The infrastructure needs of the state over the next 20 years have been set out in the latest State Infrastructure Strategy, recognising the key role of regional connectivity - be it road, rail or digital - in strengthening the state's economy.
However, we are not impressed with the recommendations to press pause on megaprojects including a Great Western Highway tunnel, as well as several dams.
The strategy recognises the ambitious need to accommodate a growing economy and population over the next 20 years.
Regional NSW is the solution to several megatrend challenges facing the state, such as housing affordability and economic opportunity.
Regional areas cannot be considered as an afterthought.
Regional areas are growing, with record migration away from capital cities accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Road and health infrastructure must be prioritised to engender long-term population growth and a high quality of living in regional areas.
With the high uptake of digital service delivery, another trend fast-tracked by the pandemic, it is promising to see the strategy recognise telecommunications infrastructure as a key investment area.
Research by the Australian Farm Institute shows how disruptive technology could be for agriculture, with full adoption estimated to be worth $20.3 billion to the national sector.
The Great Western Highway is the main conduit linking the Central West and Sydney, and its upgrade is heavily tied to the value-add opportunities in western Sydney, as well as the new Western Sydney Airport.
According to a ground-breaking report commissioned by the Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre, value-add innovation opens a $50 billion opportunity for food and agribusiness in NSW..
We urge the continuation of the Great Western Highway upgrade.
Every minute counts when it comes to transporting fresh agricultural produce.
Commodity prices are strong, but to encourage the investment required to reach our $30 billion by 2030 target, we need world class infrastructure. This strategy is a good start.
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