June 2022


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.


June was a big month for the Dialogue as we ramped up our events and enjoyed more face-to-face connections with prominent politicians, business leaders, decision makers, investors, academics, educators and health industry experts.

It was wonderful to be able to recognise our region’s trailblazers, hear from today’s key influencers and set the stage for emerging Greater Western Sydney talent. The rooms were full to capacity and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

We thank all those who supported our June program, and look forward to welcoming you at future events.

On 15 June we held the Dialogue’s inaugural Ignite GWS 2022 innovation summit at CommBank Stadium.

To kick off the event we posed the questions, ‘Where are our bright sparks?’ and ‘How do we unearth and enable our next generation innovators?’ to two of the region’s most influential educators, Dorothy Hoddinott AO (USyd) and Rachel Powell (James Ruse Agricultural High). This session set the benchmark for the day, and we weren’t disappointed.

We heard from Treasurer Matt Kean, who reaffirmed the Government’s support for Greater Western Sydney with a promise to “turbocharge” a contemporary local economy to help power our state and nation for decades to come.

We were also joined by Stuart Ayres MP, Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade, and Western Sydney, who spoke about the significant transformation of the region over the past decade.

The Ignite summit launched two new awards that recognise leaders who have helped shape the innovation landscape in Greater Western Sydney:

  • The Patrons’ Prize for Collaboration was presented to Lucy Hughes Turnbull AO, inaugural Chair of the then Greater Sydney Commission (GSC), and the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull AC, 29th Prime Minister of Australia, and Dr Steven Kennedy PSM, Secretary to the Australian Treasury, in recognition of their city-shaping work for GWS

  • The Florence Mary Taylor Innovation Medal, named in honour of the Western Sydney pioneer Florence Mary Taylor, who became the first qualified female architect in Australia and the first woman to fly in Australia among many great achievements. The award was given to Robyn Denholm, Board Chair of Tesla and head of the Tech Council of Australia, who was raised in Western Sydney and began her career in her parent’s Milperra garage. This award recognises her excellence in innovation and professional achievements.

Ms Denholm told Dialogue Chairman Christopher Brown that Greater Western Sydney was shaping up to be the nation’s “tech powerhouse”. You can read her comments on the region’s future in our media release.

Ignite GWS 2022 was delivered in partnership with the NSW Government, Commonwealth Bank and NEC. We are grateful for the generous support of our host, City of Parramatta, and our sponsors – Australian Motorsport Innovation Precinct, the City of Campbelltown, Hitachi, Kimberwalli, SEC Newgate Australia, SMBC, South Western Sydney Local Health District, TAFE NSW and The University of Sydney.

You can read our media release from the event on our website.

Earlier this month we delivered the 2022 Collaborative Leadership Program (CLP), an immersive, in-residence event featuring 61 speakers, 35 delegates with 28 sessions over 5 days. It’s fair to say this inaugural program was an immense success, forging new alliances, addressing deep issues and developing regional leaders.

Between the humility of the Secretary of the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, Michael Coutts-Trotter, playing basketball with the kids of Savannah Pride in Blacktown, taking a walk through Parramatta Gaol with the Deerubbin Aboriginal elders, WSU Chancellor Professor Peter Shergold’s take on ‘collaboration’, seeing first hand the infrastructure being built at Western Sydney Airport and the deep dives into the economic, political, social, cultural and environmental drivers shaping Greater Western Sydney, it’s hard to pick just one highlight!

Thankfully each day was shared in real time with daily wrap ups on the Dialogue’s LinkedIn page.

We would like to thank our CLP primary partners, the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet and Western Sydney University, as well as CLP program hosts, supporters, contributors, and scholarship partners. We also thank our CLP Governors and Curatorial Reference Panel.

For more info on the 30 May – 3 June 2022 CLP program including: speakers, delegates, partners, supporters and event photos, you can hit up the CLP website. We can’t wait for CLP 2023!

A brilliant community

It was an honour to be part of the inspirational Proudly Public evening at Sydney Town Hall to present scholarships to students from across Western Sydney.

Our Public Education Foundation’s Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue Scholarships support public school students attending a high school in Western Sydney, and helps cover costs such as uniforms, books and equipment for years 11 and 12.

If you’re interested in exploring this program, Foundation scholarships for 2023 are open for applications.

NSW Budget Wrap

The NSW Budget included notable wins for Greater Western Sydney, with investment in transport infrastructure, healthcare, hospitals, community services, creative precincts and school upgrades.

The Dialogue welcomed the substantial new funding and ongoing commitment to the state’s $112 billion infrastructure pipeline, much of which will be invested in the region’s roads, rail, schools and hospitals. See the Dialogue’s media release here.

Federal Election

This month also saw the announcement of the new Federal cabinet.

With more than 20 per cent of the Federal frontbench based in Western Sydney, the region will be well-represented on the nation’s political stage, see our media release for details.

A recent article published by The Guardian Australia on the impacts and implications of the Federal election for Western Sydney featured insights from the Dialogue’s Executive Director, Adam Leto.

The dialogue

The Dialogue featured prominently in media coverage and commentary across media platforms in June, including:

  • A Sydney Morning Herald exclusive interview with Dialogue patron, Lucy Turnbull AO, and former Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull AC, at our for Ignite summit to discuss their transformative initiatives for Greater Western Sydney.
  • The Dialogue welcomed news of the State Government’s commitment to move ahead with Stage 2 of the Parramatta light rail project that was covered by the Sydney Morning Herald.
  • Federal Government plans to explore moving SBS to Australia’s multicultural heartland is once again making headlines, with this story published in the Sunday Telegraph.

Transport and Infrastructure

A 91-kilometre pathway snaking around Sydney’s waterfront and linking the Opera House to Parramatta Park will become one of the city’s longest and most iconic walking and cycling routes.

The state government will invest $60 million to kickstart delivery of the continuous path for pedestrians and cyclists through 18 suburbs along Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River.

Having successfully campaigned to help secure the Western Sydney Airport Metro Line, connecting Bradfield City with St Marys, the Dialogue was pleased to hear that there are plans to extend the Western Sydney Airport Metro line from the Aerotropolis to Glenfield via Leppington.

The extension will provide an additional transport option for one of Sydney’s fastest-growing regions and connect the area to the new Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport.