NSW Government invests $35 million in regional development


The NSW Government is today announcing the first $35 million funding allocation, from the $350 million Regional Development Trust which will support a package of initiatives to boost the long-term resilience of regional NSW, with a focus on job creation and primary industry expansion.

Funded under the NSW Regional Development Trust, these projects have been guided by the Regional Development Advisory Council and informed by a number of roundtables with rural communities hosted by the Minister for Regional New South Wales, Tara Moriarty, across the state.

This process has ensured the transparency and integrity of the investments.

The initiatives announced today align with the 4 focus areas of the Regional Development Trust:

  • sustainable regional industries, including emerging and job creating industries
  • aboriginal economic development and enterprise
  • community infrastructure and capacity building
  • improving regional service delivery.

The $35 million package includes:

$15 million to improve rural and remote airstrips

Effective remote and Western NSW airstrips that are accessible all year round will increase economic development opportunities, plus the delivery of health care and emergency services to reach communities that would otherwise be required to travel long distances to access similar services.

The NSW Government has commenced an audit of remote and rural airstrips across 20 local government areas in Western NSW and will develop a rollout schedule, based on priority and need, that will be completed by September this year.

Following this, the NSW Government will commence the upgrades of airstrip and aerodrome related infrastructure and equipment improvements.

This investment will improve rural and remote communities’ access to critical services, businesses, essential workers and supplies particularly in the event of an emergency or natural disaster.

$10 million Western NSW Workforce Activation Package to establish, expand or upgrade Western NSW childcare

  • The Western NSW Workforce Activation Package will provide $10 million to establish, expand or upgrade early childhood and education care across 3 initial local government areas of Bourke, Broken Hill and Cobar.
  • This initiative is designed to increase the availability of long day care in regional areas.

    Co-designed with the early childhood sector, this is an innovative approach to strengthening the workforce in remote communities by addressing one of the barrier’s faced by parents looking to return to work in areas where there is little or no early childcare available.

  • Successful applicants must demonstrate that funded activities will increase their ability to offer additional childcare places.

$5 million to empower Aboriginal businesses

  • The Aboriginal Economic Development Package will support Aboriginal businesses and organisations to identify and execute commercial opportunities, leading to improved economic and employment outcomes.
  • The funding will assist eligible Aboriginal organisations and businesses to deliver projects that enable improved economic and employment outcomes – for example, upgrades to community-controlled facilities or the expansion of native food operations.
  • Aboriginal projects are currently under consideration, with commencement of the pilot program to happen over the coming months.

$5 million to encourage economic growth and employment in regional NSW

  • $5 million will be invested to provide low-interest loans to eligible small and medium businesses to encourage economic growth and employment in regional NSW.
  • From today food and beverage manufacturing small and medium businesses will be able to apply for loans between $100,0000 and $1,000,000, with a 2.5% fixed interest for the life of the loan, to allow them to invest in new technologies and equipment that increases efficiency and productivity.
  • NSW is home to more than 30% of the nation’s small and medium enterprises. However, the RBA has highlighted that currently small businesses are finding it difficult to access finance from traditional lenders with approval times, underwriting security requirements and interest rates cited as key concerns.
  • This investment from the NSW Government has been developed to make it faster and easier for regional small businesses to thrive.

Further investments in these projects will be considered following an initial review of their implementation.

Premier of New South Wales Chris Minns said:

“I have been lucky to visit country towns across all of the state, from Bega to Broken Hill, and hear firsthand from communities about issues facing regional NSW.

“I am committed to working with local communities on solutions and projects that work for them, and that is what the Regional Development Trust is designed to deliver.

“These 4 projects are the products of listening to regional communities and the agriculture sector on where funding is most needed, and where it will work the best.”

Deputy Premier of New South Wales and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car said:

“We believe every child in NSW should start school with a strong foundational educational, and to achieve that it is vital that all children can access high quality early learning, no matter their postcode or circumstance.

“This funding will allow long day care services to extend their hours or modify their services. This gives more flexibility to both parents looking to get back into the workforce, and creates new opportunities for early childcare workers.”

Minister for Health and Regional Health Ryan Park said:

“Investing in our regional airstrips will help ensure specialist doctors and nurses can provide care to even our states most remote communities. This is vital in ensuring that no matter where you live in New South Wales, you have access to essential healthcare


Minister for Regional New South Wales Tara Moriarty said:

“The NSW Government is committed to considered investments that are delivered transparently and through collaboration with local communities.

“Development funding for regional communities should not be dependent on who they voted for, but on where the need is greatest.

“After a comprehensive review of how funds have been invested in the past and travelling statewide and hearing the voices of local communities, I am confident this new approach delivers what people have said they need and will deliver better results.

“This initial investment of $35million from the Regional Development Trust Fund will create jobs, improve service delivery in rural and remote areas, and develop Aboriginal businesses and enterprises.”

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Treaty David Harris said:

“This $5 million is a significant boost to the NSW Government’s Closing the Gap Priority Reform 5, to help eligible Aboriginal businesses and organisations in the regions maximise economic opportunities and grow jobs.

“According to Supply Nation research, for every dollar of revenue generated by an Aboriginal business, the return on investment back to their community is $4.41.

“This funding builds on the $10 million investment in the NSW Roadmap for Aboriginal Business Growth and will be key to further helping Aboriginal people realise their aspirations.”

Business NSW Executive Director David Harding said:

“The Regions are a rising powerhouse of innovation and growth in NSW. Business NSW is honoured to be the leading voice for our regional business communities, and to contribute to smart and effective regional development, in partnership with the NSW Government.

“We welcome the Regional Development Trust investments announced today, which will catalyse further small enterprise growth and productivity, together with better connection and workforce participation across the NSW Regions.”

Royal Flying Doctor Service South Eastern Section CEO Greg Sam said:

“The Royal Flying Doctor Service welcomes today’s announcement by the Premier and Minister for Regional NSW to increase the availability of high-quality community airstrips across a broader footprint in regional and remote NSW.

“Over the past few years, the RFDS has seen an increase in demand for healthcare services across regional and remote NSW, and access to quality airstrips and supporting infrastructure is hugely important as it enables RFDS to provide communities across regional NSW with essential healthcare.

“The RFDS is a lifeline for many rural and remote communities who, without us, may not otherwise have access to healthcare, and upgrades announced today will provide greater safety and more options in terms of when, where and how we can provide health and emergency services to communities across regional NSW.”

/Public Release. View in full here.