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.
Spotlight on sustainability
Adam Leto, CEO
This month we welcomed both the start of Spring, and the arrival of the State Budget, which provided a deeper insight into the areas of focus for the NSW Government.
While Spring may be known as the season of new beginnings (and the Budget has presented some positive green-shoots), if the start of September is any indication, the residents of Greater Western Sydney are preparing for another another hot, dry summer.
As useful as the Budget is in signalling the Government’s intent, the things that were missing from the Treasurer’s speech notes, may end up being just as telling – especially when it comes to understanding where the region’s environment, factors into the overall equation.
The NSW Environment Minister Penny Sharpe and Minister for Water, Rose Jackson do deserve their dues. In reviewing the Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan, in addition to her aim of establishing more national parks (including the new one announced along the Georges River), Minister Sharp has made an important point about ensuring there’s a balance between development and environmental protection.
Likewise, Minister Jackson has made a point about the Government’s focus on shoring up water supply and opening up places like Prospect Reservoir for swimming.
But despite these announcements, along with reaffirming that it won’t raise the Warragamba Dam Wall, the Government is still to showcase its green credentials.
Notwithstanding the importance of the housing crisis, getting the books in order, as well as following through on its promises on schools and hospitals, there’s an environmental agenda in GWS which has implications in all of these areas, but is yet to be fully articulated or promoted.
As we approach Christmas, and a period that has an eerily familiar feeling to the Black Summer of 2019, there’s a decent chance that the region’s sustainability and resilience will once again be tested, and almost certainly attract plenty of notice.
Five ways to beat the heat in GWS
Western Sydney is expected to sweat through summer. Here are 5 things the NSW Government can do to help GWS beat the heat.
1: Leverage our Natural Assets
Western Sydney is blessed with natural waterways that with the right attention, and investment could be ripe for recreational use. This includes the opportunity to open up Western Sydney Lakes at Penrith.
There are also areas located along the Parramatta, Georges and Nepean-Hawkesbury rivers, that could help residents cool down during warmer months.
2: Plants, parks and plenty of shade
We can only cool the streets of Western Sydney with investment in green infrastructure like trees, roof gardens, parks, open spaces and other urban greening initiatives that will reduce the urban heat island effect.
3: Prospect Reservoir Re-imagined
The NSW Government recently called for community feedback to help inform its plans to open up this site for recreational use. A key consideration for Government is how the future opportunities can work within the site, while not significantly impacting our water supply for the State’s coffers.
We need targeted investments in regeneration and ongoing maintenance of our urban river system so the people of the West can take advantage of their birthright to water.
The east has BeachWatch, a system that monitors the quality of swimming water on our beaches. The West deserves a similar program to inspect and ensure the quality of our rivers are suitable for swimming.
5: Recycled Water
Sydney consumes more water more than most Australians. Most of this we use only once and then flush it wastefully out to sea. Meanwhile recycled water represented less than seven percent of our total consumption prior to Covid-19, lagging far behind national and world’s best practice.
Reusing drinking water for other purposes doesn’t just ease our dependence on unpredictable rainfall, it also retains our most powerful ‘cooling and greening’ tool in our local communities, helping keep temperatures down in our suburbs.
Tyranny of Distance
The Dialogue has made a submission to the NSW Government’s inquiry into current and future public transport needs in Greater Western Sydney.
GWS residents are car dependent because public transport in the region lacks integration and reliability, with the most critical gaps in services across GWS currently in the rapidly growing North West and South West growth centres.
The Dialogue recommended:
- Identify short-term and long-term opportunities to improve North-South connectivity across GWS.
- Calling for clarity on the future of the T3 Bankstown Line Servies, west of Bankstown station. The potential shut down of rail services and replacement buses will become a cause of anxiety for commuters.
- A significant re-design of existing bus network and funding to deliver expanded services.
- Interchange and last mile connections, such as cycling paths, pedestrian walkways, shuttle services and secure bike storage.
- Improving security across the transport network
- A renewed discussion on the merits and potential of value capture to supplement the cost of taxpayers of building and operating new transport infrastructure.
New Ideas Emerge for GWS After NSW Budget
The NSW Budget provided certainty around government’s priorities and while it wasn’t as scathing as some at predicted, there are still a few are three crucial questions that are coming the government’s way.
Infrastructure Review can’t be viewed
The NSW Government commissioned Ken Kanofski to undertake a review of the state’s infrastructure pipeline, which included the $5b WestInvest fund, and to identify projects that will deliver value for money and best align with the Government’s priority investment areas.
This report was key to informing the NSW Budget, but unlike the Sydney Metro (interim) Review, is yet to be made public – should it?
Camellia’s time to bloom
It’s official, the NSW government is going to establish a public transport link through the heart of Camellia. The budget saw a welcome $200 million boost to expedite the planning and procurement of Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2 with an amended route taking the transport link through the south of the river.
Now that the government is establishing a light rail link, how will they manage Camellia’s graduation from an industrial hub to a residential suburb?
The NSW budget placed fast rail (or faster rail) between Western Sydney, Central Coast, the Hunter and the Illawarra towards the bottom of the priority list, given budget constraints.
Budget papers said fast rail “should no longer proceed … to get the state’s infrastructure pipeline back on stable footing”.
If the key transport project that links the six cities together is no longer going ahead, what does that mean for the Greater Cities Commission’s six-cities plan?
WATCH: CLP Class of 2023
Our impressive Collaborative Leadership Class of 2023 was welcomed by Deputy Premier and Western Sydney Minister Prue Car at NSW Parliament House as part of their graduation from the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue’s leading professional development program.
See the highlights in our wrap-up video.
Welcome to our new partners
The Dialogue is thrilled to welcome Custom Denning and Sydney Zoo as partners of the Dialogue.
Custom Denning is one of Australia’s oldest and most respected bus manufacturers. From its leading facility in St. Marys, Custom Denning is at the forefront of the development of clean energy technology for the next generation of electric buses and coaches.
Sydney Zoo, based in Bungarribee, a world class international tourist attraction in the heart of Western Sydney and a key feature of Western Sydney’s growing visitor economy. It is the only combined zoo and aquarium in NSW, and boasts the largest Reptile & Nocturnal House in the world.
LAST CHANCE: One week to go for Boomtown! Project of the Year Nominations
Nominations for Boomtown Project of the Year close in just one week!
Now is your last chance to submit your project to be recognised at Western Sydney’s premier property and infrastructure event, Boomtown! 2023. Held at a special gala dinner on Thursday 16th , the event will showcase the best projects completed in 2023.
Transport, infrastructure and property projects that will help grow the cities of the West can be submitted for a variety of awards and could go in the running to win the lucrative Boomtown! 2023 Project of the Year award. at our GWS Project of the Year Awards dinner.
Click here to see find out more about the event, view criteria for the awards and submit your nomination.
GWS Future Health Forum
Regsitrations are open for the 2023 GWS Future Health Forum.
GWS health leaders will be focusing on regional solutions to issues across health service provision, community engagement, innovative partnerships, city-shaping, skills pipeline, digital and transport access.
The Dialogue presents this complimentary policy forum for its partners and invited guests in collaboration with Greater Western Sydney’s three Local Health Districts, and with thanks to our event sponsors Arup and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Click here to register to attend the 2023 GWS Future Health Forum.