NSW commits $185M to Parkes Special Activation Precinct

NSW commits $185M to Parkes Special Activation Precinct

The NSW Government has committed a further $185.4 million to drive economic growth and prosperity in the Central West through the Parkes Special Activation Precinct.

The precinct will be Australia’s first UNIDO Eco Industrial zone, which according to the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, is a community of businesses located on a common property that seeks to achieve enhanced environmental, economic and social performance through collaborative environmental and resource management.

This is known as industrial symbiosis, where companies can gain a competitive advantage through the physical exchange of materials, energy, water and by-products, thereby fostering inclusive and sustainable development.

The Parkes precinct covers 4800 hectares of land, which is ear-marked for a range of uses including plastic and e-waste recycling, freight and logistics, processing of food such as plant based proteins, warehousing and cold chain storage.

“This $185 million investment will kick-off the delivery of the precinct and fund vital infrastructure – including roads, sewer and water connections – which will make it easier and more attractive for businesses to set up in Parkes,” Deputy Premier John Barilaro said.

According to Barilaro, the precinct capitalises on Parkes’ location – at the junction of Australia’s two major rail spines – and lower land costs, which are just 5 per cent of those in major metropolitan areas.

“This precinct is all about attracting money, economic growth and jobs to regional NSW,” he said.

“We know that where there is significant government investment, it attracts private investment ten-fold. This precinct could attract up to $1 billion in private investment over the next 10 years.”

With the master plan now complete, Regional Growth NSW Development Corporation will take on delivery of the precinct.

This will include leading design and construction, streamlined applications and approvals and providing a business concierge service aimed at assisting those seeking to set up or expand in the regions.

NSW PLANNING REFORM ACTION PLAN

The Parkes announcement follows the 15 July release of the $83 million NSW Planning Reform Action Plan, which aims to reduce planning assessment times and “cut red-tape.”

Speaking at a Committee for Economic Development Australia event, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the plan would build on momentum created by the NSW Government’s efforts to use the planning system to keep the economy moving during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The planning system has proved an incredibly powerful tool in our fight against the economic impacts of the pandemic,” Berejiklian said.

“This plan takes us into the next phase of reform, creating a system that is efficient, rigorous, supports our economy and our environment, is accessible online and is easy for anyone to use.”

According to Berejiklian, the plan will cut rezoning decisions by 191 days, decisions on development applications for larger, regionally significant projects by 91 days, and decisions on major projects of significance to the state by 20 days.

The state government has also invested almost $10 million to enhance its ePlanning platform and ensure all councils can get online to process development applications more quickly and transparently.

All councils will have to adopt the online system by 1 July 2021.

The plan also seeks to boost the role and resourcing of the Land and Environment Court by establishing a new class of appeals for rezoning.

Two additional commissioners will also be appointed to enable more cases to be heard each year.

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