South East & Tablelands

Characterised by scenic rural landscapes and coastal scenery, the South East & Tablelands is supported by strong tourism and agriculture industries. 

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 South East & Tablelands

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 South East & Tablelands

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

Regional NSW often faces higher rates of youth unemployment when compared to Sydney. The Regional VET Pathways initiative supports young people aged 15-19 to find 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. Regional NSW often faces higher rates of youth unemployment when compared to Sydney.

Support student wellbeing in South East & Tablelands schools

State-wide target: 100 per cent of schools to have school counselling services by January 2019.

School counselling services can improve student mental health, as well as attendance, graduation rates and reduce discipline issues.

The Supported Students, Successful Students initiative will provide South East & Tablelands schools with new counselling and psychology services, more wellbeing services and graduate scholarships to recruit more school counsellors.

Improve connectivity in South East & Tablelands

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 South East & Tablelands, reducing blackspot locations, improving lives and potentially even saving them.

Works underway

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

Seamless care for people in the Snowy Mountains

Good health care involves treating the whole person. For residents in the Snowy Mountains, the new Jindabyne HealthOne facility is bringing their health services together under one roof.

Jindabyne HealthOne: Seamless care for people in the Snowy Mountains

Bringing health back to the Bega Valley

Living in the country has sometimes meant going further for essential services. Residents are now enjoying state-of-the-art healthcare made available by the biggest infrastructure project ever in the Bega Valley Shire.

Bringing health back to the Bega Valley

Region overview

The South East & Tablelands was home to more than 273,000 people in 2016, extending from the Southern Highlands and Tablelands in the north to the Victorian border in the south. The region has close links to the Australian Capital Territory and incorporates the Snowy Mountains, Hilltops and the Far South Coast. Major town centres include Bega, Cooma, Goulburn, Queanbeyan and Young, while historic towns and villages such as Braidwood and Tilba offer unique cultural and lifestyle experiences for visitors and residents.

Drivers – economic, social and environmental

Characterised by scenic rural landscapes and spectacular coastal scenery, the region is supported by strong tourism and agriculture industries and a large renewable energy sector. The Tablelands is an agriculturally rich area comprising farming and horticulture industries.

Primary industries including dairy and aquaculture are key economic drivers for the region with new exciting export opportunities arising in the Asia-Pacific region.

The south east is also becoming a centre of renewable energy excellence, underpinned by significant investment in the Snowy Hydro Scheme and the establishment of wind and solar farms across the region.

The tourism and events sector is driving economic growth and activities in the Snowy Mountains, with a continued focus on the creation of new alpine experiences in both the summer and winter seasons. The Port of Eden redevelopment will support tourism industry growth by creating opportunities to accommodate cruise ships and associated industries.

The ongoing expansion of Canberra Airport will open up new freight and export markets for the region’s producers and support increased overseas tourist visitation to pristine areas all along the South Coast and the Snowy Mountains.

The region’s population is growing, driven by its proximity to Canberra and Sydney and employment opportunities in these capitals. Inland areas are projected to experience the largest increases. Notably the Bega Valley, Eurobodalla and Wingecarribee Shires have ageing populations with approximately a quarter of people aged above 65 years. As the population continues to age, there will be increased demand on health and aged care services, which will create employment and training opportunities in these sectors.

A strong characteristic of the region is its network of untamed, picturesque national parks, including Ben Boyd, Monga and Kosciuszko. The ongoing preservation of the natural environment and cultural heritage will help maintain the region’s distinct identity and support the development of eco-tourism opportunities in South East & Tablelands.

Batemans Bay boats

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 regions

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

Creating jobs and growing the regional economy

Strengthening and growing the agricultural and aquaculture sectors

  • Provide assistance to build export capacity, develop products for international markets and undertake marketing to ensure ongoing success, by taking advantage of direct international flights into Canberra Airport.
  • Support businesses to start and grow through the Business Connect program.
  • Strengthen community resilience in the agricultural sector through the Rural Resilience Program.

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

  • Our energy affordability package includes a low-income household rebate of $285 and a Family Energy Rebate of $180 to support approximately 900,000 customers across NSW struggling to pay energy bills. The Appliance Replacement Offer has delivered more than 17,000 energy efficient fridges and televisions to low income households. More than $8 million worth of energy efficiency upgrades to 2,800 social housing properties across the state will be implemented. Discounts on equipment upgrades for small business will save up to $1,900 on the yearly bill for each business. 

Delivering training and employment for the health, aged care, disability and community services sector

  • Partner with industry to develop education and training pathways as well as flexible training and education options for young people, the unemployed and Aboriginal people, in the growing health, aged care, disability and community services sectors.
  • Work with industry and business via the SkillsPoint program to design TAFE NSW training that looks to the future and responds to emerging trends in the region for the health, wellbeing and community services sector in Queanbeyan.

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.

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, Bega Valley, Eurobodalla and Goulburn Mulwaree local government areas were gazetted as fossicking districts.

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.
Shops at Narooma

Delivering infrastructure

Growing tourism opportunities

  • Pursue opportunities with the tourism sector to develop products that promote year-round tourism across the region including food and wine in the Hilltops, adventure sports in the Snowy Mountains and nature-based experiences on the South Coast.

Improving the way infrastructure supports tourism to our coast

  • Work with local councils to develop a Southern NSW Marine Tourism Strategy to increase the number of tourists visiting southern NSW through improved marine infrastructure from Wollongong to the Port of Eden.

Delivering essential infrastructure

  • Construct the $44 million Breakwater Wharf Extension and Eden Wave Attenuator in Eden.
  • Provide a $9.9 million upgrade for the Merimbula and Moruya Airports.
  • Build a new distance education school as part of the Queanbeyan Regional Education Hub.

Improving infrastructure connectivity and transport linkages

  • Improve safety and providing additional capacity where needed, ensuring key regional roads provide safe, efficient and reliable travel, for freight and travellers.
  • Develop Regional Transport Corridor plans for the Hume and Kings highways, Lachlan Valley Way and Burley Griffin Way.
  • Complete Regional Road Corridor strategies for the Princes and Barton highways.

Improving recreational opportunities in national parks

  • Provide world-class mountain biking, fishing and hiking opportunities, by continuing to improve tracks and trails in Kosciuszko National Park and planning to redevelop the Main Range walking trail system.

Improving the way infrastructure supports tourism to our coast

  • Work with local councils to develop a Southern NSW Marine Tourism Strategy to increase the number of tourist visiting southern NSW through improved marine infrastructure from Wollongong to the Port of Eden.

Improving education results and growing healthy kids

Continuing to improve education results

  • Deliver $332 million in funding under Start Strong across the state for early childhood education and preschools from 2017 to 2021.
  • Implement the 2017 Resource Allocation Model that provides $33.5 million for government schools in the South East and Tablelands, giving principals flexibility to direct funding to local school and individual student needs to improve learning outcomes. Several initiatives support this, including piloting the Engage with Life and Learning Eurobodalla initiative to provide early education support.

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

Reducing youth homelessness

  • Support young people aged between 16-24 years who are at risk of homelessness to gain safe and affordable private rental through the Rent Choice Youth program.
  • Assist 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

  • Reduce intergenerational disadvantage for social housing estate residents with the A Place Plan in Eden program across 16 areas in the region, including in Eden, Goulburn and Queanbeyan.
  • Improve social housing through the Social Housing Community Improvement Fund.

Supporting the wellbeing and growth of our regional communities

Supporting strong local government

  • Joint Organisations 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.
Braidwood main street

Protecting our environment and managing our land & water

Detecting and deterring sharks at Far South Coast beaches

  • Continue the implementation of the Shark Management Strategy including regular helicopter surveillance flights from South Wollongong to Moruya and Twofold Bay at Eden to Bega River over the Christmas and Easter school holidays.
  • Commence shark listening stations to detect tagged sharks at Mollymook and Batemans Bay.
  • Encourage the community to use the SharkSmart mobile app and Twitter which report shark sightings in real time.

Protecting our coasts from erosion

  • The $83.6 million Coastal Management state wide reform provides support to local councils to address coastal erosion, estuary health and floodplain management risks for their communities through the Coastal and Estuary grants program and the Floodplain Management grants program.

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.
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