Message from the Executive Director – Julia Andrews

Julia AndrewsRegional Development is a long term game.

While at RDA Central West we have a suite of fantastic short-term projects we work towards achieving every year, we keep our eye on our long term goal – a sustainable, prosperous, smart Central West in which people choose to live, work and invest.

In the past few weeks there has been much talk in the media about population growth. In a major report, Infrastructure Australia recently claimed that unless all levels of ­government address “unplanned growth”, the major cities’ global liveability ranking will begin to fall, with poorer access to jobs, schools, housing, and green space. The 2016 Australian Infrastructure Plan that preceded this report stated that opportunity exists to ease the pressure on our larger cities by growing the populations of the smaller ones.

At RDA Central West,  we believe that decentralisation and policies focussing on jobs and infrastructure for regional areas must form a significant part of the national strategy to combat the dire consequences of the unprecedented population growth in metropolitan cities over the next 30 years. Regional Australia should be seen as significant part of the solution to projected metropolitan population growth.

Here in Central West NSW, we have a proven track record of successful relocation. The Central Mapping Authority moved to Bathurst over 40 years ago, the Department of Primary Industries to Orange twenty-five years ago, and the RTA (now RMA) established its Western Region Headquarters in Parkes twenty-seven years ago. All these relocations have been beneficial to both the region and the agency.”

Strategic decentralisation not only benefits regional communities, but also provides new opportunities for the government bodies to create greater synergies and better partnerships, and leverage regionally based expertise. It’s about time Regional Australia was seen as part of the solution rather than the poor country cousin.

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