The NSW Government has unveiled its 20-year economic vision for a thriving regional NSW and it includes a Regional NSW first special activation precinct and an inland port in Parkes.
The vision focuses on injecting funds into projects that form the foundations of economic growth, like freight, digital connectivity, water security, access to resources, skills and education.
It’s expected to create jobs and bring regional suppliers closer to their markets, and highlights a framework for future investment that will guide the allocation of funding from the new $4.2 billion Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro made the announcement 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.
“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,” she said.
Mr Barilaro said the vision outlines 10 key ‘engine industries’ that will drive growth in regional NSW, and how the government should direct its investment.
“Today we are...announcing that the first allocation of money from the Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund will be spent investigating and planning for a special activation precinct including an inland port in Parkes,” he said.
“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 we’re looking at investing in – ones that will totally transform the regions for generations to come.
“A special activation precinct would offer a coordinated approach to land use and infrastructure planning, and attract major employers, drive local economies and create jobs across the Central West.”
He also said the vision brings together the NSW Government’s long-term planning strategies, including the Future Transport Strategy 2056, the NSW State Infrastructure Strategy and 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,” he said.
The funds will be invested in identifying how best to deliver an economic special activation precinct and inland port in Parkes, to take advantage of its location on the Brisbane to Melbourne Inland Rail, and facilitate agricultural value-adding, allowing local products to be delivered more efficiently across Australia and around the world.
A business case for investment will be finalised within 12 months.
We are experiencing unprecedented interest in Parkes, including National and International inquiries. I said at the recent national rail conference in Parkes we were on the verge of something big and that has been strengthened today by the NSW Government’s commitment.Kent Boyd, Parkes Shire Council General Manager
Parkes Shire Council General Manager Kent Boyd welcomed the announcement and congratulated the state government’s 20-year vision for regional NSW and its commitment to such a rapid timetable for delivery.
“Parkes is already experiencing heightened interest from logistics firms and other industry around the Parkes National Logistic Hub, encompassing land adjacent to the existing East-West rail line and the proposed Inland Rail route,” he said.
“The special activation precinct and inland port will attract further major employers, driving the regional economy and creating jobs across the Central West and neighbouring regions.
“This special activation precinct around the Parkes National Logistic Hub is the realisation of a long-term community vision that has been top-of-mind since the railway went through Parkes in the 1800s.
“It is our region's Snowy 3.0 and will have the same impact that the Snowy Hydro Scheme had for our nation in the 1950s.
Mr Boyd said 65 per cent of produce leaves the region without “any value-adding” and is priced based on the world market, forcing producers to accept low market prices.
“The Parkes inland port and special activation precinct opens up the opportunity for the Central West to access higher value markets, enabling our farmers to be price makers, not price takers, which is especially important during challenging times such as the current drought,” he said.
Mr Boyd said today’s announcement perfectly complemented the Federal Government's commitment to Inland Rail which has already led to new investment in Parkes, with businesses seeing the potential in locating close to a major national transport node.
“The Inland Rail has a 50-100 year planning horizon and it is incumbent on us to plan with similar horizons to ensure the opportunity for our region is not diminished by short-sighted planning,” he said.
“The local Parkes community has been well aware we have been planning the Parkes National Logistics Hub for decades, because geographically, it is suited to be a key node for a national logistics network; but now the word is getting out across the country and internationally.
“We are experiencing unprecedented interest in Parkes, including National and International inquiries. I said at the recent national rail conference in Parkes we were on the verge of something big and that has been strengthened today by the NSW Government’s commitment,” Mr Boyd said.