October 2023


Top 3 Insights: GWS Future Health Forum

The Dialogue welcomed NSW Minister for Health, Ryan Park, at our second annual GWS Future Health Forum at CommBank Stadium, held in partnership with Greater Western Sydney’s three Local Health Districts.

Here are three key insights from the Forum:

Health Minister looks beyond bricks and mortar 

Ryan Park came with a clear message for the GWS Future Health Forum.

The Minister said the NSW Government’s $3 billion hospital spend in our region must be supplemented by a critical pathway to attract and retain health workers in Western Sydney.

Minister Park spoke candidly about how expansions and upgrades at hospitals in GWS were important, but he reaffirmed that “we’re not going to build ourselves out of” this health crisis.

“The staffing in our hospitals is far and away the thing that keeps me up at night,” he said.

He shared insights into how the government plans to incorporate health services and infrastructure into planning processes, telling the Forum, “every time we look at large-scale housing developments, what I’m often asking is, what is the health infrastructure we are embedding in these communities?”

The Minister also said the relocation of Bankstown Hospital to a new site in the CBD was a “personal priority”, and that he’s committed to keeping “the project moving and going forward”, but told the Forum, “we are not quite there yet”.

Junk food advertising bans work 

The Dialogue called for the NSW Government to initiate a cost-effective ban on junk food being advertised on all public transport assets to help tackle the alarming rates of obesity and diabetes hitting Greater Western Sydney communities. We also believe that vending machines at train stations and future light rail stops should only offer healthy snacks and drinks – as per the leadership shown by our public hospitals.

The Dialogue’s policy team told the health forum of a similar program that had shown positive results in the City of London. After an advertising ban of food and drink high in fat, sugar and salt from the tube and bus network, researchers recorded an 81% reduction in sugar purchases per week, 95,000 fewer cases of obesity, and a $500 million reduction in costs to the National Health Service (NHS).

Does community sport need a rebrand?

Dialogue CEO, Adam Leto, revealed that junior sport participation (0-14 years) in NSW has plummeted almost 10% in the four years to 2022. Our expert panel at the Health Forum featuring Erin Lorenzini, David Burns, Carlos Frias and Rebecca Grasso questioned whether community sport needs a rebrand following the disruptive years of the pandemic.

They noted that a barrier to participation was the decline in volunteering, which is the engine that powers programs at a grassroots level. At a time when the cost of living is high, one of the first things that falls off family budgets are extracurricular activities.

Strategies to arrest declining participation included the status of the popular Active Kids voucher program and opportunities to encourage multiple activities at sporting venues for both parents and kids.

Register now for Boomtown! 2023

The Dialogue’s Boomtown! Project of the Year Awards and Summit are only two weeks away.

Book your spot here >> Boomtown! Gala Dinner and Summit 2023

Register now for the Dialogue’s Boomtown! Project of the Year Awards Gala Dinner on Thursday, November 16 and Greater Western Sydney’s premier property and infrastructure event on Friday, 17 November at Accor Stadium.

Hear from Transport for NSW Secretary, Josh Murray at dinner, in candid conversation on stage with Dialogue Chair, Christopher Brown and witness the crowning of the Project of the Year award winner with 11 outstanding projects across Western Sydney in the running for the top prize.

In its eighth year, GWS’ premier property and infrastructure event you’ll hear government leaders and experts examine:

  • Transport-orientated development
  • Road links to industrial precincts
  • Addressing the housing crisis
  • The future GWS infrastructure pipeline 

Join us to hear from NSW Transport Minister, Jo Haylen, NSW Roads Minister, John Graham, Planning Secretary, Kierstan Fishburn and WPCA Chair, Jennifer Westacott AO, speak before hundreds of property, transport, construction, infrastructure, government, and community leaders at this landmark event.

The Ministers will outline the NSW Government’s policy and project priorities, including the opportunities to increase density along transport corridors, the future of the Metro network, Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2, as well as the key projects that will unlock employment precincts.

Private, public and not-for-profit leaders will pull back the veil on how to build with metro, the road projects to unlock investment and improve productivity, and the role of state development corporations in Western Sydney’s future.

Front (L-R): Lauren Nicholls and Luke Turner | Back (L-R): Tania Hyde and Laura Cameron

Beyond the Boom

The Dialogue’s landmark thought leadership and public policy initiative, Beyond the Boom, is picking up pace.

The project will establish an updated and shared vision for the West – a new growth narrative that reflects the modern identity of the region.

The Dialogue recently brought together the Beyond the Boom Eminent Persons Group, featuring Deputy Premier Prue Car (Patron), Prof. Peter Shergold, Lindy Deitz, Michelle Trudgett, Geoff Roberts, Jennifer Westacott and Kiersten Fishburn, to discuss progress of this landmark policy work.

The Dialogue will be working through community and business feedback in the coming weeks to start unpacking data and testing with our network over the next few months.  Business Council of Australia CEO, Bran Black, will host a meeting with national business leaders to tease out issues affecting GWS investment as part of our research into corporate sentiment.

We have also had the help of strategist Tania Hyde alongside the Dialogue policy team, Luke Turner, Lauren Nicholls and Laura Cameron, and supported by RPS which is leading our community engagement efforts.

We have also recruited a new Senior Policy & Project Manager, Dr Fiona Pacey, to manage the process for us, who joins the Dialogue from her management role at Western Sydney University’s Whitlam Institute.

Click here for more information on Beyond the Boom >>  Beyond the Boom

Report details affordable pathway

This month the Dialogue hosted leadership luncheons alongside planning, construction, infrastructure, development and community leaders.

There were valuable insights on the housing challenges, land use issues and strategic policy solutions for Greater Western Sydney on the backdrop of policies announced by the Minns Government to incentivise affordable housing development.

Latest numbers show there is approximately a 60,000 affordable dwelling shortfall in Greater Western Sydney alone.

Industry leaders have called for a staged introduction of inclusionary zoning to ensure the sector can maximise opportunities available.

Leading community housing provider, SGCH, described it as ‘Superannuation for our Cities’, outlining a proposed strategy for the government to improve affordable housing numbers in GWS.

Read the report here >> A Superannuation for our Cities

A note on the Voice

Adam Leto, CEO

The Dialogue publicly backed the call for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament and constitutional recognition, believing it could lead to real and positive change for Indigenous communities, especially in Greater Western Sydney, which is home to one of the nation’s largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

While disappointed with the outcome, we remain hopeful that, as a region, we can continue to understand, listen and work with our Indigenous communities to address inequality and disadvantage.

The Voice campaign may not have delivered constitutional recognition, but we believe there is still widespread support – from both ‘No’ and ‘Yes’ voters in Western Sydney – to engage meaningfully with Indigenous groups to ensure their voice is heard.

The Dialogue will continue to work with partners, community representatives and Indigenous voices in the region to chart a path forward and work together to achieve reconciliation and improved outcomes for First Australians that call Western Sydney home.

(L-R) Jacqueline Vozzo and the Laing O'Rourke team

GWS Leaders

Congratulations to Jacqueline Vozzo, Dr Josephine Chow and Laing O’Rourke’s corporate affairs team on their recent awards.

Jacqui received the 2023 Matthews Folbigg Outstanding Business Leader Award at the Western Sydney Awards for Business Excellence in front of Premier Chris Minns. Jacqui has been an incredible advocate for Western Sydney and this award is a testament to her commitment to the region.

Jo Chow was named the NSW Health Staff Member of the Year for her remarkable contribution to South West Sydney Local Health and the Ingham Institute.

Laing O’Rourke received the ‘Corporate Team of the Year’ award at the 2023 Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA)’s Golden Target Awards.

Chairman: GWS needs support during Middle-East conflict

I have been speaking at length with political and civic leaders across GWS and recognise the ongoing tensions in the Middle East are having a significant impact on our local communities. In recent weeks I have met State and Federal Cabinet Ministers, Mayors, the former Foreign Minister, community leaders and senior media to hear their views, better understand the situation and try to best articulate our region’s views.

This is a complex and constantly evolving international crisis, and it is important that all voices are heard.  The Dialogue urges our political leaders and media executives to ensure that communities across Western Sydney are engaged, supported and listened to during this difficult time. This includes upholding the right to peaceful  protest in our cities and suburbs and asking for respectful behaviour by those same protestors.  

As an organisation, we support efforts to reduce tensions and call on Australian Governments to push for a ceasefire between all parties to allow humanitarian aid to reach the people of Gaza and to enable safe passage for returning Israeli hostages

Peace, Shalom, Salaam

Digital Dialogue: Western Sydney Unfiltered

Grainne O’Loughlin, Chief Executive Officer, Karitane, shares how her organisation is supporting families in Greater Western Sydney with expert parental advice and advocacy. 

With more than 27 years’ experience in the public healthcare sectors in the UK and Australia, Grainne describes why the first 2000 days are so important in a child’s life and gives an insight into the innovations and thinking Karitane is leading to ensure early childhood care and development is tailored for Greater Western Sydney communities