AS THE state government begins to lay out their 20-year plan for the entire region, residents are being urged to have their say.
“I really want to encourage not just councils, but businesses, community organisations and individuals to at least take a look at the draft plan because it charts out the growth predictions for our region, the demands on health services, policing, infrastructure, roads, transport - the full ambit of state government services, infrastructure, responsibilities,” member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said.
The draft, which covers Armidale, Glen Innes Severn, Gunnedah, Gwydir, Inverell, Liverpool Plains, Moree Plains, Narrabri, Tamworth, Tenterfield, Uralla and Walcha, is the NSW government’s blueprint for the entire region for the next two decades.
As Tamworth and Armidale continue to grow, they have been recognised as regional cities for the first time. Inverell has also emerged as an important area for the region as its third largest community.
Mr Marshall said the plan’s recognition of growth was essential in mounting arguments to the government for improved services. He said he couldn’t over-emphasise the importance of the plan for the region.
“It really does paint a very positive picture about our region, and that’s important, because growing regions, vibrant regions, are regions which attract a lot of government investment,” he said.
“The draft plan outlines a 20-year vision for the region’s sustainable future that maximises the advantages of the area’s diverse climates, landscapes and resources, to create great places to live and a strong and diverse regional economy,” Department of Planning and Environment media officer Mitchell Compton said.
The plan focuses on five goals, which include growing the economy through agricultural and renewable energy, providing more jobs and greater housing choices, and protecting water, environment and heritage.
“Aside from planning for the future, it’s actually a very interesting document, that goes into very fine detail about the breakdown of how our region is composed from a social perspective (and) an economic perspective,” Mr Marshall said.
Locals can view and comment on the plan at www.planning.nsw.gov.au/NewEngland-NorthWest, or by visiting the region’s council websites. Submissions and feedback are open until March 20.