With the Inland Rail coming to Parkes within the next 10 years, the NSW Government has launched a blueprint that will guide planning and land use decisions for the region.
NSW Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts was in Parkes last Wednesday, along with the mayors and deputy mayors from Parkes, Forbes, Lachlan and Warren, Western NSW Parliamentary Secretary Rick Colless and Department of Planning and Environment chief planner Gary White.
Together at the National Logistics Hub, they launched the Central West and Orana Regional Plan to guide the 19 local government areas in the region over the next two decades.
“It’s exciting to see the councils put aside their differences and their differences with the state government from the past and come together to ask where are we going to go,” Mr Roberts said.
The plan – detailed in a 76-page booklet with 29 directions – shows how improved infrastructure will unlock access to growing consumer markets, grow and diversify economies, and strengthen the connectivity between the region’s cities, centres and towns.
It identifies five priority growth sectors including transport and logistics, agribusiness and value-added manufacturing, tourism, mining and renewable energy and a growing service sector.
By 2036, it is expected the region will have one of the most diverse regional economies in NSW.
“Ongoing upgrades to the transport and freight networks and planned future developments, such as Western Sydney Airport and the proposed Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail, will help the region prosper,” Mr Roberts said.
“The regional plans demonstrate that we have a strategic approach for our regional centres, as much as we do for the growth of Sydney.”
Mr Roberts said the focus is to get people out of the city and into regional areas.
“Sydney’s population will increase by two million people in 20 years,” he said.
“This plan is about ensuring our kids have jobs and not losing them to Sydney, and the focus is on how do we develop more jobs and skilled jobs.
“With a good mix of industries – medical and health, and education on top of mining, agriculture and tourism – you can actually drought proof regions.
“If we don’t start working together, small towns start to disappear.
“This is it, here’s the plan, here’s the directions...so they (towns) become great places to live.”
Forbes mayor Graeme Miller said the plan was a long time coming.
“We’ve wanted for a long time to become a regional centre,” he said.
“This is going to be a very, very great template for us to work together.”