CatalystWest forum to shape Western Sydney’s future

ICS researchers Professor James Arvanitakis, Dr Louise Crabtree, Professor Paul James, Professor Donald McNeill and Associate Professor Amanda Third will be among the speakers at Western Sydney University's inaugural CatalystWest event – an interactive forum that will bring together over 300 thought-leaders in industry, government and the community to shape the future of Western Sydney.

Developed by the University and its partners, the innovative and technology-infused event will act as an ideas exchange, combining research and practical solutions to guide change over the next two decades in western Sydney.

“Western Sydney is Australia’s third-largest and fastest growing economy,” said the event’s creator, Andy Marks, Assistant Vice-Chancellor at the University. “That’s why it is so critical – in the national interest – we get this right.”

“It’s equally important that the world-leading research, industry know-how and policy roadmaps we ‘catalyse’ at this event arises from the region, for the region,” said Dr Marks.

“This is about Western Sydney taking charge of its own future. It’s about agreeing on a vision for the region, a vision backed by evidence, and forged through true collaboration.”

To be held on 28 February at the University’s Parramatta City high-rise campus, CatalystWest will immerse attendees in hacks, expert talks, interactive panels, live performance and networking across the themes of health, resilience, transport and work.

The event’s major sponsor KPMG and key theme sponsors The GPT Group, Landcom and UrbanGrowth NSW Development Corporation and South Western Sydney Local Health District are actively contributing to the design of the event, and crucially, informing the detailed research work and policy development frameworks that will flow before, during and after the forum.

David Pring, KPMG’s managing partner for Western Sydney said, “We had no hesitation in taking on such a significant role in this event. KPMG has an unrivalled record in working very closely with business, government and the broader Western Sydney community to deliver innovative and sustainable growth strategies. That’s precisely what CatalystWest does, on a major scale.”

Among the major questions to be addressed:

  • Can cities not just manage urban heat build-up but be powered by it?
  • Is constructing new motorways necessary when driverless technology in existing corridors can end congestion?
  • Can digital health platforms reduce hospital admissions and improve outcomes?
  • Will the gig economy and ‘work-anywhere’ radically change not just how we work but how we move through, live and interact in Western Sydney?

The event will feature presentations by:

  • Jonny Richards, Head of Creative Labs, Google
  • Ben Sand, StartUp Expert, Catalysr
  • Julie Hare, Associate Director, Education, KPMG
  • Professor Barney Glover, Vice-Chancellor, Western Sydney University
  • Elizabeth Ann Macgregor  OBE, Director, Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Wesley Enoch, Director, Sydney Festival
  • Maureen Wade, Manager, Infrastructure and Innovation, Landcom
  • David Flannery, Senior Development Manager, GPT Group
  • Helen Emmerson, Head of Care Services, Southern Cross Care (NSW and ACT)
  • James Pearce, Director, Fender Katsalidis
  • Billie Sankovic, CEO, Western Sydney Community Forum
  • Paul Walker, Development Director, Retail and Mixed Use Development, GPT Group
  • Professor Phillip O'Neill, Director, Centre for Western Sydney, Western Sydney University
  • Dr Tim Williams, Adjunct Professor, Western Sydney University
  • Anna Ashenden, Social Justice and Community Engagement Manager, St Vincent de Paul Society NSW
  • Simone Freeman, Strength and Conditioning Coach, GIANTS Netball
    Gideon Chapman, Manager, Parramatta Light Rail, Transport NSW

Members of the community are invited to attend CatalystWest – where they will have the opportunity to contribute to discussions and see their ideas incorporated into the CatalystWest ‘white papers’ that will form actual policy frameworks, projects and action plans for the future of Western Sydney.

The Gold sponsor for Catalyst West is KPMG. Silver sponsors are Landcom and UrbanGrowth NSW Development Corporation, The GPT Group, South Western Sydney Local Health District.

Tickets can be purchased at (opens in a new window).

Posted: 31 January 2018.