The Dialogue will support the YES campaign in the Voice to Parliament referendum. This recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia and reflects our pride that Greater Western Sydney is home to one of the largest urban Indigenous populations in this country.
Budget a chance to clear the fog in GWS
Adam Leto, CEO
This month’s State Budget isn’t expected to be a pretty one.
The NSW Treasurer has spent the past six months going through the Government’s books, line by line to identify any wastage, and already foreshadowed that significant spending cuts will be necessary to get the State’s economy back on track.
All this talk of reviews, and major infrastructure projects being delayed or scrapped entirely, has only added more fuel to the speculation that Labor’s first state budget in more than a decade will be pretty ruthless.
For a region that has become so used to seeing billions of dollars flowing its way, it’s going to be a bit of a shock at first, particularly as Greater Western Sydney is still playing catch-up when it comes to getting its fair share of critical infrastructure investment.
Despite what may be perceived as somewhat of a grim outlook, at least for the next 12 months, the reality is that significant post-Covid spending, combined with rising supply-chain costs, meant that any Government would be forced to look at how it can restore parity.
But it’s not all doom and gloom.
One of the most significant by-products of this upcoming Budget, is that it will finally provide more understanding and greater certainty in trying to piece together the NSW Government’s investment priorities.
While Premier Minns has been unapologetically firm in his commitment to the health and education portfolios, there are still questions being asked when it comes to future transport projects, the Government’s approach to strategic land-use planning and housing affordability, TAFE funding and its sustainability agenda, to name just a few.
When the Blacktown-born, Merrylands-raised NSW Treasurer, Daniel Mookhey hands down his first budget in a few weeks’ time it won’t just be about the numbers. Importantly, it will provide an insight into the government’s strategic direction and what it wants to be known for.
Whichever way you look at it, this is a defining moment for the NSW Government and after months of tinkering under the hood, Premier Minns and his team can start the engine.
Key budget questions for GWS
The $5 billion Westinvest fund was a critical plank for the Minns Government during its election campaign.
Since coming to power, the NSW Government has reaffirmed its commitment to deliver $2b worth of Community Projects – $400m local councils and $1.6b that were allocated as part of the competitive process involving non-government organisations and community groups.
However, as part of the WestInvest Review, established to ensure future funding is aligned to the NSW Government’s priorities, there is $3b worth of projects, across a range of portfolios, that have yet to be confirmed.
A large number of these projects fall in the areas of health and education, and while many expect the majority will be given the green light, the outlook may not be as bright for some of the others that were announced by the former State Government, particularly those in the transport portfolio.
- See the full list of Westinvest projects here
The Dialogue has had positive discussions in the past fortnight with the NSW Health Minister, Ryan Park, and remain encouraged by the commitment to follow through with its pre-election promises, and is hopeful that a positive announcement on the site for the new Bankstown Hospital, within the CBD, will be made soon.
The WestInvest Review is being carried out as part of the broader Strategic Infrastructure Review, led by Ken Kanofski, while the future of the Sydney Metro network, and Metro West, will be informed by the Sydney Metro Review, with both pieces of work having a significant influence on the budget papers next month.
Campbelltown’s Art of Healing
The Campbelltown Hospital Stage 2 Redevelopment project has been recognised for its visionary design and thoughtful integration of art into a healing environment, taking out top honours for Mental Health Design and Interior Design & the Arts at this year’s European Healthcare Design Awards.
For Brigette Uren, Program Director Arts at Health Infrastructure, it’s the culmination of many years of working with local artists, art galleries, community leaders, patients and staff in a rewarding cultural partnership.
“There is a growing body of work that reinforces the importance of art in health, recovery and medical outcomes.” Ms Uren told GWS Insider.
“Integrating art from the first design stage has so many impacts. Physically we see that it improves levels of anxiety, it stabilises heart rates and is a positive point of distraction.
“At Campbelltown Hospital in particular there were unique stories and images that came from the community, ones that you could only experience in the area.”
From the artworks created to selection of plants, the community played an integral role in the process, with local artists working closely with the Campbelltown Arts Centre.
“The stories and Songlines are deeply connected to country and very special for Campbelltown. You can’t pick those artworks up and put them somewhere else,” Ms Uren said.
“One of our key aspirations was to embed cultural safety for First Nations communities that starts at the point of arrival and continues right through to the point of departure.
“For Campbelltown, creating a sense of everyone being welcome was deeply important. The aim was to enhance the local healthcare settings by providing a visually uplifting and comforting environment for patients, visitors, staff and the community.”
GWS turns up for the FIFA Women’s World Cup
A total of 378,920 people attended World Cup matches at Accor Stadium and thousands packed into Commbank Stadium, the home of the Western Sydney Wanderers, and Cathy Freeman Park in Sydney Olympic Park to watch the Matildas semi-final clash against England.
According to figures by Airwallex, the Women’s World Cup has seen a $2.98 billion rise in travel and retail spending in NSW.
Across the region, local councils turned their streets green and gold with live sites attracting tens of thousands of spectators across the Matildas seven World Cup matches.
City of Parramatta hosted all seven matches at Parramatta Square, Penrith hosted thousands of fans at Jamison Park and The Mondo and Cumberland Council televised the Matildas at their new crown jewel, Merrylands Civic Square.
Liverpool Council’s Cirillo Reserve in Middleton Grange and Campbelltown Council’s Athletics Centre also brought the house down for the ‘Tillies’.
The last month has shown the power of local events and how the sporting DNA of Greater Western Sydney fosters collaboration and unity between communities.
Congratulations to local councils, tourism operators and stadium managers who helped put on the best Women’s World Cup ever.
Tools up for women in the West
A unique Western Sydney-based program is helping women break into the construction industry. Led by Dialogue Partner, CPB Contractors, the course offers graduates guaranteed work on major infrastructure projects.
Women in Construction is a paid training program that’s removing barriers for women wanting to change careers by making sure they have the financial security and skills to work across a growing pipeline of infrastructure projects.
Don Johnson, CPB Contractors Chief Operating Officer and Executive General Manager, NSW & ACT, Major Projects and Tunnelling, said the first-of-its-kind program was now in its second year and proving a huge success.
“Women have been under-represented in the sector. This program is about creating a more equitable construction industry and delivering real jobs and real opportunities to more people,” Mr Johnson said.
There were 13 female graduates from the recent Western Sydney program and they are now all set to start work on major infrastructure projects across Sydney, including the M6 Stage 1.
Kim Gwilliam, a Western Sydney local, graduated from the pilot program in 2022 and has been working for CPB Contractors for the past 12 months as a labourer. She says it’s the best career decision she ever made.
“Born and bred in Western Sydney, I’m excited to be a part of building important infrastructure that is going to help people in my community. I would recommend any woman get into construction. I’ve had the best experience from start to finish and I’m very proud of myself,” Ms Gwilliam said.
The Dialogue congratulates CPB Contractors on this great initiative that’s supporting and promoting women in our fast-growing region.
Welcome to our new partners
The Dialogue is thrilled to welcome RATPDev, University of Wollongong and Qudos Bank Arena as partners of the Dialogue.
RATPDEV is contributing to the economic growth of Western Sydney by providing high-quality public transit links to Western Sydney International Airport. They are the exclusive Operations & Maintenance contractor for the driverless Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project.
Qudos Bank Arena is the largest indoor entertainment and sporting arena in Australia, located in Sydney Olympic Park. Qudos Bank Arena is one of the premier multipurpose arenas in Australasia.
University of Wollongong is a respected, high-quality university with a growing footprint in Greater Western Sydney. UOW joins the Dialogue with goal of accommodating 7,000 students at their Liverpool campus by 2030 and contributing to the economic and social development of our region.
SURVEY: Prospect Reservoir
The NSW Government wants your help to examine opportunities to increase recreational use of Prospect Reservoir. Interested parties can submit their ideas on the survey available here.
There is a substantial demand for more local swimming spots, with about half of local residents enjoying outdoor recreation involving water at least once a week. The largest barrier to accessibility in GWS is travel time.
Submit your ideas here.
Register now for ‘Up… and Out? GWS Housing Summit’
Social and affordable housing, planning reforms, unlocking public and private sector housing investment and collaborating to fix Greater Western Sydney’s housing crisis.
All that and more is on the agenda at the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue’s ‘Up…and Out? GWS Housing Summit’ at Inglis Riverside, Warwick Farm, on Friday 22 September.
If you want to join industry leaders, policymakers, big thinkers and big builders in housing to get to the bottom of key issues, including the NSW Government’s housing and planning agenda, then book your spot for this landmark event.
Take a sneak peek at a snapshot of our event program and click here to register to attend.
GWS Future Health Forum
Regsitrations are open for the 2023 GWS Future Health Forum.
GWS health leaders will be focusing on regional solutions to issues across health service provision, community engagement, innovative partnerships, city-shaping, skills pipeline, digital and transport access.
The Dialogue presents this complimentary policy forum for its partners and invited guests in collaboration with Greater Western Sydney’s three Local Health Districts, and with thanks to our event sponsors Arup and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Click here to register to attend the 2023 GWS Future Health Forum.