June 2023


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.

The first 100 days of the Minns Government 

Since the election of the Minns government on March 25, a frenetic shift has occurred, with changes to every Minister, all of their staff, half of the bureaucracy and agency CEOs (and some entire departments) and a stack of new MPs.

Despite the fast-paced start to life in government, the Minns team has put a few markers in the ground and kicked off various inquiries that have set a tone for what’s to come for this rookie administration.  While there are plenty of changes in the pipeline, the seismic shift coming in metropolitan planning is the challenge that will define the Minns Premiership.

“Go up, not out” is the new mantra in NSW after the Premier signalled that urban sprawl will be wound back in favour of greater urban infill in the Central River City with Parramatta at its core, and also in the inner city.  In blunt terms, and with Treasury demanding cuts to the cost of more remote transport, utilities and social infrastructure, that means we will see more high-rise apartments built above and near major transport hubs.

The Minns Government established its own planning narrative this month when it absorbed the Greater Cities Commission, Western Parkland City Authority and over 300 public servants into the planning department. The government says it will reduce duplication and streamline the planning process in an effort to tackle the housing crisis.

Retiring Greater Cities Commission boss, Geoff Roberts AM, in his last effort at the organisation, will have helped deliver new housing and jobs targets to Premier Chris Minns and Planning Minister Paul Scully. Expect this updated Metro Plan to include more aggressive targets with an emphasis on homes that maximise existing and looming transport links to boost proximity, reduce the cost of new infrastructure and minimise the tyranny of distance that besets many remote suburban communities across the Golden West.

Major infrastructure and transport planning decisions are currently under review separately by respected bureaucrats, Ken Kanofski and Mike Mrdak, which should see benefit for routes like the 15Th Avenue busway from Liverpool to Badgerys Creek, Parramatta Light Rail 2, extension of the Airport Metro to meet the South West Rail line at Leppington (plus a Y link at Glenfield to help Campbelltown commuters) and the completion of the Metro line to Bankstown. 

However, the Dialogue will not allow other communities to be abandoned and will continue to campaign for routes like the Castlereagh Corridor to the north west, Richmond Road upgrade, extension of the Airport Metro toward Blacktown in the north and to Macarthur in the south and delivery of the promised rapid bus services between the new airport and its adjacent city centres of Campbelltown, Liverpool and Penrith.

The Dialogue does understand that the new Premier wants to develop Sydney in a different way and at a different pace, to match both community concerns and a much tighter fiscal environment.  While we respect this mandate and accept the reality of a slower roll out of new suburban land release and infrastructure to match, we will not allow this changed priority to abandon existing communities to more social and economic isolation nor will we allow those investors who in good faith followed previous government policy to be left high and dry.

Addressing the housing crisis is the challenge that will define the Minns Government
Read more about our Beyond the Boom
WATCH: Beyond the Boom launched at the Lachlan Macquarie Lecture

Exclusive look at Beyond the Boom

A landmark public policy initiative that will help shape the future of Greater Western Sydney – Beyond the Boom – is the largest thought leadership piece the Dialogue has ever embarked on.

The report will be an intergenerational collaboration between the greatest minds in the private and public sector as well as academia and community organisations to shape a brighter future for our region.

It will examine physical, digital and international connectivity, the social fabric of GWS, leading the region into a smart, sustainable and innovative economy and re-imagining and shaping a new narrative for Western Sydney – and will involve a huge amount of public consultation with our community.

The process will be overseen by an Eminent Persons Group of government, business and academic experts, chaired by Professor Peter Shergold AC.  Deputy Premier Hon. Prue Car MP will act as Patron.

It’s work will be directed by the Dialogue in partnership with a Curatorial Reference Panel, co-chaired by Deloitte’s Theo Psychogios and a representative of the soon-to-be-established NSW Cabinet Office.

We have also begun discussions with leading academic institutes to work with us on this bold ambition and have signed an MOU with the respected James Martin Institute university cluster.

Find out some of the experts the Dialogue has joined forces with to deliver this report to coincide with the 10-year anniversary of the Western Sydney Airport announcement in April 2024.

Brutal day for the HAFF-nots

The back and forth between the Labor Party and the Greens Party over the Housing Australia Future Fund has given key stakeholders housing fatigue. 

After both sides seemed to reach a compromise, (the Greens scaling back their call for direct investment and Labor meeting their request with a $2billion social housing spend, among other things) community housing partners, developers, the construction sector, the government and Australian voters expected to see action on the nation’s housing crisis. 

However, the following Monday they were met with a green grenade that blew up the government’s housing agenda. As a result, a Senate vote on the HAFF cannot occur until October.

While housing stress is not limited to Greater Western Sydney, the region has always and will continue to take on a disproportionate burden when it comes to population growth. The region is looking down the barrel of a post-pandemic population boom, which will squeeze housing affordability even further. 

Suburbs like Bonnyrigg feature in the top 10 suburbs across NSW for mortgage arrears while hundreds of thousands of renters in Greater Western Sydney are stuck in a spiralling rental crisis. 

The young people of Western Sydney are either locked out of owning a home or locked into rental stress, and that pain is set to continue without a clear end in sight. 

The Dialogue would encourage the Government to consider how it can move forward negotiations and bring together public and private funding to address this critical housing issue in Western Sydney.

The housing crisis pits Adam Bandt and Anthony Albanese against each other like never before

Women’s World Cup re-ignites global appeal of GWS

In three weeks’ time the Matildas will open their home World Cup campaign in front of 80,000 people at Accor Stadium in Sydney Olympic Park. If their efforts are successful, they’ll be back one month later in the World Cup final on the same hallowed turf. 

The 2023 Women’s World Cup has already sold over 1,000,000 tickets and will be watched by over one billion people worldwide. Greater Western Sydney will be the lynchpin to yet another global showstopper and this event can re-establish our primacy as the host for the ultimate blockbusters. 

Greater Western Sydney’s reputation as the host for the ultimate blockbuster has been challenged by Magic Round in Brisbane, Gather Round and LIV Golf in Adelaide and the Australian Open and Grand Prix in Melbourne. Even the NRL grand final, (played at Olympic Park every year since 1998) is no longer guaranteed. 

That’s why the Dialogue wrote to NSW Tourism Minister Hon. John Graham MLC in May calling for the NSW Government to secure the future of the NRL grand final in Greater Western Sydney in the short term and work with stakeholders to sign a 25-year deal to keep it at Sydney Olympic Park. 

The Women’s World Cup will only make that case stronger as GWS re-asserts itself as the true home of global and national sporting moments.  

CLP 2023 

CLP 23 boasts an amazing cohort of 40 existing and emerging leaders, with over two thirds of our delegates being female, evenly matched public and private sector contributors and including four NGO community representatives courtesy of generous scholarships. 

The intensive week-long residential program saw them learn valuable leadership skills from our nation’s eminent leaders in government, business and academia and engage with the community across much of the West, including Cabramatta, Penrith, Liverpool, Mt Druitt, Badgerys Creek and Parramatta.

As always, we were there to capture all the action on the Dialogue’s social media channels. You can find images from exciting sessions (inset) including visits to Parramatta Gaol, court time at Savannah Pride and discussions at Western Sydney University, Deloitte and Liverpool’s Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Science. 

Stay tuned over the coming weeks for a video featurette on #CLP2023

Adam Leto, CEO, Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue

At the Dialogue

It was an honour to congratulate the Dialogue’s Adam Leto on his appointment as the organisation’s first Chief Executive Officer in front of Premier Chris Minns and Deputy Premier Prue Car at the Lachlan Macquarie Lecture and Pemulwuy Prize Lunch this month. 

Raised in Fairfield as the son of an Italian migrant, and educated at Westfield’s Sports High, this former Fairfax journalist has served as Executive Director since we began in 2015 and will lead a dynamic executive group at the Dialogue.

London calls for Western Sydney…again!

The Dialogue is headed back to East London in 2024! 

We were excited to announce that the Dialogue will be returning to the boroughs of East London in June 2024 with a Western Sydney delegation for our UK study tour. 

Following the success of our landmark expedition in 2019, the Dialogue will go back to examine affordable housing, urban consolidation, transport-oriented development and East London’s social infrastructure legacy.  Details will be released soon but check your calendars now for this exclusive offer.

East London is a dynamic region with similar governance to here and its rapid growth challenges present the best case study from which Greater Western Sydney can learn as we undergo our transformation. 

Thank you Geoff Roberts AM

The Dialogue congratulates and farewells outgoing Greater Cities Commission Chief Commissioner Geoff Roberts AM as he completes his stewardship of the NSW strategic planning body.

Geoff has been one of the City’s leading voices over the past decade and has not only played a key role in helping define its strategic direction, but importantly, also forging the necessary links between government, industry and the community. As the sun sets on the Greater Cities Commission and is moved under the wing of the state planning department, the Dialogue hopes the government can harness the same passion, advocacy and attention to detail that Geoff and the Commission has displayed.

Geoff has also been one of the region’s strongest advocates and critical in establishing the early foundations and identity of the Western Parkland City.

We look forward to Geoff continuing to stay involved in the region, and through his support of our Beyond the Boom project, we’re confident that his knowledge, big-thinking, and experience will continue to generate positive outcomes.

Close to 50 stakeholders attended the Greater Merrylands Partnership Forum in February

Register to contribute to Greater Merrylands

The Dialogue is inviting stakeholders with an interest in the Cumberland LGA, Merrylands and surrounds to contribute to addressing challenges and opportunities in Greater Western Sydney’s inner core on Thursday July 6

NSW Member for Granville, Julia Finn MP, and UNSW Cities Institute Director, Peter Poulet, will give voice to the State government’s plans in housing, transport, employment and generating economic activity around local centres in Merrylands.

The Merrylands Partnership brings together diverse stakeholders from the business, industry, community and government sector to encourage State and Federal agencies to improve local amenity and highlight social and economic infrastructure needs in the Cumberland LGA and Greater Merrylands. 

If you are interested in contributing to this discussion and would like to attend, please RSVP to events@westernsydney.org.au