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Published 16th March, 2018

The Riverina Murray is one of Australia’s main food producing regions, with rich natural resources and a temperate climate underpinning the region's diverse economy.

Governments are judged by the outcomes they deliver for communities.

We have worked hard to build a strong budget and restore NSW to its rightful place as the number one economy in the country. We are rolling out a record-breaking infrastructure program that is already having a positive impact across all parts of the state. Most importantly, we are a government that wants Regional NSW to thrive and feel supported.

Our Regions is a package of materials designed to showcase the work being undertaken in communities across Regional NSW. It is a source for information about the projects we have committed to, that we are building, and that have already been delivered. The material will highlight some of the projects occurring in health, education, transport, roads, sport, the arts, and the community sector.

It paints a clear picture of the progress that is happening around you. More importantly, it shows a government working for you; a government dedicated to people and families in regional communities.

Please take the time to inspect your local Our Regions section on the website, or pick up a copy of your local Our Regions brochure. It is a great way to ensure you are aware and engaged with the work that is occurring in your region.

The information available online will be continually updated, as the investments we make in Regional NSW continue to roll out.

Our government is determined to make sure that every regional community continues to grow, attract more investment, and create an even better quality of life for its citizens not just for tomorrow, but also for decades to come.

Gladys Berejiklian
Gladys Berejiklian
NSW Premier

John Barilaro
John Barilaro
NSW Deputy Premier

Bronnie Taylor
Bronnie Taylor
Parliamentary Secretary for Southern NSW

Regional service delivery priorities for the Riverina Murray

The NSW Government is committed to ensuring the people of regional NSW have the best access to essential services and infrastructure in regional Australia. 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.

Boost mental health workers in Riverina Murray

State-wide target: To increase the mental health peer workforce in regional NSW by 50 per cent by June 2019.

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.

Improve connectivity in Riverina Murray

State-wide target: 174 new or upgraded mobile base stations to be delivered in regional NSW by 2019.

Mobile phone coverage along major transport routes and in smaller communities is a significant challenge. 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 in the Riverina Murray, reducing blackspot locations, improving lives and potentially even saving them.

Deliver quality infrastructure for the Riverina Murray

State-wide target: Local infrastructure projects to have commenced implementation in target regions by 2019.

The Stronger Country Communities Fund is investing $200 million in NSW over the next two years. To make the Riverina Murray region 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.

Works underway

Explore the map below to find out more about the projects happening in your area.

Pre-employment Program is a new road to a Gundagai career

A job in the country, like anywhere, begins by opening a few doors. For those looking for work in the Riverina, a pre-employment program with Gundagai Meat Processors offers a new model to start a long career.

NSW Government helps Wagga Wagga refugees smile

Refugees can face challenges adjusting to a new life in regional NSW. A group of professionals in Wagga Wagga are determined to make sure that health will not be one of them.

Region overview

The Riverina Murray is situated along the Victorian and Australian Capital Territory borders. It is one of Australia’s main food producing regions and the temperate climate and rich natural resources underpin the diverse regional economy. The regional cities of Albury, Griffith and Wagga Wagga, together with the regional centres of Deniliquin, Leeton and Tumut, provide many services to smaller, vibrant rural communities. The region’s river systems, which include the Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers, provide corridors of biodiversity and support productive, scenic and valuable rural lands.

Drivers – economic, social and environmental

The region’s thriving manufacturing, health care and social assistance and agricultural industries are the largest employers of the region. The Riverina Murray is close to state and national markets and on the main transport networks linking Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. This means it is well placed to grow its economy, in particular freight and logistics, food and beverage manufacturing, agricultural products and education and health.

Supporting water security for the region is critical to ensure local industries can continue and expand. Managing the demand for water between industry, agriculture and the increased population is essential to the region’s economic future.

Growth will be driven by advances in agricultural technology and productivity, new freight and transport connections, the impacts of water trading and regulation and national and global economic conditions.

The population of the Riverina Murray is projected to grow slowly over the next 20 years, with Albury and Wagga Wagga experiencing the largest increases. 27 per cent of the region’s population will be aged above 65 years by 2036, compared to 19 per cent in 2016. These changes will have implications for the housing, jobs and service needs of the region, with a higher demand for aged-related services and supporting health infrastructure and public transport.

The Riverina Murray has strong educational centres, with Charles Sturt University campuses located in Albury, Griffith and Wagga Wagga and TAFE NSW services spread across the region. These are well placed to meet the future demand for skilled staff and to support young people to remain in the region to complete their tertiary education.

Morgans Lookout Walla Walla

Regional Growth Fund

The NSW Government has a new approach to supporting growth and business potential which means all residents of regional NSW will see the benefits of strong economic management. To support this new approach, the $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund has been created to deliver the infrastructure to help regional economies expand, and to improve the amenity for people living in regional NSW. The Regional Growth Fund is designed to activate local economies and create jobs by building and upgrading infrastructure, improving facilities and investing in sports, arts and culture in eligible regional communities.

The Regional Growth Fund includes:

  • Growing Local Economies – Unlocking economic potential by building or upgrading power, transport and telecommunications links and water and sewerage services 
  • Resources for Regions – Supporting the infrastructure needs of mining-affected regional economies
  • Connecting Country Communities – Investing in better mobile phone and internet connectivity to support businesses and families living and working in regional areas and drive regional productivity 
  • Regional Sports Infrastructure – Supporting participation and high achievement in sport for regional NSW communities by improving facilities
  • Regional Cultural Fund – Delivering investment to support bold and exciting regional arts and culture
  • Stronger Country Communities Fund – Supporting councils and community groups to deliver crucial local infrastructure to improve quality of life.

These programs are in addition to the $300 million Regional Growth – Environment and Tourism Fund which supports environmental assets, tourism infrastructure and attractions to drive greater visitation and spend across regional NSW.

Our actions in the region

We are actively contributing to strong and healthy regional communities through these initiatives.

Creating jobs and growing the regional economy

Supporting businesses contributing to the changing Murray-Darling Basin economy

  • Complete the Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program with help from the Australian Government to support innovative economic development projects and diversification initiatives to broaden the region’s economic base.

Making it easier to invest and innovate in the Riverina Murray

  • Deliver the Indigenous Entrepreneurship Pop-Up Innovation Hub and Agritech Incubator Hub in Wagga Wagga.
  • Increase skill levels of workers in the grains and cotton industries in the region through AgSkilled, an initiative under Smart and Skilled.
  • Support businesses to start and grow through the Business Connect program. 
  • Establish the Griffith SkillsPoint where local employers help design the courses people need to get jobs in the region.

Making energy more affordable for small business and low-income households

  • Deliver low-income household rebates of $285 and a Family Energy Rebate of $180 via the energy affordability package to support approximately 900,000 customers across NSW struggling to pay energy bills.
  • Deliver more than 17,000 energy efficient fridges and televisions to low-income households through the Appliance Replacement Offer.
  • Deliver more than $8 million worth of energy efficiency upgrades to 2,800 social housing properties across the state.
  • Save small businesses up to $1,900 on their yearly bill through discounts on equipment upgrades.

Improving apprenticeships completion rates

  • Support the development of skills, workplace experience and formal accreditation, including achieving an apprenticeship completion rate of 65 per cent or higher in key industry sectors across the region, working with NSW Apprenticeship COMPACT members, trialling pilot apprentice programs and investing in part qualification training.

Promoting fossicking tourism in the region

  • Support regional tourism through the declaration of fossicking districts across the state. Fossicking is a popular recreational activity, contributing approximately $20 million annually to regional economies across NSW. In 2017, Bland and Snowy Valleys were gazetted as fossicking districts.

Improving the efficiency and capacity of highways

  • Develop Regional Transport Corridor plans for the Sturt and Olympic highways, Kidman Way and Irrigation Way corridors.
  • Complete the Regional Road Corridor strategies for Newell Highway and Tumut to Hume corridors.

Using new technology to improve transport efficiency and innovation in regional NSW

  • Local innovators and industry leaders will be invited to collaborate with the NSW Government’s Smart Innovation Centre to trial automated vehicles in regional NSW.
  • Trial On Demand public transport for regional NSW. Industry and regional transport operators will be invited to partner with the NSW Government in the trials.

Wagga Wagga Train Station

Delivering infrastructure 

Delivering essential infrastructure

Deliver key transport, health and community infrastructure to address the current and future needs of Riverina Murray. This includes:

  • upgrading the Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital
  • constructing the Barham Multipurpose Service that provides more than $1.3 million for water security for Rankins Spring and Narrandera
  • providing more than $5 million for new sewerage systems for Lake Wyangan, Nericon, Tharbogang, San Isidore and Wamoon.

Improving education results and growing healthy kids

Continuing to improve education results

Improve NAPLAN results by focussing on literacy and numeracy. This includes:

  • delivering $332 million across the state for early childhood education and preschools from 2018 to 2022 under Start Strong
  • providing $48.7 million for government schools in Riverina Murray via the 2018 Resource Allocation Model, giving principals flexibility to direct funding to local school and individual student needs to improve learning outcomes for all their students.

Reducing childhood obesity through healthy eating and physical activity programs in schools

  • Reduce childhood obesity in the region by implementing the Make Healthy Normal social marketing campaign, Go4Fun, Munch & Move, Live Life Well @ School, Healthy School Canteens and the Get Healthy in Pregnancy Service.
  • Improve access to sporting activities for children in primary and high school by partnering with the National Rugby League. 

Helping kids get active

  • Invest $207 million over four years through the Active Kids Rebate. From 31 January 2018, parents will be able to claim up to $100 per school child, per calendar year, as a voucher to reduce the cost of sport registration or membership fees for after-school, weekend and structured fitness or physical activity. 

Kapooka Bridge

Protecting the vulnerable

Addressing domestic and family violence

Address domestic and family violence through a diverse range of support services and programs, with additional funding to expand programs. Support includes:

  • providing subsidised rent through Start Safely Private Rental Assistance for up to three years to those escaping domestic violence or at risk of homelessness
  • implementing Safer Pathway to assist victims and children with specialised case management and referral
  • implementing Safe Home for Life initiatives to ensure focus on each child’s experience
  • trialling What’s Your Plan?, a world-first program to improve compliance with Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders for Aboriginal defendants
  • targeting repeat offenders and expanding the Explore, Question, Understand, Investigate, Practice and Succeed (EQUIPS) program to reduce reoffending
  • applying the Practice Guide to Intervention to target higher risk domestic violence offenders already under Community Corrections supervision.

Reducing drug and alcohol use

Reduce drug and alcohol related crime, creating safer and more secure communities and providing more treatment services for people struggling with addiction through:

  • targeted programs and campaigns engaging the community and licensed venues
  • prioritising Albury Court as a future priority for the Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment program for defendants with drug and alcohol problems.

Protecting our kids to create better outcomes for children and families

  • Implement initiatives to create better outcomes for children and young people. These include the Targeted Early Intervention Program and Safe Home for Life reforms, which aim to increase face-to-face engagement with children at risk of harm. The effectiveness of programs will be monitored through the out-of-home care quality assurance framework and therapeutic specialist response.  

Reducing youth homelessness

Reduce youth homelessness and providing greater support to young people who are or at risk of homelessness. Supporting:

  • young people aged between 16-24 years who are at risk of homelessness gain safe and affordable private rental through the Rent Choice Youth program, and
  • young people aged between 12 -15 years to reconnect with their families or access long term accommodation through the Homeless Youth Assistance program.

Rebuilding strength in socially disadvantaged communities

Address social and economic disadvantage experienced by communities by:

  • reducing intergenerational disadvantage for social housing estate residents with a Place Plan in Griffith
  • improving social housing through the Social Housing Community Improvement Fund across 13 areas in the region, including in Albury, Leeton and Wagga Wagga.

Supporting the wellbeing and growth of our regional communities

Supporting strong local government

  • Joint Organisations will focus on issues that matter to regional communities such as building strong businesses, securing water supplies and improving transport, community infrastructure and services.

  • Expand our Local Government Skills Strategy to all NSW councils to improve skills for local government workers and increase job opportunities for young people and unemployed older workers.

The Rock

Protecting our environment and managing our land & water

Improving water security and quality

Secure a reliable water supply for the growing population and industries such as agriculture, food processing, manufacturing and mining, including:

  • the Water Security for Regions program
  • Aboriginal Water Initiative Program
  • Environmental Works and Measures Program
  • River Murray Works Project.

Preparing a Waterfront Management Strategy for the Murray River

  • Implement a Waterfront Management Strategy to promote sustainable development along the Murray River to ensure future generations are able to use and benefit from the river as people do today.

Protecting koalas

  • Across NSW, the NSW Government has delivered almost $800,000 worth of koala conservation projects through Saving our Species. This includes satellite tracking, creating habitats, community engagement and reducing threats such as dog attack and vehicles.
Published 16th March, 2018
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