CatalystWest Conversations

Western Sydney University hosted the first of its CatalystWest Conversations series on 15 April, featuring Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover AO; Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Dr Andy Marks and Helen Barcham, Manager Strategic Partnerships.

The hour-long discussion focused on job-creation strategies, COVID-19 stimulus measures, infrastructure investment and the disruption of business-as-usual.

Noting the higher education sector had been permanently altered, Professor Glover called for a forensic examination of not only the long-term health implications, but also the shift of societal norms to harness the new opportunities that have emerged from the sudden change in our daily lives.

“Post-COVID-19, we will need to look back and understand from an interdisciplinary perspective the transformation we have undertaken in such a short space of time. The health sciences are key, but so too are social science experts who are examining this unique moment in our history and understanding how we can best move forward,” said Professor Glover.

Assistant Vice-Chancellor Dr Andy Marks highlighted the importance of the development of precincts in western Sydney, noting Liverpool, Bankstown and Penrith, alongside the Aerotropolis, as pivotal to the reignition of jobs growth for western Sydney.

“The urgency is paramount for Government to intensify its support for the creation of knowledge jobs in western Sydney. And key to the fulfilment of this serious promise to the region is the development of precincts, which are supported by education and transport.

As we start to look forward, employment creation must be the priority, and the answer is fast tracking these regionally-critical developments immediately.”

Helen Barcham highlighted the need for infrastructure support, to which both Professor Glover and Dr Marks agreed that government should now turn its attention to the role of infrastructure development in tandem with the continual funding of research to support a resilient recovery phase.

“At this time, universities are driving the phase of infrastructure development and we would urge that this is not the time to be stripping funding away from research. More than ever, world-class research will create a stronger foundation for society,” said Professor Glover.

Helen Barcham emphasised the role of the University to identify and support disadvantaged pockets of western Sydney, noting that it had a commitment to ensuring “no one was left behind” particularly in regards to digital access and literacy.

The next weekly CatalystWest Conversation will take place 2pm, Wednesday, 22 April, when Arup's, NSW planning and design leader, Joanne Carmichael and the University's Launch Pad startup program head, Don Wright, are joined by Dr Marks to envision how radical innovations in planning, design and entrepreneurship will reshape Western Sydney during and after COVID-19.

To register, visit the CatalystWest Conversations web page (opens in a new window).

For more information and to view previous #Catwest webinars, visit the CatalystWest web page (opens in a new window).


16 April 2020

Clare Patience, Senior Media Officer