We acknowledge and honour Aboriginal People who have cared for country in Greater Western Sydney for at least 60,000 years.
The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue thanks these Traditional Owners and we pay our respects to their Ancestors and Elders – past, present and emerging.
With a new Government in place, it was great to head to Canberra for a couple of days last week. I was able to meet with politicians old and new, bureaucrats, press gallery journalists and shadow ministers.
I caught up with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s Chief of Staff, his economics & infrastructure advisors to talk about our exclusive PM luncheon, the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum and policies and projects affecting the West. I also proposed a regional meeting of the Federal Cabinet in Western Sydney.
I met with Communications Minister and Blacktown MP, Michelle Rowland, about moving SBS to the multicultural West, with Minister for Housing MP Julie Collins’ office about social and affordable housing and the $10B fund we helped secure in the election and Education Minister Jason Clare about university policy.
It was good to talk with Catherine King, Minister for Infrastructure, on her approach to Moorebank Intermodal and Western Sydney Airport, the ALP’s $50mil business case pledge for Castlereagh freeway in north-west Sydney, the future of the City Deal and what role the feds might play in an extension of the airport metro line from St Marys to Leppington.
There is now record representation of Greater Western Sydney at a national level, and on 7 October we have the privilege of hosting the Prime Minister’s luncheon to hear from PM Albanese and his ‘Westie’ Cabinet members and new MPs. Not surprisingly, there was great interest in this event among our partners, and tables sold out within 48 hours. Sorry if you missed out.
In other news, we congratulate Jennifer Westacott AO on being named Chancellor of Western Sydney University. I’ve worked with Jennifer on a number of projects, including the committee that selected the site for Badgery’s Creek Airport and in her role as BCA boss and WPCA Chair.
She succeeds Prof. Peter Shergold AC, who retires after 12 years of exemplary WSU leadership. We’ll formally welcome Jennifer and farewell Peter at the Prime Minister’s luncheon, where he will be presented with the annual Pemulwuy Prize by our Patrons.
In signing off, I want to recognise the tireless support for our region from the former NSW Minister for Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres. The dust is still settling on his recent resignation from his portfolios and leadership position, but the Dialogue puts on record that the Member for Penrith has been a champion for the region, and I have no doubt he’ll be campaigning hard come election time in 2023.
Growing a Circular Economy
There was a great turnout for our forum, Growing Western Sydney’s Circular Economy: A Global Perspective, at Western Sydney University on 27 June. The event featured a keynote address from Netherlands-based professor and world-renowned sustainability expert, Dr Jacqueline Cramer.
Hosted in partnership with Circular Australia, Aurecon and Sydney Water, Dr Cramer showed us how GWS can be the region to kick-start the nation’s circular economy.
Our thanks to Circular Australia CEO, Lisa McLean, for her presentation, as well as insightful Q&A sessions with Aurecon Managing Principal Sustainability & Climate Change, Justine ‘JJ’ Jarvinen, and Dr Kate C. McCauley, Precincts Client Leader NSW & ACT, Aurecon.
We also heard from Natalie Camilleri PSM, Executive Director, Multi-Utilities, Environment & Circular Economy, Western Parkland City Authority and Christopher Gould, General Manager, Business Development, Sydney Water, who discussed the challenges GWS faces in preserving and better utilising precious water resources.
You can read our media release here: Water recycling rise will see Greater Western Sydney surge ahead — Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue
In late June, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the first tranche of the 2021 Census statistics, with a focus on population data. The Dialogue’s policy team took a deep dive into the data to examine what the survey responses meant for Greater Western Sydney – the findings were enlightening and, at times, confronting.
Our analysis showed that residents of GWS are more religious than the rest of the nation, are feeling the financial pressure of surging rents and mortgages, suffer more from long-term illnesses than the rest of Sydney, and that young women are providing more unpaid care in the community.
Our insights into what the data means for local residents received extensive media attention, with coverage across ABC radio, TV and online featuring interviews with Dialogue Executive Director, Adam Leto:
You can read the Census media releases on our website:
The ABS will release 2021 Census employment data in October, and in mid-2023, more complex data, including socio-economic indexes for areas, will be published. Our team will once again be providing expert analysis and insights for our Partners.
For the fourth time in less than two years, the people of Greater Western Sydney have borne the brunt of devasting floods that have left homes destroyed, livelihoods ruined and communities scrambling to respond.
The Dialogue has welcomed the Federal Government’s initial $50million commitment to the Castlereagh Connection that will provide lifesaving flood access, but the hard truth is, more needs to be done. We support calls to investigate the raising of the Warragamba Dam wall – but only if it’s accompanied by water recycling and better roads and bridges for evacuations.
That’s why we wrote to the NSW Premier and the Prime Minister urging that the State and Federal governments come together for a dedicated Flood Summit to find long-lasting solutions to this catastrophic problem that’s crippling businesses and devastating households in our region
Cancer patients in South Western Sydney will soon have access to the latest advancements in treatment and clinical trials, with construction now underway on a new $52 million integrated centre in Campbelltown.
The world-class cancer centre will also offer access to the latest advancements in radiation and medical oncology services and have capacity to deliver more than 30,000 treatments annually. The Dialogue runs the Campbelltown Health & Education Precinct (CHEP) collaboration and was delighted with the council’s work to secure this exciting private investment.
After years of lobbying, we’re delighted to see that plans to relocate the nation’s multicultural broadcaster SBS to Australia’s multicultural heartland are starting to take shape.
We welcome the new Federal Government’s commitment to commission a feasibility study for relocating the SBS headquarters from Artarmon to Western Sydney.
It was also great to hear that the ABC has a new regional HQ, with plans for a new studio in Parramatta Square and the relocation of 300 staff, bringing the public broadcaster closer to some of Sydney’s most diverse and fastest-growing communities.