Alliance Meetings

Alliance Meetings

The Alliance meets bi-annually to network, collaborate, report on progress and to identify opportunities.

Alliance Meetings in 2019 were face-to-face: 

Leaders Alliance Meeting: ‘Strengthening Partnerships to Meet the Challenge’ – 3 April, 2019, Park Royal Hotel Parramatta 

The first Alliance meeting for 2019 attracted 102 attendees, including leaders from the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District (NBMLHD) and South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD), who were presented with an overview of the WSD 2019 Plan and invited to contribute to WSD initiatives and interventions proposed for the year. Groups at the meeting brainstormed collaborative opportunities, including the distribution of the WSD Healthy Living Options book of exercise programs and facilities in Western Sydney (see page 16 for more information). Several members also provided short presentations on ‘What we do’ and concluded with a request for partners to assist in a variety of ways including program evaluation, funding or further information. In all cases, requests for assistance were met by other Alliance members.

Leaders Alliance Meeting: ‘Seeing the Forest & The Trees’ – 7 November, 2019 Rydges Norwest

The second Leaders Alliance meeting for 2019 highlighted the impact of urban greening and canopy cover on the incidence of diabetes and general health, reflecting the WSD goal of ‘Building Healthy Environment’ and two of the NSW Premier’s Priorities.

The meeting was attended by 110 Alliance members and provided an opportunity for WSD to engage new members from sectors including research, Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC), Department of Planning, industry and Environment (DPIE), councils, Premier’s Implementation Unit and horticulture from across Greater Western Sydney and the Sydney Basin. Attendees heard new research in relation to tree canopy and diabetes (see right), along with the challenges of planting shade trees within the urban environment.

The Deputy Secretary for DPIE, Alex O’Mara, closed the meeting with a presentation on the Premier’s Priorities around urban greening. Following the meeting, the DPIE agreed to join WSD as a lead organisation on the EMT to help beat diabetes in Western Sydney. Representatives from DPIE will also participate in WSD prevention working groups in 2020, starting with the ‘Building Healthy Environment’ group, to discuss and support the implementation of the NSW Premier’s urban greening goals.

During 2020, meetings were conducted virtually. Due to COVID-19’s physical restrictions it encouraged members to connect in a new way – online – which also enabled multiple attendees from the same organisation to attend. 

That year the focus was on maintaining the existing Alliance network and providing support to members during a time when many organisations underwent considerable alteration to their internal structure, personnel and business operations.

WSD successfully connected with new staff members to maintain the ongoing relationship with existing Alliance member organisations, as well as welcome a number of new member organisations.

Neighbouring LHDs remained with the Alliance along with the ongoing support of local councils; evidence the reach of the Alliance is continuing to increase in geography and influence. 

The 2020 Alliance Meetings featured: 

Leaders’ Alliance meeting: ‘Moments of healthy living during COVID-19 isolation. Can we make them stick?’ – Webinar, June 24, 2020 

This was the first Alliance meeting held virtually, with more than 100 organisations attending. The focus was to acknowledge the changes that COVID-19 has elicited in the health behaviour of the community and to explore ways the positive changes in eating, cooking, exercise and travel could be maintained during – and post- pandemic. Key speakers included Dr Wendy O’Brien who joined the meeting from NZ to describe the results of an international research project which was measuring the changes in exercise behaviour and linking them with previous exercise patterns.
Alex Gyani, Head of Research, Behavioural Insights, discussed the theory and positive examples of how understanding behaviour can be used to obtain improved responses to members’ messaging. The meeting also included discussion groups led by members dedicated to food, physical activity, schools and greening. These groups aim to provide participants with the networking opportunities which are a trademark of the Alliance.
Feedback was provided by the Group Leaders, with one group, Physical Activity, setting up three working groups dedicated to: Nature Play; Health Professional Referral of Physical Activity; and Dancing.

Leaders Alliance meeting: ‘Growing well, Eating well’ – Webinar, November 4, 2020

This event brought together experts in a number of food-related fields to describe and discuss what we can do now to enable food security into the future. This related strongly with one of the key goals of the Alliance which is to ensure our residents have access to fresh food and the skills to create healthy meals.
The virtual meeting was facilitated by Ian Corless and attended by 94 registrants from 80 participant organisations.A range of speakers – Dana Cordell (UTS), Serena Lee (consultant), Adam Loftus (Foodbank), Phil Pettitt (Royal Botanic Gardens), Grant Brinkworth (CSIRO), Michelle Celander (WW), and Elisha West (OzHarvest) discussed their work and ideas on how Alliance members could become engaged or partner with their programs. Discussions are now underway amongst Alliance members who are exploring at least seven new collaborative opportunities in the growing and food preparation areas. 

Western Sydney TAFE talk

Hosted by Anne Goonitilleke, Head of Skills Team, Health, Wellbeing and Community Services, TAFE, WSD presented a talk to 100 teachers from Western Sydney TAFE regarding diabetes and the work of WSD. Prof Glen Maberly and Janine Dawson informed the teachers of the diabetes epidemic in western Sydney, WSD’s work in prevention through the WSD Alliance, and projects being undertaken in collaboration with partners.
They were also provided with an update on telehealth and new ways of monitoring, managing and educating diabetes patients in hospital, through GPs, and in the community.

Blinded by Sugar Webinar – Health Professional Webinar – August 4, 2020

This was hosted for Alliance members and health professionals to hear from 2020 Australian of the Year, Dr James Muecke, regarding the impact diet has on our health. Hosted by CE of Diabetes NSW, ACT and QLD, Sturt Eastwood, Dr Muecke’s presentation focused on the inclusion of sugar in processed foods and drinks.
As an ophthalmologist, he was concerned about the impact of diabetic retinopathy in his surgery and dedicated his year in office to increase awareness of the impact diet and diabetes has on health. This webinar was very well-received, with up to 170 participants and WSD incorporated it into the Healthy Lifestyle session of the Masterclass 2020 Series.

Blinded by Sugar Webinar – Consumer Webinar – December 8, 2020

Due to the positive amount of feedback, an additional webinar was held for the community in December with support from both Parramatta and Blacktown councils and community groups.
MC’d by Janine Dawson, heavy community promotion resulted in the largest response received from any WSD consumer forum with more than 300 participants registered. It was also the first event WSD hosted simultaneously on both Zoom and Facebook.

Leaders Alliance Meeting: Connecting, Greening and Growing – May 19, 2021, Rydges Hotel Norwest

In May 2021 we hosted the Alliance meeting ‘Connecting, Greening and Growing’. This was a face-to-face event at Rydges Norwest with 70 attendees. The topic ‘Connecting, Greening and
Growing’ had an emphasis on tracking the progress of DPIE’s greening initiatives along with identifying resources and opportunities for collaboration. Contributors included DPIE, Blacktown Council, WSROC, Gallagher Studios and Macquarie University

Leaders Alliance Meeting: Out and About – Keeping it Healthy – December 9, 2021, Rydges Hotel Norwest

On December 9, 2021, we hosted the second Alliance meeting face-to-face meeting at Rydges Norwest. The MC was Steve Hartley, Director DPIE and was held in conjunction with the EMT meeting to promote our YIR. The Alliance meeting focused on the resources and facilities available for outdoor activity in western Sydney, and the multiple benefits of spending time outdoors. Speakers from Greater Sydney Parklands, Royal Botanic Gardens, Outdoors NSW & ACT, National Parks & Wildlife and The Walking Volunteers described the resources, but also reinforced the importance of community engagement in ensuring the preservation of these often threatened environments. The decision was made to produce a community directory to promote these resources and their usage to the community

Lunchtime Info Hours 

The Lunchtime Info Hours event was launched in August and was held regularly to showcase the work of individual Alliance members and identify collaborative opportunities.

A library of these talks can be found the Info Hub to allow other organisations to reference the work of their fellow members.

  • August: Focus on Learning to Cook with presentations from TAFE, OzHarvest and Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia.
  • October: Topic Engaging Children. Speakers included Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, Playgroup NSW and Royal Botanic Gardens Greater Sydney.
  • November: All About Nutrition and featured speakers from Nutrition Australia; Diabetes NSW & ACT and the GI Foundation.

Leaders Alliance Meeting: Feeding Our City – PARKROYAL Parramatta, July 27, 2022

The first Alliance meeting on July 27 at the PARKROYAL Parramatta focused on ‘Feeding our City’ where experts presented on topics enabling our residents to have access to healthy food and the ability to create nutritious cost-effective meals for themselves and their families.

The audience of 75 people, with an additional 30 online participants, enjoyed outstanding presentations on topics such as food security from OzHarvest, low carb diets from the CSIRO and an excellent program enabling the community to improve their diet while accessing personalised diet plans and recipes from the University of Newcastle called the No Money No Time nutrition program.

The WLG also announced an exciting five year commitment to fighting diabetes and called on Alliance members to join them for a community-wide approach. Several large-scale collaborations eventuated between member organisations as a result of this meeting.

WEXPO/Leaders Alliance Meeting: Workers Blacktown, October 24, 2022

The brainchild of the local member, Blacktown MP Stephen Bali, WEXPO was developed to showcase local businesses and the opportunities within Australia’s fastest growing region, Greater Western Sydney.Held at Workers Blacktown on August 28, it provided a combination of stalls, displays, talks and two health forums.

In collaboration with ACU, WSD was responsible for a forum dedicated to healthy living, with a focus on diabetes.

Given the event focused on community leaders and organisations, it was incorporated into one of the bi-annual WSD Alliance meetings. More than 90 people attended, including many Alliance members.

Presentations focused on the local environment and diabetes statistics; work currently underway in the region; and a cost benefit analysis highlighting the cost effectiveness of prevention. This was followed by a panel discussion outlining different approaches to addressing the diabetes problem. Round table discussion used this information to forge solutions and suggest programs and collaborations that could be implemented for large scale health improvements. These concepts were tabled to present to NSW Parliament.

WEXPOThe brainchild of the local member, Blacktown MP Stephen Bali, WEXPO was developed to showcase local businesses and the opportunities within Australia’s fastest growing region, Greater Western Sydney.Held at Workers Blacktown on August 28, it provided a combination of stalls, displays, talks and two health forums.In collaboration with ACU, WSD was responsible for a forum dedicated to healthy living, with a focus on di

Janine Dawson and Prof Glen Maberly with WEXPO presenters.
Western Sydney Changing Diabetes – Lose 2kg Launch – June 19, 2023

Alliance members were invited to join the Western Sydney Changing Diabetes partnership of WSD, Workers Lifestyle Group and Novo Nordisk on a critical journey of recognising the burden of diabetes on western Sydney.

Western Sydney faces a huge challenge in managing the increasing prevalence of diabetes. Our latest data reveals that 13% of adults in this district have diabetes; 30% are pre-diabetic, and over 60% are overweight. 

The annual cost of managing Type 2 Diabetes within our WSLHD catchment area, is a staggering $1.8 billion.

We believe that by growing awareness about the problem, along with providing practical solutions, we can galvanize the public to act.

Guests heard from Minister for Health Hon. Ryan Park, the Acting WSLHD CE Dr Rebecca Nogajski and a panel of local state MPs and local business people about how to tackle this issue and support of the Lose 2kg campaign.

The ‘Lose 2kg’ message sets an attainable goal; indicating that a healthier lifestyle can reduce the risk of transitioning from prediabetes to diabetes by 30% for a decade.

Thanks to the Western Sydney Changing Diabetes partnership we now have the resources to address this issue.

The event was a chance to unite partners from various sectors to own this challenge, collaboratively finding innovative ways to address it on a scale we have not reached before.