Fresh Focus For Our Regions


The NSW Government has today announced changes to the way the Government will serve regional communities, with an enhanced focus on protecting biosecurity, supporting agriculture, fisheries, forestry and mining as well as broader regional development.

From 1 July, 2024, the Department of Regional NSW will be re-named the NSW Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. This reflects the twin objectives of growing our primary industries through greater focus on extension services, research and development and supporting regional economic development.

As part of the renewed focus there will also be a change in leadership of the new department.

Rebecca Fox will depart the role of Secretary after almost a decade serving the community in various senior roles in NSW Government. This included guiding the Department of Regional NSW through a period of consolidation and increased focus on delivery for regional communities and primary industries.

The incoming Secretary will be current Chief Executive Officer Local Land Services, Steve Orr, who has had a long and accomplished career serving the community in leadership roles in regional coordination and development, primary industries and local government.

These changes will create two new divisions within the Department, each with Deputy Secretaries reporting directly to the Secretary.

Agriculture and Biosecurity will be grouped to support the delivery of the Independent Commissioners for Agriculture and Biosecurity and reflects the interrelationship between the protection and productivity of our primary industries sector and the environment.

Fisheries and Forestry will also be combined to reflect the common natural resource management issues and the need for the long-term sustainable management and productivity of our state’s fisheries, marine estate and forests.

Regional economic development focused on regional industries and employment will remain firmly rooted in the new department, with broader Regional Coordination functions returning to the NSW Premier’s Department.

The return of Regional Coordination to the Premier’s Department emphasises the Premier and the Minister’s commitment to whole-of-government coordination for regional communities.

Regional Coordination teams will remain based in their current six regions ensuring the voices and needs of regional communities are at the centre of both government and the NSW public service.

These teams will continue to work with all government agencies, local councils, community and industry partners to coordinate and drive major projects and to address some of the longer-term, complex issues affecting regional communities.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said:

“These changes are an important reflection of the NSW Government’s commitment to supporting regional communities thrive, and the addition of regional coordination roles to the Premier’s department will ensure a whole of government approach is taken.

“I know that New South Wales does not thrive if our agricultural industry and regional communities are not thriving. I am committed to continuing to invest in and work with our regions to make sure that happens.”

Minister for Agriculture and Regional NSW Tara Moriarty said:

“These changes will set a course for the future, firmly focused on using an evidence-based approach to ensure funding, programmes and economic support goes where it is needed and generates the most benefits.

“Under new leadership, the department will now focus on our key priorities of protecting, supporting, and developing regional NSW. The focus on biosecurity and agriculture will be boosted and the roll out of the new $350 million Regional Development Trust and the review of the Reginal Development Act will be elevated.

“I am looking forward to working alongside Steve Orr in his new role as Secretary.

“Steve is highly respected across rural and regional communities throughout NSW and will bring his considerable experience and knowledge along with a new focus on the pressing needs of the regions.”

/Public Release. View in full here.