Regional NSW is missing out on crucial measures to repopulate ailing regions, according to Foundation for Regional Development chief executive officer Peter Bailey, Armidale.
He said Premier Mike Baird should lead a round-table summit to create new strategies encouraging people to move out of the "sardine tin" Mr Bailey calls Sydney.
Mr Bailey said government was missing its own decentralisation targets.
"The state was to have a decade of decentralisation with a goal of an extra 470,000 people in regional NSW by 2036, but we are failing that goal and target dismally."
A Department of Industry spokesman said the NSW government had an ongoing and strong focus on job creation efforts in regional NSW, including through allocating 30 per cent of both the $20 billion Rebuilding NSW infrastructure program and the $190 million jobs for NSW fund to regional NSW.
Mr Bailey said the fundamental problem was the government had no plan.
"It has done great jobs in building new hospitals, schools, roads.
"We have seen more hospitals created in the past five years than in the previous 20, but the growth of Sydney hasn't slowed, nor has the increase in growth in regional areas."
The creation of a regional marketing fund had been a talking point for the past 10 years, according to Mr Bailey, so a round-table summit would enable discussion of new policies and initiatives.
He said country areas were losing a state parliamentary seat every eight years.
"Both state and federal seats are continually being lost from country NSW."
Since the last election seven months ago the Regional Industry Infrastructure Fund was abolished although, according to Mr Bailey, there was an announcement prior to the election that extra money would be added.
"The scheme was abolished eight weeks after the election," he said.
"And now every program in the department of regional development has been abolished to create a new initiative called JobsNSW.
"But the guidelines for this new department would not be available until November."
Mr Bailey said it's about the creation of jobs, but asked "where?"
The Department of Industry spokesman said while the $10,000 Skilled Regional Relocation Scheme concluded on March 31 this year people who relocated under the scheme had until September 30 to lodge their application with the Office of State Revenue (OSR).
"OSR had approved 1333 applications by October 1 and another 423 were currently being assessed," he said.
Top destinations for professionals making the move from?Sydney were Central West/Orana with 344 grants provided, followed by North Coast with 304, and Murray-Murru-mbidgee with 174.
"Around the same time the Skilled Regional Relocation Scheme expired the government extended its $5000 payroll tax rebates under the Jobs Action Plan for an additional four years," the spokesman said.
"It is important to note in the same period the Skilled Regional Relocation Scheme was in place and attracted about 1750 applications, the Jobs Action Plan scheme helped to support more than 16,000 new jobs in regional NSW.
"Further, as many small businesses do not pay payroll tax, the government also introduced, from July 1 2015, a new $2000 Small Business Grant to encourage small businesses to create new jobs."
Local Government NSW president Keith Rhoades said regional NSW was home to more than 40pc of the state's population and contributed roughly one-third of the state's gross product, making it a critical component of the NSW economy.
"The Skilled Regional Relocation Incentive scheme provided more than 4400 grants from 2011 to September 2014 as part of the government's strategy to encourage skilled people to relocate to regional locations and boost regional and rural economies," Mr Rhoades said.
"However, it's important the government continues to recognise the challenges and issues faced by regional communities."
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