list of priorities for the Federal Budget will be announced in the coming days, but one important project that we’ll be keeping an eye on, is the impending release of the relocation of SBS feasibility study, which was first announced at the Dialogue’s  Lachlan Macquarie Lecture in October 2022, and was due to be made public in the first quarter of 2024.  

The Dialogue has had fruitful discussions with local governments in Western Sydney that are keen to not just relocate SBS, but accelerate its evolution into a major, modern, multicultural news service, and help catalyse the growth of local, creative and digital industries.  

While there are strong signs that the upcoming Federal budget will deliver some positive news when it comes to ‘roads and rail’, especially in the south-west, the SBS feasibility study, could prove to be just as transformative.  

Critical GWS Roads

Ahead of the Federal Budget, Western Sydney has been in the spotlight with a number of critical road projects in urgent need of funding ahead of the opening of Western Sydney International Airport in 2026. 

NSW Planning Minister Paul Scully told the Dialogue’s Airport City Summit last month that planning is underway for key roads, including Elizabeth Drive, Mamre Road Stage 2 and the 15th Avenue Transit Corridor.  

In the Dialogue’s submission to the NSW Government inquiry into Critical Transport Infrastructure supporting Western Sydney International Airport and Aerotropolis, we also called for priority funding for Badgerys Creek Road, Southern Link Road, Luddenham Road and an upgrade of Ferrers Road.  

In line with local government and other GWS stakeholders, we also continued our call to deliver a Western Sydney Rapid Bus network in time for the Airport opening. 

The Dialogue also advocated for the planning of future metro extensions including from Bradfield to Glenfield via Leppington, and St Marys to Tallawong.

Elizabeth Drive

GWS Forgotten Suburbs

The Dialogue recently attended The Hive and BaptistCare’s HopeStreet ‘2770 Forgotten Suburbs’ event where we heard startling facts about the lack of transport access in Mount Druitt suburbs such as Bidwill and Tregear.  

Residents of these areas told the conference about the barriers to seeking and gaining employment and other socio-economic factors that inhibit workforce and family participation as a result of low levels of public transport access.  

Mount Druitt suburbs are among the most disadvantaged suburbs in Australia.  Unemployment in Willmot (14%), Bidwill (14%), Lethbridge Park (11%) and Tregear (12%) is higher than the state average and in some cases is double Western Sydney LGAs like Blacktown (6%).  

BaptistCare’s research showed the cascading impacts of poor liveability and a lack of infrastructure, access to caring arrangements, and transport are some of the biggest barriers to seeking and gaining employment in these suburbs.  

The Dialogue echoes the calls by BaptistCare to increase investment for a thriving Mount Druitt, which includes improved transport connections so residents can access work, education, training and healthcare.


Surf’s Up in GWS

With an investment of over $75 million, Sydney’s first wave park is set to have a big impact on the local economy, with the Australian-owned URBNSURF Sydney projected to contribute a net economic benefit of $250 million to the Sydney Olympic Park area over the next two decades. 
Spanning an impressive 3.6-hectares, the wave lagoon is similar in size to the Sydney Cricket Ground, with the park designed to accommodate up to 1,000 visitors a day. The park will also feature a Surf Academy, swimming pool, skate pad, a health and wellness centre and food and retail outlets. 
And that’s great news for GWS residents who for way too long have had to beat a path to the Northern Beaches, Eastern Suburbs or the Shire to catch a wave. 
The Dialogue is proud to have been a supporter of URBNSURF since its inception in 2020, and we congratulate CEO Damon Tudor and the team who have overseen the vision to turn a car park into a world-class wave centre that will benefit us all. 

Current and Future Transport

The Dialogue was pleased to see several of its key recommendations backed by the NSW Parliament inquiry into ‘Current and Future Transport Needs in Western Sydney’.

Among the 20 recommendations made in the report, the Dialogue was encouraged to see there was a commitment to completing the north-south rail link and connection to Leppington by 2032, prioritising the delivery of a rapid bus network to Western Sydney International Airport, and increasing bus service frequency in new development areas in Western Sydney.

The report highlighted Dialogue CEO, Adam Leto, and Executive Director of Policy & Advocacy, Luke Turner’s contribution when they spoke to the inquiry last year, with a particular emphasis on the need for planning, corridor preservation and clarity about when metro extensions would be delivered.

Short term solutions, such as expanding bus services and routes, were also mentioned with Adam Leto arguing there was a need to prioritise projects for residents that aren’t connected to major employment centres.

You can find the full report here

GWS Corporate Affairs Roundtable

It was fantastic to launch the Dialogue’s latest initiative, the GWS Corporate Affairs Roundtable, at Endeavour Energy (NSW) in Parramatta this month. 
Hosted by Dialogue CEO, Adam Leto and Dialogue Communications Director, Belinda Wallis the initiative is a new networking collective for public affairs specialists with an interest in Western Sydney to collaborate professionally and work together to strengthen our regional advocacy. 
We were thrilled to be joined by Story Factory CEO, and former Sydney Morning Herald journalist, Catherine Keenan AM, who gave the group an expert run-down in what we can learn about effective story-telling and what it means for Western Sydney. Her inspiring journey was an incredible insight into the power of connecting to people and the key to successful campaigns.