THE state’s chief planner has backed-in Tamworth to become home to 100,000 people in the near future.
The NSW government’s top planner, Gary White, said Tamworth had opportunities brimming on its horizon which could see the city hold a sustainable six-figure population and the fillip for the country music capital would make for a “successful region”.
Mr White met with staff and elected officials from the region’s councils in Tamworth to discuss recent changes to legislation and challenges which lay ahead for New England, on Tuesday.
The deputy premier, John Barilaro, recently pegged Tamworth and Wagga Wagga as regional centres which should aim for populations of 100,000 and Mr White said nothing was standing the northern city’s way.
“You come into Tamworth today and you see a region that’s changed, we can see a regional city that’s responding to new opportunities coming its way,” Mr White said.
“New opportunities coming from agriculture, tourism, from education, I think Tamworth is very well-positioned to take up those opportunities.”
“[It’s] a very sought-after region.”
He said communication was key for regional towns which were growing or trying to expand.
“Communications and the internet are providing the ability for companies to relocate to country areas to set up their business and still communicate with the rest of the world,” he said.
“I think Tamworth should at least plan for how it gets towards a large population and if it gets up to 100,000, well, then that’s because it’s positioned itself and planned itself to go forward and take up those opportunities.”
The state government released nine regional plans last year in preparation for a growing NSW population.
Planning minister Anthony Roberts said the region, taking in everywhere from Quirindi to Tenterfield and Ebor to the Pilliga, would grow by about 14,000 people in the next 20 years.