A diverse economy, healthy environment, vibrant communities and quality infrastructure underpin the strong future that lies ahead for the heart of NSW. Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, today launched the Central West and Orana Regional Plan – a blueprint that will guide planning and land use decisions for the 19 local government areas in the region over the next two decades.

    “The Central West and Orana lies at the centre of NSW, with access to all corners of the state and beyond, with 80 per cent of Australia’s population within 12 hours of Parkes by road or rail, ” Mr Roberts said. The plan shows how improved infrastructure will unlock access to growing consumer markets, grow and diversify the economy, and strengthen the connectivity between the region’s cities, centres and towns.

    “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. “The regional plans demonstrate that we have a strategic approach for our regional centres, as much as we do for the growth of Sydney.”

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    The plan 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, the region will have one of the most diverse regional economies in NSW.

    Mr Roberts said while mineral resources and agriculture were the biggest employment industries in the region, advances in technology would create more skilled jobs in the areas of health, education, tourism and renewable energy. “Improvements in technology will increase online access to education and health precincts can be created around hospitals in strategic centres like Dubbo”.

    NSW Government investments in the region have included:
    · $241.3 million for the Dubbo Base Hospital redevelopment
    · $60 million to upgrade Mudgee Hospital
    · $140 million towards the duplication of the LH Ford Bridge at Dubbo
    · $28 million towards the Bells Line of Road upgrade
    · $21 million for a five-staged potable water supply pipeline from Orange to Blayney and Carcoar Dam
    · $17 million for a potable water pipeline from Orange to Molong Dam, and from Molong to Cumnock and Yeoval
    · $2.5 million for the new Molong Ambulance Station
    · Establishment of Multi-Purpose Services at Molong, Coolah and Rylstone

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    “The region’s distinct natural landscapes – the agricultural hinterland of the Central West and the vast slopes and plains of the Orana natural landscapes – make it ripe for renewable energy generation,” Mr Roberts said. “There’s potential for wind farms in the Central West and solar farms in the Orana, and the NSW Government is working with the Commonwealth on a proposed bio-hub at Dubbo.

    “The Central West and Orana is home to some of the most diverse communities in NSW. Their distinctive character, unique attractions, and cultural events, attracts people from around the country to live and visit.”

    Upgrades to major roads and new infrastructure, new housing release areas such as North Orange, Shiralee, Kelso and South East Dubbo, developing regional design guidelines, and allowing more choice in housing types will help meet the needs of future residents, while still maintaining the existing qualities that make them unique.