Over 100 stakeholders from across Western Sydney turned out to plan a more liveable future for Western Sydney this month.
A joint initiative of the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) and the Western Sydney Community Forum, Planning a liveable Western Sydney sought to gather feedback from Western Sydney’s community service sector for input into the Greater Sydney Commission’s (GSC) draft District Plans.
WSROC President Cr Stephen Bali said “Western Sydney’s future is being planned now. And it is critical we ensure the needs of communities are front and centre in this process.
“With over one million additional residents expected to settle in the area, an airport and associated infrastructure, the region is developing at an unprecedented rate.
“This rapid growth is good for our economy, but it is also an opportunity to address the liveability issues that have plagued Western Sydney for decades – access to services, community health, housing, public transport, and opportunities for artistic and cultural expression – and ensure the Western Sydney of the future is a great place to live,” said Cr Bali.
“There is no doubt that planning decisions have a direct impact on the physical, mental and social wellbeing of communities, and we commend the Greater Sydney Commission for their focus on the liveability as part of the draft District Plans.
"However, the District Plans can only be as good as the feedback on which they are based. Both WSROC and Western Sydney Community Forum were keen to ensure this feedback came directly from those working with communities on a day to day basis," said Cr Bali.
Planning a liveable Western Sydney saw participants from across a range of sectors including: health, the arts, migrant services, sport, economic development, housing, research, as well as state and local government.
GSC Social Commissioner, Ms Heather Nesbitt presented the District Plans to the group, while Director of Engagement, Meredith Jones gave an explanation of the consultation process.
Social planning expert Professor Bill Randolph of University of New South Wales also explored some of the key planning issues facing Western Sydney over the coming decades.
Some of the issues raised by the group included the need to:
- increase affordable housing options;
- review of how community infrastructure is funded as part of the development process;
- address cost squeeze on NGOs and other service providers in increasingly expensive rental markets;
- better connect financial decision makers and those on the ground;
- engage culturally and linguistically diverse communities and young people in the planning process; and
- recognise the impact of planning decisions on community health and resilience.
President Bali said, “We are very pleased with the breadth and depth of input we received from participants on the day.
“This feedback will inform WSROC’s response to the draft District Plans, and we were pleased to hear that many of those who attended the forum will also be making submissions based on their area professional expertise,” said Cr Bali.