Western Sydney is exposed to the impact of the current pandemic and associated recession as a result of pre-existing socioeconomic inequities relative to other parts of Greater Sydney. These issues create additional urgency for policy responses from all three levels of government. The Centre actively partners with industry and the region’s communities, to ensure policy is based in evidence and, very importantly, co-created with and for Western Sydney.
We have delivered decadal strategies that support the long-term growth and development of our region across health and wellbeing, arts and culture and major infrastructure such as the coming Western Sydney Airport.
Voices of Leadership
We research and problem-solve the region’s most pressing challenges and communicate these through advocacy and research in mainstream media.
We prosecute innovative research that improves the lives of people and communities locally, nationally and internationally.
We promote Western Sydney’s voice by participating in parliamentary decision-making.
Renewed approach: Centre for Western Sydney is relaunched
"The days of us trying to guess what matters to western Sydney are over; we're now all about listening."
They are the words of incoming director of Western Sydney University's Centre for Western Sydney Dr Andy Marks.
Dr Marks was speaking at the relaunch of the innovative research, policy and advocacy hub at the Liverpool Campus on Thursday.
The new Centre for Western Sydney in partnership with community, industry and government, will address the pressing issues of the region including climate change, employment, education and infrastructure.
I have grown up, resided, and worked in the Western Sydney region for my entire life, I have firsthand experienced the struggles of finding employment that works around my studies. Finding such a job is just the first part of this struggle, however, retaining employment outside of a short fixed term casual contract and being rostered enough hours to meet basic needs is rarely a guarantee.
The social impacts of Covid-19 have been felt by all Australians. Increased isolation due to social distancing restrictions has had negative impacts on people’s ability to maintain relationships, positive mental health and their personal wellbeing. Despite economic stresses also being widespread across the nation, the level of disadvantage is not equally experienced.
Lesson that COVID-19 taught me
Our jobs are important but not everything.
I enjoy being busy, I really struggle when I have nothing to do, over the last 8 years I have studied two degrees while juggling 2-3 casual jobs. My inability to relax means I am constantly on the move (or could this be due to the crushing anxiety of capitalism – who knows?).
Earlier this year I was working in Research Services here at Western Sydney University, after being granted a contract extension I felt like I was really on the path to obtaining full-time employment within the University sector. During this time I also maintained employment in the retail sector at a store in Penrith.
Connectedness in COVID-19
We are living through one of the weirdest times in history. If you wanted to, you could interact with strangers from around the world just as easily your next-door neighbours. Thank you, digital technology. No thank you, social distancing. The year 2020 will be remembered as a year of transformation; facing droughts, bushfires, floods and COVID-19. In some way, these events have touched the lives of every Sydneysider. When social distancing was introduced, we were expected to adapt to a new way of life virtually overnight. This change was abrupt, inequitable and challenging, especially for those who experienced pre-pandemic marginalisation. As the restrictions set in, a range of new determinants of social interaction emerged. Including access to technology, digital literacy and financial security. Across the Greater Western Sydney region, many lost access to education, employment and entertainment. Don’t get me wrong – I understand these changes were necessary. In fact, my overall quality of life has been improved by many new lockdown-related habits. What I'm trying to determine is: are we doing enough for those who experienced pre-pandemic isolation, loneliness and social invisibility?