Regional Service Delivery Priorities
We recognise the importance of ensuring all regional communities can access the essential services of a modern economy. We believe our geography brings enormous opportunity, and should not deter people from choosing where they live, work and play.
To help deliver on this commitment, the NSW Government has developed Regional Service Delivery Priorities to improve local services according to each region’s specific needs.
The priorities are based on existing state-wide programs that address local challenges and benefit communities. The NSW Government will provide updates on the priorities’ progress over the next year.
Use government spending to create local jobs
Priority regions: Far West
Target: Create sustainable jobs in six western NSW towns through innovative work scheduling for government services.
Current Status: On track. The pilot will commence in mid-2018.
Procurement can create sustainable local jobs, particularly in communities where government has a strong role in the local economy. The Aboriginal and Local Jobs Skills Pilot will help young people in Bourke, Brewarrina, Cobar and Walgett to move from training into employment, by working with suppliers to create demand for local jobs.
Support young people into training and employment
Priority regions: Central West & Orana, New England & North West, North Coast, South East & Tablelands
State-wide target: Assist an estimated 750 young people each year into education, training or employment through Regional VET Pathways.
Current status: On track. 716 young people state-wide have been assisted into education, training or employment through the Regional VET Pathways Initiative at April 2018.
The Regional VET Pathways initiative supports young people aged 15-19 in finding their way into education, training and work with career advice and mentoring to help them pursue their careers. The NSW Government wants to ensure that young people get the help they need to find a job so they can build a future and contribute to their community.
Support student wellbeing in schools
Priority regions: Central Coast, Illawarra-Shoalhaven, South East & Tablelands
State-wide target: 100 per cent of schools to have school counselling services by January 2019.
Current status: On track. 97 per cent of schools state-wide have counselling services, with 30 additional full-time equivalent staff recruited since 30 June 2017.
School counselling services can improve student mental health as well as attendance and graduation rates, while reducing discipline issues.
The Supported Students, Successful Students initiative will provide regional NSW schools with new counselling and psychology services, more wellbeing services and graduate scholarships to recruit more school counsellors.
Boost mental health workers
Priority regions: Hunter, New England & North West, North Coast and Riverina-Murray.
State-wide target: Increase the mental health peer workforce in regional NSW by 50 per cent by June 2019.
Current status: On track. There has been a 33 percent increase to 39.85 fulltime equivalent peer workers in 2017-18.
The NSW Government is committed to improving mental health services in regional NSW to tackle loss of life and prevent self-harm. Mental health services need a stronger workforce to deal with it. The Government’s ‘Living Well’ strategic plan sets out to support those with mental illness. By creating a well-supported mental health workforce that employs people with a lived experience of mental illness, we can help reduce the length of admissions, readmissions, and use of restrictive interventions.
Early intervention for vulnerable young people
Priority regions: Hunter
State-wide target: Support 155 young people each year in regional NSW through the Youth on Track program.
Current status: On track. 115 young people state-wide have been supported through the Youth on Track program between January and March 2018.
Early intervention and targeted services can reduce offending risk in young people. Youth on Track is an early intervention scheme that supports 10–17 year olds in the Hunter. It helps police and education staff to refer young people at risk of long-term criminal behaviour to a support service, before courts are involved.
Enhance transport access for Aboriginal people
Priority regions: Far West, New England and North West.
State-wide target: Ensure all community transport providers have made efforts to increase the patronage of their services by Aboriginal people.
Current Status: On track. All community transport providers have made efforts to increase the patronage of their services by Aboriginal people from their previous efforts (around 1 in 6 providers have reported increases in patronage in December 2017).
Transport is essential for people in regional NSW to get to work, access healthcare or simply reach the shops. In communities where few households have a vehicle, community transport services are critical. Improving access to community transport will help Aboriginal people to access more services and employment opportunities.
Priority regions: Central Coast, Central West and Orana, Far West, Hunter, Illawarra Shoalhaven, New England and North West, Riverina- Murray, South East and Tablelands.
State-wide target: 174 new or upgraded mobile base stations to be delivered in regional NSW by 2019.
Current Status: On track. 113 new or upgraded mobile base stations have been delivered since June 2017.
Mobile phone coverage along major transport routes and in smaller communities is a significant challenge. Across NSW in 2016, there were over 3,200 reported regional blackspot locations affecting businesses, services and assistance during natural disasters.
The NSW Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program will deliver new and upgraded mobile base stations, reducing blackspot locations, improving lives and potentially even saving them.
Deliver quality infrastructure
Priority regions: Central Coast, Central West & Orana, Illawarra-Shoalhaven, Far West, North Coast and Riverina-Murray.
State-wide target: Local infrastructure projects to have commenced implementation in target regions by 2019.
Current Status: On track. 284 local amenity projects have been approved since 30 June 2017.
The Stronger Country Communities Fund is investing $200 million in NSW over the next two years. To make regional NSW a more vibrant place to live and work, infrastructure projects will improve the lives of residents. The fund will help boost productivity and make the region a more attractive place for individuals and businesses looking to re-locate.