THE NSW Government last week released the Central West and Orana Regional Plan, which provides a blueprint to guide planning and land use decisions over the next 20 years with a focus on priority growth sectors including transport and logistics, tourism and mining and renewable energy.
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.
"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," said Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts.
"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."
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," the Minister said.
"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.
"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."
The Central West and Orana Regional Plan is available from the Department of Planning and Environment website at <http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Plans-for-your-area/Regional-Plans/Central-West-and-Orana>.