5 November, 2018 – Following the August release of the 20-year Economic Vision for Regional NSW, the state government has named five infrastructure priorities that the $4.2 billion Snowy Hydro sale will fund.
As drought continues to grip most of the state it comes as no surprise that water security tops the list with the Hunter, Gwydir, Macquarie, Lachlan, Richmond and Bega all identified as priority catchments. While not naming specific projects or initiatives, the government says water security will be bolstered by policy improvements and infrastructure solutions.
Passenger transport connections features on the list with work to be done to explore opportunities for investing in road and rail infrastructure to improve travel between regional centres and to metropolitan areas.
In recognition of the opportunity the national Inland Rail project presents, the government has also listed improving freight linkages as a priority with focus to centre on improving regional freight networks to global gateways and the development of an air freight hub in regional NSW to increase exports, particularly for producers of fresh food and perishable goods.
Importantly the list also considers digital infrastructure and connectivity with the Fund set to explore innovative technologies to improve liveability, productivity and innovation in regional NSW. Business cases will examine regional data hubs, high-capacity ‘backbone’ data links to Sydney, and improved connectivity and data access for businesses, according to the government.
Rounding out the list is the commitment to make more regional centres attractive locations for increased business development through considered infrastructure investment, land supply and streamlined planning approvals with the Parkes Special Activation Precinct seen as test case for the new model of industry activation.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, John Barilaro, described the 20-year Economic Vision for Regional NSW and the $4.2 billion Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund as a once-in-a-lifetime investment for regional NSW.
“These are big-picture projects that generations before us have dreamed of and generations that follow us will benefit from,” Mr Barilaro said.
“This fund will ensure regional NSW continues to receive the investment it needs to make our regions a great place to live, raise a family, start a business or visit.”