THE central NSW region has been forecasted by Infrastructure Australia as being one of the seven greatest contributors to Gross Domestic Product by 2031. There is good reason for this growth. These include our proximity to Sydney, Canberra and ports, our natural abundance and locational preference factors.
As I sit on my verandah overlooking our magnificent landscape I wonder what would happen if everyone in our region becomes an ambassador talking up the experiences, the events and the lifestyle. We could help build and strengthen our region for our children and their children. We will also build our destination as a place to live, work and play as we build our industries and grow jobs.
We have so many advantages in central NSW.
Recognising our strengths, tourism managers across the region have worked collaboratively over the past five years to grow the visitor economy and they have got great results. Tourism in our region has grown more than twice as fast as the NSW average.
We have a growing number of excellent events that target so many different types of visitors – whether it is our young people partying at VanFest in Forbes, or the lovers of Elvis and Abba letting their hair down in Parkes and Trundle. Mount Panorama is the home to world-class motor racing, and every regional town has a series of picnic races, town festivals and celebrations to choose from. From art and poetry to car shows, central NSW truly has something for everyone.
Our food and wine is world class, and the festivals that celebrate them are warm, friendly and like visiting long-lost relations. The region is growing its sports tourism, and we have plenty of potential to think about agritourism. We also have over 1,100 sites of heritage significance that we are only beginning to unearth and leverage.
Like me, I am sure everyone in our region loves the rolling hills of seasonal landscape where we all have our favourite views coming over that rise or around that corner. Journeys that that take us to that special place called home. Everything is easy - parking is cheap or free, coffee is great and the spirit is refreshed.
If we sit in traffic for more than three minutes is more likely to be sheep on the road than kilometres of bumper-to-bumper cars.
According to the Regional Australia Institute, for every 100,000 Australians who choose to live in small cities rather than our major cities, the savings in congestion costs would be in the order of $292 million per year or $4.9 billion over 30 years.
There are great incentives for businesses to move away from the high costs of doing business in the cities. We have more space, great people to work with and you aren’t joining ever-lengthening queues. With regional airports scattered across our region, we are easier to access than ever before.
I will be talking to my fellow mayors at the Centroc Board meeting in Cowra at the end of this month about how community leaders can work with our regions to build on the great work that has already been accomplished.
In the meantime, check out the website at Central NSW Tourism and see for yourself what is happening in the region – then invite your friends and relatives to come share in our great lifestyle in this beautiful region. http://visitcentralnsw.com.au/