The New South Wales government has created a new department dedicated to dealing with the major issues that affect regional communities.
The Department of Regional NSW will be charged with coordinating support for the people, businesses and farmers in the outback who have faced drought, bushfire, flood, and now the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, according to minister for regional NSW John Barilaro.
“We are urgently responding to the desperate needs of people in the regions and this new agency will work to ensure community wellbeing, resilient economies and strong key regional industries,” the deputy premier said on Thursday.
“The new Department of Regional NSW will be a voice in government for people in the bush and will have a laser-like focus on the challenges and opportunities unique to regional communities, helping them to get through hardships many of us have not seen in our time.”
Led by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s regional NSW coordinator general Gary Barnes, the department will respond to issues in areas such as primary industries, land management, resources, regional development, drought response and bushfire recovery work.
It will deliver recent bushfire and COVID-19 stimulus, and industry recovery packages, along with the NSW government’s drought initiatives, the $1.7 billion Regional Growth Fund, and the $4.2 billion Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund.