Regional Development Australia, Central Coast (RDACC), has welcomed announcements in the recent State Budget regarding infrastructure funding across the Coast, but say that we need to start working as a region to attract critical, large-scale enabling infrastructure funding from State and Federal Governments.
RDACC Chair, Phil Walker, said regional leaders needed to provide a united voice to attract funding to drive economic development in terms of employment opportunities, access to quality facilities and services, and to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future.
“While it’s great to see money being allocated to improving infrastructure on the Coast, particularly $150m+ for road upgrades and $60m+ dedicated to redevelopment projects at Gosford and Wyong hospitals, these are mainly commitments to continue existing projects,” Walker said.
“What we really need to focus on as a region is proactively attracting funding for significant enabling projects that will ignite the Coast.”
RDACC CEO and Director for Regional Development, John Mouland, said it was important to work with Central Coast Council, local MPs and key regional stakeholders to develop a renewed Regional Infrastructure Priorities List and develop competitive business cases to viably compete with other regions for essential infrastructure funding.
“This process will also build on the recent regional collaboration efforts to identify key enabling projects for funding consideration under the $4.1b Snowy Hydro Scheme Legacy Fund for Regional NSW,” Mouland said.
“These projects include the Tuggerah Employment and Lifestyle Activation Precinct (and Food Innovation Centre), Somersby, the Mt Penang Employment Precinct and the Gosford Hospital Health, Education and Research Precinct.
“We also need to be focusing our efforts on transport linkage projects such as the fast rail and current M1 upgrades, and the NorthConnex initiative that will improve connectivity to metropolitan centres and the opportunities that these projects will provide to our entire community.”
Mr Mouland said the Coast had historically not received its fair share of funding, despite being one of the largest regional population centres in NSW.
“Although it is easy to blame all levels of government for this ongoing challenge, we need to learn from other successful regions that have decided to take a more collaborative approach,” he said.
“It’s time for our region to stop complaining, to put aside political agendas and individual ideologies and present a united voice on behalf of our 350,000 residents (forecasted to grow to 414,615 by 2036), to proactively attract the funding the residents of the Central Coast and our future generations deserve.”
Media release, Jun 20
Regional Development Australia, Central Coast