As 2017 draws to a close, on behalf of the team at Western Sydney Community Forum I would like to say a warm thank-you to all of our members, partners and colleagues for your continuing support and inspiring work throughout the year. Much has been achieved!
While we look forward to a well-earned rest during the upcoming holiday season, celebrating and relaxing with family and friends, we can reflect on a year of continuing change and growth.
In 2017, the basis of our endeavours was shaped by our commitment to the people, places and services of Greater Western Sydney. We have continued to work alongside organisations who are achieving inspiring outcomes for the region and its communities. Our organisation is in the fortunate position of being able to witness the improvements being made and their diverse, positive impacts.
The past year was also complex. Reforms across government programs continued, and we saw an increasing demand from agencies for transition support. The magnitude of change impacting on communities and our industry makes it vital that we continue to advocate for equitable access to services and support.
Working alongside community groups and organisations, regional and local businesses, and in partnership with government, Western Sydney Community Forum has sought to keep the community central to the conversation.
We continued to expand our reach and voice in the region. Our work with the Whitlam Institute culminated in the launch of landmark publication, ‘The Planning, Funding, and Community Action: The Area Assistance Story’.
In partnership with The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, the Blacktown Energy Initiative was established, bringing Blacktown to the fore as the leading region in NSW for energy efficiency and renewable energy.
We collaborated with CHETRE to produce and launch the Health Impact Assessment on community consultation and the new airport at Badgery’s Creek, ‘Is Anyone Listening? Community Engagement and the Western Sydney Airport’.
Earlier this year, we worked closely with services to review the new Integrated Care at Home Program to support older people. Clear recommendations were made to government, particularly on current gaps and duplication across the aged care and health systems and integrated assessment models.
The Liveable Cities Symposium was held in partnership with WSROC. This was a key initiative that engaged a wide range of agencies, and informed priorities and benchmarks for social sustainability in the Greater Sydney Commission’s District Plans.
We were also very pleased to deliver the inaugural Generation CommunitY emerging leaders program, with eight graduates moving toward confident, competent career paths in management capacities across the human services sector.
I was personally delighted that WSCF’s article, arguing that ‘Social infrastructure and services are just as vital to liveability’, was published in the NSW Planning Journal as a key feature. As leaders, this reinforces our mandate to continue sourcing and securing these opportunities to influence decision making.
As we look ahead to the new year, 2018 brings another exciting ZEST Awards Ceremony at ANZ Stadium, celebrating the unsung heroes and inspiring initiatives of Greater Western Sydney communities. We look forward to the attendance of ZEST Patron and Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian, as well as honoured guests and our esteemed ZEST Ambassadors.
It’s been a dynamic, eventful year. We look forward – with great enthusiasm – to working with you again next year to continue leading and shaping the future of our region and its communities.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and Staff Team at Western Sydney Community Forum, I wish you and your family a safe and enjoyable holiday season, a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
The Western Sydney Community Forum office will close at 12pm on Friday 22 December 2017 and re-open at 9am on Monday 8 January 2018