Wednesday, 01 February 2023 14:50

We're celebrating a golden half-century of service for Western Sydney Featured

Serving a diverse community for 50 golden years Serving a diverse community for 50 golden years WSROC

One of the most successful — and most enduring — organisations in Australia advocating on behalf of local communities is soon to celebrate its golden anniversary.

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (or ‘WSROC’, pronounced 'wesrock') was set up in November 1973 to represent the communities of Western Sydney and to advocate for the people of the region.

Covering an area of 9,391 square kilomWSROC President Barry Calvert smalletres, Western Sydney is home to over two million people and is projected to reach four million by 2041.

The region provides over a million local jobs.

At the time WSROC was established in 1973, councils in Western Sydney had been meeting in several informal groupings to discuss their mutual concerns.

These largely centred on the failure of State Governments to provide infrastructure and services such as hospitals, public transport, and tertiary education to match the region's rapidly growing population.

“So, WSROC was established as a member organisation to work on behalf of the people of Greater Western Sydney, and to make known their needs to both Commonwealth and New South Wales governments, and to the wider community,” said WSROC President, Councillor Barry Calvert (pictured left).

“In particular, we work to strengthen the role of Local Government in regional affairs, particularly where Greater Western Sydney may be affected by Commonwealth or New South Wales Government policy.”

WSROC represents five member councils:

  • Blacktown City Council
  • Blue Mountains City Council
  • Cumberland City Council
  • Hawkesbury City Council, and
  • Liverpool City Council

Despite having a small staff and few resources, WSROC has been cited as one of Australia's most successful local government advocacy groups having developed a reputation for considered policy analysis and activism on a wide range of issues affecting the residents of Western Sydney.

Over its 50 years, WSROC has been credited with a host of improvements in urban planning and management, public transport, roads, infrastructure, economic development, environment, employment, community services and a range of local government issues.

“WSROC has been responsible for improvements in those and many other areas over the last 50 years and has helped to create many of the region's most important institutions and agencies,” said Councillor Calvert.

Successful WSROC campaigns and regional initiatives over the last 50 years have included:

  • The ‘Beds to the West’ campaign for more hospital beds and other health services in the region (1970s and 80s)
  • Campaigning to create the University of Western Sydney (1980s)
  • Lobbying to establish the Greater Western Sydney Economic Development Board (1990s)
  • Lobbying to create a Minister for Western Sydney in the NSW Government (1997)
  • Fast-tracking the Westlink M7 Motorway (2000s)
  • Authoring ‘Contemporary Australia – A Regional Cultural Strategy for Greater Western Sydney’ (2005)
  • Lobbying for WestConnex, easier commuting for Western Sydney workers (2015 – 2018)
  • Lobbying for a rail link to the new western Sydney international airport (2016 – 2018)
  • Securing $5 billion for Western Sydney infrastructure - WestInvest (2022)

— and many other initiatives of lasting value and importance.

“The issues of most concern to our communities today include housing affordability, climate change and resilience, waste management and resource recovery, and transport,” said Councillor Calvert.

“So, we’re pushing government hard on those issues, not just because they matter to our member councils and the people of Western Sydney but also because improvements in those areas will be a benefit to NSW and Australia more broadly.

Other recent examples of regional projects include:

“We are immensely proud of the achievements of the last 50 years, but we are ever mindful of the many challenges ahead for the millions of men, women and children living, working and playing in the five large, diverse council areas we serve.

“So, we are looking forward to the next 50 years of service to the most vibrant communities in Australia.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 01 February 2023 15:33

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