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The Sydney Morning Herald

Rebel with a cause to liberate westies by poking fun

Author: William Verity
Date: 25/11/2002
Words: 418
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: News And Features
Page: 3
There's ``a bit of westie in all of us" says playwright Rebel Wilson, creator of The Westie Monologues, a hit play which emerged from the Sydney Fringe Festival this year and opens at the Parramatta Riverside Theatres from Thursday.

Wilson's play is seeking to liberate the ``westie" in the same way that it's namesake, Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, liberated women by poking fun at stereotypes.

``My show makes light of the concept of westiness used by people of the North Shore," says Wilson.

The sentiment is increasingly backed by fact. By 2019, western Sydney will account for almost half of Sydney's population, say the authors of a new profile of the region to be launched today.

``We are well beyond the westie notion," said Professor Bill Randolph, who co-authored Western Sydney Social Profile with colleague Dr Brendan Gleeson for the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils.

The University of Western Sydney academics have used census data to track demographic trends and predict how the area will look in 2019.

The report dispels some stereotypes for instance only marginally fewer western Sydney dwellers own their own homes (40 per cent), compared to all Sydneysiders (41 per cent).

And the proportion of DINKs the inner city Double Income No Kids stereotype is likely to grow much faster in the west, compared to the Sydney average, over the next 20 years. The number of couples without children would grow by 68 per cent in the west compared to 50 per cent across Sydney.

Wilson says the term ``westie" used to be derogatory but has evolved into something that people are quite proud to say.

``The idea of being a westie is now changing with the changing face of western Sydney," she says.

However, the report also shows a gap between the west and the rest still exists when some social indicators are considered. For instance, only half as many western Sydney inhabitants (3 per cent) earn more than $1500 a week compared to the Sydney average.

At the other end of the scale, 38 per cent of people in Greater Western Sydney (including Camden and Campbelltown) earned less than $300 a week, compared to 35 per cent of all Sydneysiders.

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