A State Government push to boost the population of regional NSW by nearly half a million people needs an overhaul, the head of the Foundation for Regional Development has said.
A State Government push to boost the population of regional NSW by nearly half a million people needs an overhaul, the head of the Foundation for Regional Development has said. Contributed

Regional NSW losing race

A MAJOR State Government strategy that aims to create jobs and improve opportunities in regional areas needs "major surgery" before it can be successful, according to the chief executive of the Foundation for Regional Development.

Peter Bailey has told a taskforce, which is reviewing the Decade of Decentralisation strategy, that many parts are "unnecessarily bureaucratic".

The policy aims to encourage more people to live in regional areas, create more jobs and initiate long-term projects in rural and regional locations.

In November last year the Decentralisation Taskforce was appointed to review the strategy.

Mr Bailey has told the taskforce that a number of changes need to be made.

He is calling for the $7000 relocation allowance to be tweaked so that it included Sydney renters who relocate and buy or build in a designated regional area.

"The State Government's bold target of an extra 470,000 (people living in regional areas) will not be achieved by 2036 as stated," he said. "It is likely to be missed by 230,000 unless changes are made," he said.

"The target needs to broken down regionally ... and then each region needs to then work with councils to develop local targets.

"It is only by engaging with the regions and the councils that we can achieve targets such as these.

"NSW's regional growth rate is now one-third of the growth rate in regional Victoria and Queensland.

"Victoria in particular has grown significantly in the last nine years on the back of a long-term marketing campaign. This is why we need to fund the creation of a regional marketing fund for NSW.

"People won't move if they don't know."



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