The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian
Premier of New South Wales
Since the release of the 20-Year Economic Vision for Regional NSW in July 2018, our regional communities have faced a series of challenges in the form of drought, bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic.
These events have taken a significant toll on regional industries, jobs, families and individuals but there are already clear signs of recovery in our regions. Housing demand in regional NSW rose in the second half of 2020 and an estimated 17 million tonnes of grain will be harvested over the 2020-21 summer harvest.
The people of regional NSW are resilient and the NSW Government’s commitment to you has never been stronger.
$20 billion has been allocated to regional NSW since 2017. This funding is creating Special Activation Precincts across regional NSW as local employment and investment hubs, delivering our Skilling for Recovery program to provide 100,000 fee-free training places across NSW, and investing $400 million to improve digital connectivity in our regions. As part of the NSW COVID-19 Recovery Plan, we will deliver 90 new and accelerated regional infrastructure projects worth $1.8 billion.
The Vision Refresh will drive the next stage of recovery by focusing on the key enablers of economic success. It will ensure regional NSW is connected, with reliable transport and freight infrastructure, secure and sustainable water and energy, strong education and training, quality services and a stable business environment.
Regional NSW will be stronger, more prosperous and more resilient than ever.
The Hon. John Barilaro
Minister for Regional NSW, Industry and Trade
Since releasing our 20-Year Economic Vision for Regional NSW, the world has changed rapidly. Having seen firsthand the unique challenges that have confronted the people and towns of regional NSW, I have been struck by our resilience in the face of drought, bushfires, floods and COVID-19.
In the face of adversity, regional NSW remains the engine room of our economy. It is where the minerals are found to build and power our cities, where the high tech, sustainable agriculture that feeds the country comes from, and where stunning natural attractions draw visitors from across Australia and the globe.
Since 2018, the NSW Government has been hard at work delivering on our vision for regional NSW, committing more than $8 billion to support regional communities and economies. We have established the $4.2 billion Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund, which is dedicated to investing in transformational and economically productive infrastructure for regional NSW. I announced priorities that direct the investment of this fund to transform regional NSW – Special Activation Precincts, digital connectivity, water security and freight productivity. This is all about turning our vision for regional NSW into a legacy for regional NSW.
We will invest at least $1 billion through our Special Activation Precincts program, creating thousands of regional jobs, starting with the Parkes Special Activation Precinct. Work is also underway for precincts in Wagga Wagga, Moree, Snowy Mountains, and Williamtown.
We have partnered with the Commonwealth Government to jointly invest $1 billion into priority dam infrastructure. This includes delivering the Wyangala Dam wall raising, a new Dungowan Dam, and investigating the Mole River Dam.
We have committed $400 million to improve mobile and internet connectivity for regional businesses and families – an investment that will be critical in ensuring regional NSW can make the most of a post-COVID digital economy that is more connected than ever.
The Regional Growth Fund has invested $2 billion in over 2,100 projects to deliver new and enhanced sporting venues and develop arts, cultural and heritage facilities in regional communities.
The NSW Government is committed to delivering on these investments, but our economic analysis tells us that we need to plan ahead for the challenges and opportunities following the devastating drought, bushfires, floods and COVID-19. This is why we have released this refresh to our 20-Year Economic Vision for Regional NSW.
Our vision is to create the economic terms needed for our services, manufacturing, resources and agriculture sectors to recover quickly and return to growth, while also positioning regional economies to further specialise in innovation and technology focussed industries.
The Vision Refresh also looks to accelerate economic growth in key sectors such as tourism. We will investigate visionary projects that could maximise our unique environmental endowments to take full advantage of tourism opportunities.
We are also looking to a future that is increasingly uncertain. To deliver on our vision in the face of uncertainty, we must develop diversified regional economies able to support people and businesses through future challenges.
I am personally determined to leave a lasting legacy of strong and sustainable regional communities. There is still much work to do. The 20-Year Economic Vision for Regional NSW, together with this refresh, will help outline how we get there.