The Nationals in Government have unveiled a 20-year vision for our regions, setting out a framework for investment that will guide the allocation of resources from the new $4.2 billion Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Deputy Premier John Barilaro unveiled the vision, which focuses on connectivity and water security, to industry and community leaders in Bathurst on Monday.
“This is a comprehensive vision for the future of regional NSW for the next 20 years and beyond that focuses on job creation and promoting regional development,” Ms Berejiklian said. “It is designed to unlock the incredible potential in our regions by providing the infrastructure, the services and the support regions need to thrive. At the centre will be a new generation of nation-building projects enabled by the $4.2 billion Snow Hydro Legacy Fund. Our world-leading regional industries will be able to take full advantage of booming global demand and in turn, create an additional 260,000 new jobs beyond current job-growth predictions for between now and 2038.”
Mr Barilaro, who is also the Minister for Regional NSW, said the vision outlined 10 key ‘engine industries’ that would drive growth in regional NSW, and set out a framework for how the Government should direct its investment.
“Businesses tell us the key to them investing in our regions is certainty – and that’s exactly what our vision provides,” Mr Barilaro said. “This vision sets out a long-term plan and a framework for how the Government will lay the all-important foundations for businesses to invest in our regions with confidence. People know we are a Government that’s worked hard to put ourselves in a strong financial position, and now they want to see we are spending our funds with fore-thought, by making smart investments in big-ticket items that have the potential to transform regional NSW.”
Mr Barilaro said importantly, the vision brought together long-term planning strategies, including the Future Transport Strategy 2056, the NSW State Infrastructure Strategy and the regional plans.
“Through targeted Government efforts we have the potential to attract an extra 185,000 new residents to live and work in regional NSW, on top of population growth already predicted, by 2038,” Mr Barilaro said. “The Nationals in Government, guided by the ‘principles of future investment’ outlined in this vision, will inject funds into projects that form the foundations of economic growth, like freight, digital connectivity, water security, access to resources, skills and education. We are putting our money where our mouth is, announcing that the first allocation of money from the Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund will be spent on scoping studies and planning works for an inland port and investment precinct in Parkes.”
The Parkes National Logistics Hub is just one part of the vision, and as the first to be announced, it clearly signals the types of big-ticket projects the Nationals in Government are looking at investing in: Ones that will totally transform the regions for generations to come. The Parkes precinct will attract major employers, drive local economies and create jobs across the Central West, and is perfectly situated to take advantage of the Inland Rail project, which will allow products to be delivered across Australia and around the world.