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.
Government muscles up to housing crisis
Christopher Brown AM
The Greater Cities Commission has always had its critics, especially amongst those who wanted Sydney’s old, corrupt residential planning system to prevail forever.
The advent of the Commission under then Premier Mike Baird and Planning Minister Rob Stokes was designed to rebuild community confidence in a broken system and provide strategic oversight and co-ordination of a massive infrastructure rollout. Its enduring legacy was the redefining of Sydney into Three Cities, including the Central River City and the Western Parkland City that we now define as Greater Western Sydney – and introducing a seismic shift in the way this state thinks about the West.
Chaired originally by Dialogue Patron, Lucy Hughes Turnbull, and now the highly-respected Geoff Roberts AM, the GSC morphed into the Greater Cities Commission in 2021, reflecting new State priorities to include the Hunter, Illawarra and Central Coast in broader regional planning and economic development.
While the Commission has rebuilt confidence and changed our urban perspective, it has never really met its ambition to be a ‘tough parent’ in infrastructure and planning co-ordination, because of intransigence of other government agencies and a lack of political spine by some of its regulators under pressure from some developers and their barrackers.
Under the new Government, the Commission will be charged with rebalancing the burden of population growth.
The GCC will no doubt be asked to take on the north shore, inner west and eastern suburbs councils which expect the Golden West to house the essential workers they need to fill their factories, deliver their packages, teach their kids and cook their food. While we will cheer them on in this crusade, we also know that the River and Parkland cities will continue to carry the housing load.
What we do hope is that the government’s public determination to back urban density over suburban distance is backed by equal determination for true amenity, upgraded transport links, decentralised employment growth and the delivery of proximate health and education services.
This is how we build modern, dynamic, productive and inclusive cities, not driven by developer greed or residential bigotry but guided by principles of sustainability, equality, transparency and great design.
Top 5 for Mookhey’s June Budget
Daniel Mookhey has switched the printer on for his June Budget Update. Here are five things the Treasurer mustn’t put his red line through.
Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2
The crucial connection between Sydney Olympic Park and Parramatta CBD is a legacy project that the Minns government must not leave behind.
The delivery of the project has been delayed for five years and is now unlikely to be delivered before 2031 on current timelines. A further delay will result in stranded communities.
The last budget delivered by the Perrottet Government showed $110 million allocated in 2022/23 for the redevelopment of Bankstown Hospital with a potential completion date of 2029.
The hospital is breaking down and a new one must be built in the CBD to service a part of Western Sydney that will soon have heavy and metro rail leading to more urban development and a boost in its population.
Western Sydney Airport Rapid Bus Network
The Minns Government has committed the required $300 million to establish the rapid bus network from Campbelltown, Penrith and Liverpool to Western Sydney International Airport.
Blacktown should be added to the rapid bus route, servicing one of the fastest growing LGAs in Sydney. Secondly, the bus fleet should be GWS-manufactured electric vehicles.
Lastly, the buses should get started as soon as possible along existing roads to the airport to ensure the people of Campbelltown, Penrith, Liverpool and Blacktown are connected, with dedicated busways to follow later.
Job-Generating Roads Package (Richmond Road Stage 1, Spring Farm Parkway, Mamre Road)
The Perrottet Government and former Roads Minister Natalie Ward were commended for their commitment to job-generating road projects like Richmond Road, Spring Farm Parkway and Mamre Road which we called for in our 2023 Election Priorities document.
The Dialogue would like to see more commitments on crucial road connections that were overlooked such as Badgery’s Creek Road, Luddenham Road and the long-awaited Olympic Park roundabout.
Western Sydney North-South Metro Network
The Minns Government must commit to North-South extensions as part of a full metro network. While recognising that a Metro Review is currently underway, we remain hopeful that northern extensions from Tallawong (via Marsden Park) and southern extensions (Campbelltown and Liverpool) remain listed as long-term priorities by the NSW Government.
Speakman soul searches in GWS
Mark Speakman has a difficult job on his hands.
The Cronulla MP must rebuild his party after an election loss that saw five GWS seats fall to the ALP and two blue-blood seats in Wakehurst and Wollondilly get snatched by independents.
Speakman’s announcement of his shadow cabinet brought about predictable headlines on the future of Matt Kean as Health Minister and Natalie Ward’s ascension to deputy leader, but an overlooked decision has implications for the West.
The Liberal leader has named Winston Hills MP Mark Taylor as shadow Western Sydney Minister and a new shadow ministry has been unveiled with Oatley MP Mark Coure taking on the shadow portfolio for Southwestern Sydney.
It’s not a decision spurred on by the election result with just two seats based in the southwest (Camden and Wollondilly) but the shifting tides of growth and development in the Macarthur corridor.
Liverpool City Council is progressing with its grand vision to become Sydney’s third CBD and recently announced the topping out of Liverpool Civic Place. Campbelltown Health and Education Precinct, an initiative run by the Dialogue with great success in connecting community, government and industry, will see the Campbelltown region emerge as a pivotal innovation, health and skills hub.
It’s always difficult to recover from an election loss, but as first steps go towards rebuilding, this is a positive one from the new Liberal leader.
Build up, not out
We cannot continue to repeat the current planning processes and expect the housing crisis in Greater Western Sydney to fix itself.
That’s why Executive Director Adam Leto has featured prominently in the Daily Telegraph this month imploring planning bosses to not simply add another street to the fringe of Western Sydney and instead focus on higher density in civic centres and health and education precincts.
A breath of fresh air has blown through the housing debate when Premier Chris Minns instructed his ministers to find government owned land that can be rezoned to address the housing crisis. However, many NSW government agencies will have the info at hand via mapping resources they use every day.
The Dialogue partnered with Landcom in 2020 to provide a high level indication of the scale of the opportunity to use publicly owned land for the development of social and affordable housing in GWS.
The analysis found 1600ha of developable land owned by government, councils and institutions like universities that is appropriately zoned for residential within a 1km radius of rail stations/corridors.
The LGAs in GWS with the most space available to be developed are Blacktown (295ha), Parramatta (220 ha) and Penrith (220ha) while Blacktown and Parramatta LGAs are also the council areas with the largest forecasted demand for social housing by 2036.
This is why the Dialogue has long advocated for an inclusionary zoning target of 30% affordable housing within 1km of metro stations in our region.
Higher density in the major centres like Liverpool, Campbelltown, Bankstown, Blacktown, Parramatta and Penrith can ease the housing crisis while also maintaining access to green space, services and amenity for people to lead better lifestyles.
Minns address to GWS sold out!
The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue is honoured to host the 47th Premier of NSW, Hon. Chris Minns MP, for his first major address in Greater Western Sydney since his election victory in March on Thursday June 15 at Accor Stadium in Sydney Olympic Park.
The Premier will deliver the Lachlan Macquarie Lecture as he returns to the region that helped deliver him Labor’s election win with a diverse, gender-equal Cabinet led by ‘true-westies’ Deputy Premier Prue Car and Treasurer Daniel Mookhey, with a major reform agenda for health, education and manufacturing and updated priorities in transport and housing.
On behalf of the Dialogue Patrons, our new Minister for Western Sydney, Hon. Prue Car MP, will also present the Pemulwuy Prize to two strong and fearless advocates for Greater Western Sydney.
Dialogue gem steals the show at TedX Sydney Youth
The Dialogue was proud to attend Tedx Sydney Youth at Parramatta Riverside Theatres this month where we heard from inspiring, young, and energetic ‘Future Creators’ from Greater Western Sydney.
Our very own Ceyda Nalbantoglu did a sensational job curating the event and was part of the on-stage presenting team. Congratulations to University of Sydney and City of Parramatta for bringing this important event to our region.
Australian Circular Economy Forum
The Dialogue are supporters of sustainable strategies to unlock the net-zero circular economy. We are offering a 10% discount to attend the 2nd Australian Circular Economy Forum event to help drive the circular economy transition. The event is being held at UNSW Roundhouse on Monday 26 June.
Key government, industry and business stakeholders including the Federal Minister for the Environment and Water Hon. Tanya Plibersek will join Circular Australia and Impact X for this important national forum to help shape an Australian roadmap to achieve a circular economy by 2030.
We invite partners who would like to attend to purchase tickets and use the code PARTNER to access a 10% discount.
Dialogue supports Western Sydney kids
The Dialogue was honoured to present five Western Sydney students the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue Scholarship at the Public Education Foundation’s ‘Proudly Public’ awards on this month.
Now entering its sixth year, the scholarship helps public high school students in the region complete their senior years of education. This small amount of support can make a big difference in the lives of these young students, as they deal with a range of financial, social and cultural challenges.
So far, the Dialogue has supported 30 students from a range of different backgrounds, including MC Baraa Omar. In 2013, Baraa fled war-ravaged Syria and settled in Western Sydney where she attended Holroyd High School. She was the recipient of the inaugural Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue Scholarship and is now studying Civil Engineering at University of Technology Sydney.