Goulburn: the first inland city governments forgot

Our first inland city wants a slice of the growth pie

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Goulburn Mulwaree mayor Bob Kirk has urged the NSW Government to back up his city's future needs with real decisions on schools, roads and jobs.

Goulburn Mulwaree mayor Bob Kirk has urged the NSW Government to back up his city's future needs with real decisions on schools, roads and jobs.

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Pressure for housing on ag land to grow

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Queen Victoria declared it Australia's first inland city way back in 1863, but many may wonder what happened to Goulburn's growth ?

Goulburn Mulwaree mayor Bob Kirk is on a mission to get Goulburn back on the development map.

Quite often, Wagga Wagga, Tamworth, Dubbo and Albury are paraded as the big inland centres in NSW, and Goulburn rarely gets a mention despite strong rail and road links. It is also surrounded by prime agricultural land and a multitude of rural pursuits.

Its population just nudges 30,000. The council says it actually will need 3000 new homes by 2040 - so that will mean at least 10,000 extra people. That's a city on the move.

As the exodus to the regions grows, Goulburn is under housing pressure, not just from people pushed out of Canberra's expensive housing market, but also from Sydney treechangers. Already about 1000 Goulburn residents commute to Canberra by road each working day, the council estimates.

Inevitably, the demand for new housing needs to be met, and Councillor Kirk and his council put together a future plan to the NSW Government, detailing how 3000 homes will be needed in the next 20 years.

But in a letter to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Cr Kirk has highlighted how the state government has no plan for extra schools, better roads and more jobs for Goulburn.

Inevitably, the urban crawl will head into farm land on Goulburn's northern outskirts. Some land has already been set aside for residential lots on council owned land on the Taralga Road. But that will be a small part of any major development in the future.

Cr Kirk says Goulburn has lost a number of major employment providers - state road and rail hubs have been diluted over the decades.

"We completed a housing strategy for the Government and told them we will need 3000 new homes for Goulburn and 500 for Marulan in the next 20 years," he said.

"This will mean 10,000 to 12,000 more people in the region," he said. "We've identified where Goulburn's housing growth will occur, and it will be to the north, in an area that is mainly small working farms at the moment. At some stage that agricultural land will turned into residential, but there are many hurdles to get through.

"Although we have provided that to the government we have not had any direction on how they will provide the new schools and upgrade the roads. So I've written to the Premier about it. All those existing schools up the north of Goulburn are full at the moment.

"We also need to know where the jobs will come from in the future. We need more employment creating businesses in Goulburn - we have lost so many over the years. All these things are creeping up on us and we just want to be ready for the growth (there's been about 1.5 per cent growth in each of the last 10 years). We are also getting a huge influx of people from Sydney and Canberra."

Cr Kirk said the existing southern rail line through Goulburn put businesses in a perfect position.

He'd given up on seeing the often touted very fast train rail link between Sydney and Canberra being built.

"All we want is a faster train," he said.

The council has also sent a submission to the NSW Agriculture Commissioner Daryl Quinlivan who is investigating how planning laws and the powers of council can be better regulated and improved.

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