The Centre for Western Sydney urges a rethink on new city name

Regional policy and advocacy group, the Centre for Western Sydney is urging the NSW Government to reconsider its proposed name for a new city planned for the Western Sydney Airport.

A four-person Government panel headed by Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the previously known ‘Aerotropolis Core’ – land surrounding the coming airport – would be named Bradfield in honour of 20th century engineer, John Bradfield.

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Centre’s Director, Dr Andy Marks said, the name should better reflect the times, the region, and its aspirations.

“As the visionary behind Brisbane’s Story Bridge, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the City Circle underground, there’s no question, Bradfield, a Queenslander, warrants recognition. He’s got it. Deservedly. Two highways, a federal electorate, a college – the list goes on.

“A new city is an opportunity to set out a new vision. If, as the Government attests, this new urban centre will drive the next wave of opportunities in advanced manufacturing, research, science and education, why not put women at the forefront?

“There are plenty of ‘inspirational’ women in science and research to choose from including the first Australian woman to win a Nobel Prize, Professor Elizabeth Blackburn or quantum computing pioneer, Professor Michelle Simmons,” said Dr Marks.

The Government’s failure to recognise a woman in the naming decision was, Dr Marks said, particularly troubling given the announcement was made, “only hours after the Women’s March4 Justice boldly overran the national dialogue.”

The apparent lack of in-depth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander involvement in the naming decision was an additional point of concern for the Centre.

“A Government that recognised the centrality of place, belonging and story for Indigenous Australians would have that consideration at the heart of any discussion on naming. The website promoting the naming of this new city didn’t even mention First Australians,” he said.

The Centre for Western Sydney is calling for a re-think on the name, noting it still needs the approval of the Geographical Names Board of NSW.

“Transparency on the full range of suggestions the Government received from the community would be a good start,” said Dr Marks.