Central West & Orana

The NSW Government is committed to supporting strong communities across the Central West & Orana. 

The Central West & Orana is proving to be an attractive alternative to Sydney for families and businesses.

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.

Regional service delivery priorities for the Central West & Orana

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.

Support young people into training and employment in Central West & Orana

State-wide target: To assist an estimated 750 young people each year into education, training or employment through Regional VET Pathways.

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.

Improve connectivity in Central West & Orana

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. 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 for the Central West & Orana, reducing blackspot locations, improving lives and potentially even saving them.

Deliver quality infrastructure in Central West & Orana

State-wide target: Local amenity 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 Central West & Orana 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.

A boost to BlazeAid helps fire recovery

After disaster ravages a region, the hard work begins. When fires hit western NSW in February 2017, communities, government and volunteers from BlazeAid banded together to rebuild.

A boost to BlazeAid helps fire recovery

Region overview

Located in the heart of NSW, the Central West & Orana is the second-largest region in the state. Aboriginal communities retain a strong link with the country and the region features diverse landscapes including the iconic Great Dividing Range.

The cities of Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo are supported by the growing centres of Lithgow, Parkes, Mudgee and Forbes. Agriculture is rich and varies from intensive and irrigated crops to extensive broad-acre cropping, and meat and wool production. The region is also home to mining and energy resources, including significant renewable energy potential.

Drivers – economic, social and environmental

Two distinct areas, the Central West and the Orana, are connected by transport, community and service networks. Mining and agriculture underpin the region’s economy, and technological advances are driving increased productivity. The mining sector is intensifying as new gold, silver and copper deposits are identified, as well as rare earth deposits in Dubbo and Condobolin. The region’s cities and towns provide many services as well as cultural, residential and industrial opportunities for the whole region.

The Orana location and climate make it ideal for using renewable energy with the development of solar energy in the west and wind farming in the east.

Increased visitor numbers are driving significant growth in tourism-related businesses and employment.

Economic growth and access to vital inter-regional and interstate transport connections are expected to increase freight volumes. Improvements in freight and passenger transport services will focus on highway upgrades, addressing freight pinch-points, upgrading air transport infrastructure and road network maintenance. Additionally, the proposed inland rail is planned to run through the region.

The proportion of people aged above 65 years will increase from 19 per cent, as of 2016, to 25 per cent in 2036. More people, especially from the Aboriginal community, will be living with chronic illness. Access to health care services is a priority. Investment in hospital infrastructure, a skilled health workforce and innovative service delivery models tailored for rural communities will meet these growing health needs.

The Central West & Orana is proving to be an attractive alternative to Sydney for families and businesses. The region’s population is expected to grow by 8 per cent to 309,000 by 2036, requiring an additional 15,900 homes. Improved transport links, access to high-speed broadband, the relaxed and beautiful rural lifestyle, a high standard of health, education and cultural services are all strong incentives for families to relocate to the region.

Tree in field

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 $1.7 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 skills development to improve pathways to employment

  • Help students to transition to university, leading to better employment outcomes through a partnership with TAFE NSW and Charles Sturt University.
  • Mentor 15 to 19 year olds who have disengaged from learning, providing good career advice and connecting them to jobs and training through the Regional VET Pathways program.
  • Deliver the Indigenous Police Recruitment Our Way Delivery (IPROWD) training program to help Aboriginal people enter the police force.
  • Deliver the Coonabarabran Connected Learning Centre so students across the area can access courses.
  • Establish the Dubbo SkillsPoint where local employers help design the courses people need to get jobs in the region.
  • Increase skill levels of workers in the grains and cotton industries in the region through AgSkilled, an initiative under Smart and Skilled.

Making it easier for business investment and innovation in the Central West and Orana

  • Develop a Food and Fibre strategy helping producers in the Central West take advantage of value added opportunities.
  • Support businesses to start and grow through the Business Connect program.
  • Launch the Global Ag-Tech Ecosystem (GATE) to fast-track research and development to agricultural producers and industry.
  • Deliver the Indigenous Entrepreneurship Pop-Up Innovation Hub and Bathurst Start Up Hub through the Boosting Business Innovation Program.

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 who are struggling to pay energy bills.
  • Deliver more than 17,000 energy efficient fridges and televisions to low-income households via the Appliance Replacement Offer.
  • Implement more than $8 million worth of energy efficiency upgrades to 2,800 social housing properties across the state.
  • Provide discounts on equipment upgrades allowing each small business to save up to $1,900 on their yearly bill.

Promoting fossicking tourism in the region

  • Support regional tourism by declaring fossicking districts across the state. Fossicking is a popular recreational activity, contributing approximately $20 million annually to regional economies across NSW. In 2017, Mid-Western Regional, Cabonne and Blayney local government areas were gazetted as fossicking districts.

Keeping resources investment in the region

  • The Cooperative Drilling program ensures that valuable investment in mineral exploration in NSW is not lost to other places in Australia. The program has seen the discovery of potentially significant mineral deposits and attracted additional investment into regional NSW. The successful Mendooran drilling project provides a better understanding of NSW’s coal resources.

Supporting geological mapping

  • The Central West is now part of the NSW Seamless Geology project, which brings together the best available geological mapping and can be used for better land use planning. The successful Coonabarabran geophysical survey provides new geological and geographic information, which is being used to promote geotourism in the region.

Improving the efficiency and capacity of our road networks

  • Improve road safety, providing additional capacity and, where needed, ensuring key regional roads provide safe, efficient and reliable travel for freight and travellers.
  • Develop Regional Transport Corridor plans for the Castlereagh Highway and the Great Western Highway (including part of the Mitchell Highway), Jenolan Caves Road and the Lachlan Valley Way corridor.

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. We are also trialling On Demand public transport for regional NSW. Industry and regional transport operators will be invited to partner with the NSW Government in the trials.
Burrendong Dam

Delivering infrastructure

Delivering essential infrastructure

  • Deliver stage 3 and 4 of the $150 million Dubbo Hospital redevelopment.
  • Deliver a $104 million upgrade to the Great Western Highway at Kelso.

Improving education results and growing healthy kids

Reducing childhood obesity through physical activity and healthy eating

  • Implement the Make Healthy Normal social marketing campaign, Munch and Move, Live Life Well @ School, Healthy School Canteens programs and the Get Healthy in Pregnancy Service.
  • Continue the partnership with the National Rugby League.
  • Support Aboriginal families to develop cooking and nutrition skills through the Marang Dhali Eating Well program.

Continuing to improve education results

  • Deliver $332 million across the state for early childhood education and preschools, from 2018 to 2022 as part of the Start Strong program.
  • Deliver $65.4 million for government schools in the Central West and Orana under 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.

Revitalising, reclaiming and maintaining traditional languages

  • Provide $4.4 million over three years for five Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests in NSW that support literacy and numeracy outcomes for Aboriginal students, delivering a Nest to Dubbo.

Helping kids get active

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

Protecting the vulnerable

Addressing domestic and family violence

  • Provide subsidised rent through Start Safely Private Rental Assistance for up to three years to those escaping domestic violence or at risk of homelessness.
  • Implement Safer Pathway to assist victims and children with specialised case management and referral.
  • Trial What’s Your Plan?, a world-first program to improve compliance with Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders for Aboriginal defendants.
  • Target repeat offenders and expanding the Explore, Question, Understand, Investigate, Practice and Succeed (EQUIPS) program to reduce reoffending.
  • Apply the Practice Guide to Intervention to target higher risk domestic violence offenders already under Community Corrections supervision.
  • Establish High Intensity Programs Units at Wellington Correctional Centre to reduce reoffending rates of targeted inmates with custodial sentences of less than six months.

Rebuilding strength in socially disadvantaged communities

  • Improve social housing through the Social Housing Community Improvement Fund across 12 areas in the region, including Bathurst, Dubbo and Orange.

Reducing reoffending

  • Start the Extra Offender Management Service and Local Coordinated Multiagency offender management program in Dubbo to reduce persistent reoffending.
  • Provide the Rural Residential Adolescent Alcohol and Other Drugs Rehabilitation Program in Dubbo giving intensive rehabilitation to Juvenile Justice clients, with alcohol and drug use and other offending behaviour.

Supporting the wellbeing and growth of our regional communities

Supporting strong local government

Transform local government to ensure communities benefit from modern customer-facing councils to provide better value for ratepayers by:

  • Announcing legislation to allow councils in regional NSW to voluntarily join Joint Organisations. 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 the Local Government Skills Strategy to encompass all NSW councils, to help improve skills for local government workers and increase job opportunities for young people and unemployed older workers.

Welcoming people from different cultural backgrounds

  • Provide a voice for new community members on multicultural matters, and an opportunity for representation and engagement through the Regional Advisory Council.

Improving economic, social and cultural outcomes with the Aboriginal community

  • Continue to work with Aboriginal communities in the region to ensure their meaningful input into decisions that affect their lives.
  • Negotiate an accord with the Three Rivers Regional Assembly to support the NSW Government’s commitment to deliver services better suited to the needs of Aboriginal communities.
  • Support Local Aboriginal Land Councils to strategically assess their land to identify opportunities for housing, employment and other uses.
Grasslands at Mudgee

Protecting our environment and managing our land & water

Improving water security

  • Invest more than $11 million to improve sewerage services for Wyangala, under the Country Towns Water Supply and Sewerage Program.
  • Provide water security funding for a dam feasibility project in the Warrumbungles.

Better managing the floodplain

  • Ensure the best outcomes for floodplain works through our Barwon-Darling Floodplain Management Plan.
  • This plan is pivotal to helping with licensing flood works, rules determining allowable works and criteria for assessing impacts to protect the floodplain environment.

Protecting koalas

  • Deliver nearly $800,000 worth of koala conservation projects through Saving our Species across NSW, including satellite tracking, creating habitats, community engagement and reducing threats such as dog attack and vehicles.
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