A new report has backed the NSW Nationals’ long-standing policy of building up our regions.

According to the Select Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation report, Australia needs to make growing our regions a priority. It found that people were sick and tired of congestion in Sydney and Melbourne, unable to afford housing and struggling to get ahead financially in the big cities. Regional Australia, meanwhile, had “never been in a better position to take advantage of an Australian population that is looking away from our capital cities, looking to the regions for a better all-round life.”

The Nationals have spent years fighting to decentralise Government while building up infrastructure in country areas. There have been many success stories; moving Australian Tax Office staff to Albury – a decision that was resisted at the time – resulted decades later in workers who would now fight tooth and nail if anyone tried to send them to Sydney or Canberra. More recently, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) was moved to Wagga Wagga, where chairman (and former Member for Riverina) Kay Hull says the organisation is flourishing.

In Orange, decentralisation has seen a flow-on effect for the entire community, with private businesses clustering around public infrastructure. The NSW Department of Agriculture moved 430 positions to Orange in 1992  a good fit for the agriculturally-based area  which has had positive flow-on effects ever since. Government investment, married up with private enterprise, has resulted in the entire region is booming.

More recently, our Deputy Leader and Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair in 2016 confirmed the NSW DPI would remain in Orange for another two decades  proving our strong record of decentralisation continues to remain a focus for the Party into the future. 

The Select Committee report found country towns offered what the big cities never could: The ability to live five minutes’ drive from work, to own your own home and to have space for children to grow and play. All that was needed was a greater share of the funding pie invested in regional Australia, to help provide the sort of services that will unlock more opportunities.

The NSW Nationals will continue to fight for more spending in regional areas and a fair go for people in our regions, so we can help pave the way for more Australians to enjoy our country lifestyle.

Every town and city outside of Sydney and Melbourne would welcome new neighbours, new businesses and new families with open arms. Country Australia has always had a wonderful, welcoming heart and it’s this true spirit of Australia that people are sadly missing in the major cities.