March 2024


View the Airport City Summit Program

The jam-packed program for the Dialogue’s Airport City Summit has just been released. Find out what our high-profile line up of Federal, State and local government leaders will discuss as we prepare to mark the 10th anniversary of the announcement of Western Sydney International Airport. 

The Dialogue’s Airport City Summit will gather the most important decision makers in government to unpack the strategy to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the opening of Western Sydney International Airport in late 2026 and the surrounding precincts.  

Click below to get an exclusive look at what will be discussed by Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport & Local Government, Hon. Catherine King MP, NSW Planning & Public Spaces Minister, Hon. Paul Scully MP, NSW Planning Secretary, Kiersten Fishburn, Western Sydney International Airport CEO, Simon Hickey, Western Parkland City Authority Chair, and Western Sydney University Chancellor, Jennifer Westacott AO, and Transport for NSW Deputy Secretary, Greater Sydney, Trudi Mares.  

Daniel Mookhey will hand down his second budget in June

One Year of Labor in NSW

Adam Leto, Chief Executive Officer

The Minns Government has taken a steady, and measured approach in its first 12 months, and while it hasn’t led a big-spending or massive reform agenda, it has delivered on many of its promises – many of them in Greater Western Sydney. 

It has given public sector staff pay rises and invested $6 billion in schools and hospitals in GWS. The State Government has committed to core transport projects like Sydney Metro West and Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2 – and in its proposal for a “mini-city” at Rosehill, shown a willingness to think outside the box. Importantly, the Premier, alongside Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Paul Scully, has started the reform of the planning system and is engaged in a battle of hearts and minds (and with NIMBYS) over the necessary housing density uplift in our city.  

It’s been a solid opening stance, especially for a new Government that’s spent more than a decade in Opposition, but there’s still plenty more work to be done to boost jobs and skills, generate economic activity and connect the cities of the West.   

 While it still might be a little early for Treasury to loosen the purse strings, the Dialogue is hopeful that in the next 18 months we might start to see firm plans and budgets for critical enabling infrastructure, particularly in the south-west, including future Metro extensions, Aerotropolis roads and the 15th Avenue Transit Corridor. 

We’re keen to see the release of the final Tolls Review, what recommendations will be adopted and how this will impact motorists in the region, while we also eagerly await the findings of the TAFE Review, providing a clearer roadmap towards shoring up local skills, training and capacity. 

The State Government has been unambiguously forthright in its prioritisation of housing as a key policy area, and we’re now starting to see some positive signs when it comes to growing jobs and the economy. 

The creation of the Jobs First Commission to oversee the implementation and growth of local industries, to support and advocate for local firms in bidding for government tenders, is a step in the right direction, and is an innovative approach that can unlock a lot of economic opportunities.   

Similarly, the NSW Innovation Blueprint, which is framed around the 4 I’s (Ideas, Investment, Industrialisation and Internationalism) and is currently in development, will hopefully re-establish a stronger global presence for the State, and our region, which with momentum building around the Western Sydney International Airport, and surrounding Aerotropolis, has never been more important. 

Talking Tolls

People of Western Sydney drive longer, further and are impacted more by tolls than anyone else in Sydney.  

Professor Alan Fels’ interim review into tolling in NSW found that the financial impact of tolls is greatest on residents in the north and south-west growth areas.  

Forty to 50 per cent of toll road users in Rouse Hill-McGraths Hill, Baulkham Hills, and Liverpool spend $20 or more a week on tolls, while residents in Blacktown, South West and Parramatta who use toll roads more than once a month, are spending between $84 and $95 a month on average.  

That is higher than the Greater Sydney average of $60.70 per month.  

Unwinding contracts is a potentially complex, risky and expensive exercise for the government with budgets already stretched. Doing so could also lead to a weakening of trust with the private sector to deliver critical infrastructure in Greater Western Sydney when it is needed most. 

The Dialogue wants to see a more equitable toll network and supports distance-based charging, where the further a user travels on the network, the lower the per-kilometre charge becomes. Additionally, the implementation of a two-way toll on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, could net the NSW Government more than $300 million and is an option worth consideration.  

Dialogue tours the AMRF

It was great to join Western Parkland City Authority on a tour of Bradfield City in March.  

There was a tonne of activity, with the very impressive, Advanced Manufacturing Research Facility (AMRF) building, currently under construction, which will provide a great opportunity to showcase local capability and help drive the creation of high-value jobs. 
The AMRF is just one part of a broader city vision, one which will be serviced by Metro rail, parklands, housing, cultural spaces and even a pool! And while there is still a long way to go, the tour was a reminder that the important pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together, and once formed, will provide new opportunities for residents, visitors and investors. 

Merrylands builds to rent

The Dialogue was delighted to be part of the official opening of Mason & Main – the biggest ‘build to rent’ development in NSW that’s located in the heart of Merrylands. 
Featuring 434 build-to-rent apartments alongside 415 apartments for sale, Mason & Main offers a lifestyle precinct and community hub that will no doubt be enjoyed by residents and locals for years to come. 

Dialogue Chairman Christopher Brown AM was MC for the event: 

“Cost-of-living pressures and housing affordability are key concerns for people in Western Sydney and Coronation’s Mason & Main development is a vital part of the housing mix that has created local jobs and supported local businesses. 

“This project shows you can create a landmark destination only five minutes from Parramatta’s CBD, with first-class amenities alongside key affordable housing for essential workers to address a pressing housing issue in Western Sydney.” 

East London Study Tour

The Dialogue’s East London Study Tour is just around the corner.

From June 2-7, we’ll be meeting the people in the UK who planned the transport links, delivered the new universities, framed unique governance models, consulted the communities and shaped a city east of the Tower Bridge.  

Occurring just one month after local government elections, a time of heated community advocacy, the Dialogue’s study tour will inform our cohort about East London’s urban regeneration, strategic planning, transport, innovation, arts and sport legacy, renewable energy, education, health and affordable housing.  

Click to find out more. 

WSU & Eels sign MoU

Western Sydney University and the Parramatta Eels have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), aimed at delivering opportunities for the community and students.

The MoU, which was signed at a dedicated event at the University’s Parramatta City campus, will strengthen and formalise the longstanding relationship between the organisations and includes a range of initiatives, spanning community engagement, education and research.