The local non-government sector has highlighted issues of federal concern during a breakfast discussion held by the Western Sydney Community Forum.

The Breakfast Conversation Federal Election Q&A was the launchpad for the forum’s first of its Breakfast Conversations series, and presented the non-government sector from the greater west with an opportuunity to highlight federal electorate issues with seven community sector industry representatives prior to the July 2 poll.

The event was opened by Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown, who said council was pleased to support the initiative.

“Council would like to thank the forum, who provide a voice for the communities and people working daily with the challenges facing the region, for this initiative,” she said.

“We heard about the valuable and innovative work being done by the sector and the need for long-term public investment. This was an important initiative to give a stronger voice to the region and to strengthen the connection between communities and policy makers.”

Forum chief executive Billie Sankovic delivered the opening address, saying the Breakfast Conversations were about providing a platform to escalate and strengthen social and cultural goals in the public policy debate in western Sydney.

“Delivering a strong economy and adequate infrastructure must be about people and quality of life,” she said.

The Breakfast panelists reminded attendees issues – including the loss of funding for the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and other critical front-line services – needed to be highlighted.

Panel members included board of director member Aunty Norma Ingram, DVNSW chief executive Moo Baulch, NCOSS deputy CEO John Mikelsons, Youth Action project coordinator Natasha Lay, NSW Women’s electoral lobby convenor Jozefa Sobski, House of Welcome executive officer Paul Bottrill, and forum consultant Sabrina Caldalano.

Further Breakfast Conversations will be held in greater western Sydney in various locations throughout 2016.