|Parishioners from St Patrick's Blacktown at the Sydney Alliance Founding Assembly with Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Vicar General & Moderator of the Curia, Right Rev Monsignor Robert McGuckin VG EV (far right), the Diocese's Social Justice Co-ordinator Evan Ellis (fifth from right) and St Patrick's Blacktown Parish Priest Fr Peter Confeggi (third from right).|
Photo: Alphonus Fok & Grace Lu
By Evan Ellis, Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Social Justice Co-ordinator
On Thursday 15 September, the Sydney Alliance had its Founding Assembly. More than 2,000 people from more than 45 organisations packed the Sydney Town Hall and filled the neighbouring annex rooms.
For the past three years the Alliance has been growing in breadth and depth as it created a diverse coalition of religious organisations, community groups and unions from across Sydney.
Now, the Sydney Alliance has stepped into the public arena as a new voice for Sydney’s Civil Society and launched its Agenda for the Common Good.
Leading the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta contingent was Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, Right Rev Robert McGuckin VG EV.
As parishioners from parishes in Penrith, St Clair, Stanhope Gardens, Blacktown South and Blacktown, Guildford and the Hills, along with migrant chaplaincies and representatives from Josephite Community Aid and Young Christian Workers stood, Msgr Robert McGuckin told the assembly: “The Catholic Church in Western Sydney is proud to partner and work with the Sydney Alliance to create a society that is just and fair for all.”
The Alliance has trained thousands of citizens from partner organisations and conducted many thousands of one to one meetings to build the trust and goodwill among so diverse a coalition.
Partner organizations also ran Listening Campaigns over six months across the geographic spread of Sydney, connecting with over six thousand people from diverse ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. The issues, hopes, dreams and aspirations of these people contributed to the Alliance’s multi-issue Agenda for the Common Good, which was launched on the night. The Agenda focused on three issues; community care and health, social inclusion and public transport.
State politicians such as Victor Dominello, Minister for Citizenship and Communities and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Charles Casuscelli, Chair of the Legislative Assembly’s Committee on Transport and Infrastructure, were invited to begin working with the Alliance on these issues.