Parents in regional areas want their kids to have a future nearby. They want good jobs and opportunity. It is our job as your NSW Nationals in Government to ensure regional youth and families get the chance they deserve to succeed.
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures show our regions are the strongest in the nation, with the latest Regional Labour Force Figures for the year to September revealing an additional 54,500 jobs grown in regional NSW. This 4.6 per cent rise in jobs growth speaks for itself. Regional NSW recorded a larger jobs increase than the regional area of any other state in Australia.
Regional NSW employment will continue to benefit from our record infrastructure program and our Jobs for NSW Bill, which means a dedicated focus on job creation opportunities for rural and regional communities.
Richmond-Tweed performed the best of all regions with a rise in employment of 17,800 jobs or 20.4 per cent. Shoalhaven and the Southern Highlands also performed strongly with employment up 10,300 or 18.5 per cent. From the Hunter Valley to the Central West, Murray and Mid North Coast, our regions experienced growth.
Regional NSW has the second-best unemployment rate of regional areas in the nation - only slightly behind Western Australia. The unemployment rate for regional NSW improved to 6.4%. We are committed to delivering 150,000 new jobs across NSW in four years, driving regional employment and regional business growth. We are also equipping our regional youth with tools to succeed, not just for their own business, but for their communities, whether it be in Dundee or Culcairn.
It was an especially proud moment for me this week to meet the winners of the Young Regional Arts Scholarships, which I created exclusively for young entrepreneurs of regional NSW to further develop their talent and drive business in the bush. These $10,000 scholarships will help develop their career in creative industries and we have committed to awarding them to at least 100 deserving young people.