2024 National Congress

Previous NGAA guest speakers

Previous NGAA guest speakers include Prime Minister Anthony Albanese MP and Minister for Local Government, Kristy McBain MP.

Congress Highlights

  • Western Sydney Airport Site tour
  • Keynote Speakers on new city governance, policy and design
  • Political speakers
  • NGAA Awards Dinner
  • Panel discussions on creating resilient, liveable and thriving communities in our outer suburbs
  • Networking opportunities with key decision makers from Australia’s fast growing local government areas; Mayors, CEOs and specialists, Politicians and business partners in development, planning and infrastructure industries.

Dr Liz Allen

Demographer, Author, Senior Lecturer

Dr Liz Allen is an award-winning demographer with quantitative and qualitative research expertise. Named as a “Woman to Watch” by the Australian Financial Review in 2023, Liz is a change-maker, bringing data to life in meaningful ways, challenging the status quo and helping to shine a spot light on inequality. Growing up in Western Sydney, Dr Allen has a firm belief that it is through her experience of growing up on the fringes that has given her an advantage, a special responsibility to help those who don't fit the statistical norms. In her book “The Future of Us”, Dr Allen tracks Australia's demographic journey through time and presents opportunities for a fairer and more equal nation

Dr Tim Williams

Cities and Practice Lead for Grimshaw

Dr Tim Williams heads up Grimshaw’s Cities Initiative which forms part of the Cities and Social Impact Group. Tim has an international ‘city-shaping’ reputation in urban strategies, land use and transport planning, smart cities strategies, city-benchmarking and area transformation and regeneration. He also has a big track record in getting top-level buy-in by key decision-maker and by communities to challenging urban transformation and infrastructure projects.

Dr Michael Kollo

CEO of Evolved Reasoning

Dr Michael G. Kollo is a distinguished figure in the intersection of artificial intelligence and corporate strategy. Dr Kollo believes that AI's influence extends beyond technology, affecting economic structures and global markets. In his work, he examines the broad economic consequences of AI integration, including productivity gains, job displacement, and new market creation, providing a comprehensive overview of AI's role in shaping future economic landscapes and what it means for the creation of new cities.

Heather McNell

Deputy CAO, Metro Vancouver

Metro Vancouver has earned widespread recognition for its effective metropolitan governance model. Heather McNell has wealth of expertise spanning housing, planning, climate, and investment within Metro Vancouver, and will provide valuable insights into global governance models operating in comparable environments.

Professor Mark Western

Director, The QLD Commitment & Centre for Policy Futures, University of Queensland

Mark is a sociologist whose research examines how systems of inequality and disadvantage arise and can be addressed, what matters for economic and social well-being, and how institutions like schools, families, networks and labour markets are involved in these processes. Mark also carries out research in social science methods.

Sarah Treasure

Executive Manager Enablement and Governance New Developments

Sarah is responsible for coordinating and supporting broadband delivery in new developments Australia-wide – with a particular focus on growth areas. Sarah is committed to commitment to sustainable growth underpinned by economic and infrastructure uplift, and the need for genuine collaboration between all levels of government and industry to deliver equity for growing towns and cities.

Mrs Melissa McIntosh MP

Shadow Minister for Western Sydney

As Shadow Minister for Western Sydney, Melissa McIntosh is focused on finding a solution to delivering better services for fast growing communities. Melissa is also motivated to see Federal government taking a genuine leadership approach, working closing with local government and holding states accountable for their role.

Cr Matthew Deeth

Chair National Growth Areas Alliance

Matt is passionate about the opportunities offered by fast-growing communities which are too often hampered by incremental, ad-hoc and uncoordinated planning decisions which leave a substantial cost for local government now and into the future. He believes that as a united collective with a strong voice, backed by sound evidence, shared experiences and expertise, the NGAA is best placed to show how Governments can better invest in and plan thriving and vibrant new communities.

Mayor Todd Carney

Mayor Penrith City Council

Mayor Todd Carney is dedicated to local politics and community advancement. He is a strong advocate for affordable housing, environmental sustainability, and positive place making initiatives. Through collaboration and innovative leadership, he strives to achieve positive outcomes for the Penrith community.p>

Kylie Powell

Director City Futures, Penrith City Council

Kylie Powell is an experienced planner dedicated to developing resilient, thriving, and liveable cities for the future. With a keen understanding of Penrith's strategic significance in the context of Western Sydney's growth, she passionately advocates for essential infrastructure to support the city's anticipated development.p>

Rachel Dapiran

Director, City Planning and Places

Rachel is a qualified planner and experienced executive at Hume City Council with a proven track record of leadership in developing complex policy, managing change and effective advocacy across government. She is passionate about reform and positive change to create great cities and suburbs to live in, served by quality infrastructure, beautiful open space and diverse housing options


83 Mulgoa Rd, Penrith, NSW.

The Awards Dinner and Congress will be held at the new Western Sydney Conference Centre, adjacent to the Pullman. 

81 Mulgoa Road, Penrith NSW 2750

Stay in Style at the new Pullman Hotel. All attendees are eligible for a discount of 10% off the "Best FLEXIBLE rate". To redeem this discount, attendees must call reservations on 02 4725 6000 or e-mail reservations@pullmanpenrith.com.au and quote “National Growth Areas Alliance".

Site tour

Pick up from The Pullman at 8:40am. 81 Mulgoa Road, Penrith NSW 2750

The site tour will include the new Western Sydney Airport experience centre and a visit to Penrith Lakes.


The 2024 NGAA Awards celebrate excellence and innovation from projects and initiatives that support the development of growth areas across Australia. Winners will be announced on Thursday 30 May at the NGAA Awards Dinner.

awards information
Host Council

Penrith City epitomises the perfect blend of urban convenience and rural charm. Over the last four decades, Penrith has undergone a remarkable transformation, evolving from an outer-urban semi-rural centre into an emerging major city.

Positioned at the intersection of Sydney’s east-west connection and the north-south growth arc, which is expected to become a significant future economic corridor, Penrith sits at the heart of this growth. The NSW Government's ambitious vision for Western Sydney as the national capital for advanced manufacturing, anchored by the future Western Sydney International Airport and the development of the Aerotropolis precinct, highlights the role that this region is poised to play in shaping the economic landscape of the nation.

Find out more about Penrith City Council here.

Connectivity Partner

We are thrilled to announce NBN Co limited as the Connectivity Partner for NGAA's 2024 Congress, themed "Building Australia's newest cities – a model for the new wave of growth." nbn's purpose of uplifting Australia's digital capability aligns with our event's theme and the interests of NGAA members. nbn's ongoing investments to upgrade the network, aim to ensure that all of Australia can reap the economic and social benefits of a faster, higher capacity and more reliable nbn® network, today and in the future.

This partnership highlights the critical role of connectivity in fostering resilient, liveable, and thriving communities. It's not just about facilitating employment; it's about fundamentally reshaping our lives for the better. With nbn's support, we are well-positioned to elevate discussions on connectivity to the forefront, ensuring that Australia's newest cities are not just connected but connected with the future in mind.

At NGAA's Congress, we champion innovative thinking and urban development leadership. With nbn onboard, we anticipate taking our collective efforts to a whole new level. Together, we'll advance the dialogue on nationwide connectivity planning, placing the needs of growth area communities at the forefront. We recognise the transformative potential of connectivity, and with nbn's expertise and commitment, we are confident in our ability to pave the way for a digitally empowered Australia. Join us as we shape the blueprint for the future of our cities and communities, one connection at a time.

Learn more about the nbnco here

Award Partnership Opportunities

Do you want to reach key decision makers from Australia's fastest growing outer cities and suburbs? Get in touch to learn more about the benefits of partnering with the NGAA for this years Awards evening. For more information, please contact NGAA Chief Executive Officer, Bronwen Clark, on 0448 401 257 or at bronwen.clark@ngaa.org.au.

Looking back at Congress in previous years
Congress 2019 Congress 2022 Congress 2023