CHAMPION COLUMN | Gladys, use your new clout for the west

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils, or WSROC, acknowledges Gladys Berejiklian's recent re-election as the Premier of NSW and takes this opportunity to call for quite a re-focus on western Sydney.

In the last five years, western Sydney has turned into a buzz of activity.

New suburbs are springing up where paddocks once stood, future transport links are being rolled out and an entire new city is planned for the west of the region.

And this is precisely why the Premier should take on the role of the Minister for Western Sydney.

There has never been a more important time for an integrated, all-of-government approach to the development of this wider region.

Despite the progress already made, western Sydney is facing quite a number of complex challenges that are preventing its communities from accessing the same sorts of amenities, services and opportunities enjoyed by other parts of the city.

Western Sydney residents are still two to three times more likely to suffer chronic health conditions, such as type two diabetes, due to a range of factors including food literacy, long commute times and sedentary lifestyles.

The west is heating up at twice the rate of the Sydney CBD, causing serious health and economic impacts.

There is a need to co-ordinate planning, environment, infrastructure and community-service agencies towards tackling cross-disciplinary issues.

Over 30 per cent of western Sydney residents still leave the region to access work -- meaning longer days, less time with the family, poorer health outcomes and greater transport costs.

Councillor BARRY CALVERT

President

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Council

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