CatalystWest: Use the west as a test bed for health

Should western Sydney be used as Australia’s living health laboratory?

More than 300 thought-leaders from industry, government and the community will discuss western Sydney’s capacity to drive the solutions to the nation’s health challenges – at Western Sydney University’s inaugural CatalystWest(opens in a new window) event on 28 February.

CatalystWest – to be held at the University’s Parramatta City campus – is an interactive ideas exchange event that is set to shape the future development of western Sydney.

The event’s creator, and the University’s assistant vice-chancellor, Andy Marks said, “This event is about setting new directions for western Sydney in health and a range of other priority areas.”

“This region”, added Dr Marks, “has long been seen as somewhere that needs to be fixed. This event changes that. It is about western Sydney coming up with its own solutions to challenges that extend far beyond our backyard.”

In the lead-up to the event, Western Sydney University experts and key industry sponsors have produced a series of green papers on the pivotal issues that western Sydney will face into the future – as a means of spearheading conversation and debate at CatalystWest.

Associate Professor Amanda Third, from the University’s Institute for Culture and Society, is co-author of the ‘health’ green paper (PDF, 1271.52 KB) (opens in a new window), which canvasses a series of health challenges including chronic disease, ageing and perinatal mental health.

Associate Professor Third says western Sydney will experience unique health challenges in the future, which are likely to have a significant impact on the overall health and wellbeing of the population.

“Rapid population growth in western Sydney is accompanied by increased pressure on urban infrastructure and environments, employment opportunities, housing, access to education and key social services such as healthcare,” says Associate Professor Third.

Irrespective of the challenges that lie ahead, Associate Professor Third says the diversity of the region also presents great opportunity.

“Western Sydney is culturally and linguistically diverse; has a high proportion of low income families; is a major point of settlement for refugees;  and is home to the largest Aboriginal community in Australia,” says Professor Third.

“The region is a perfect test-bed for engaging communities in co-generating solutions to the biggest health challenges of the future – and health outcomes achieved for western Sydney could be easily translated nationally and internationally.”

Members of the community are invited to attend CatalystWest(opens in a new window) – where they will be immersed in expert talks, panels, live performance and networking.

Upon registration, attendees will have access to the CatalystWest interactive app and will be able to access each of the green papers which address the event’s four key themes: health, resilience, transport and work.

Following CatalystWest, discussions and ideas will be incorporated into a series of white papers that will form actionable policy frameworks, projects and implementation plans for the future of western Sydney.

The Gold sponsor for CatalystWest 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


19 February 2018

Danielle Roddick, Senior Media Officer.