A vision of the Parkes Shire Council for over 20 years came to full realisation on Wednesday with the commitment of $185.4 million from the NSW Government to the Special Activation Precinct.
“I am really excited to be here today to see this vision come to fruition,” said Deputy Premier, John Barilaro at the Pacific National terminal in Parkes.
He said the funding would kick-off the delivery of the precinct and fund vital infrastructure to make it easier and more attractive for businesses to set up in Parkes.
With the prospect of creating 3,000 direct jobs, the Deputy Premier predicted the ripple effect would transform Parkes from a sleepy rural town into a cosmopolitan city of the future, as it happened in Orange when the NSW Department of Industry was moved there.
“The exciting part about the Special Activation Precinct (SAP) is that the investment is not about politics, but it is the right thing to do for the future of this region, the Central West and the state of NSW.
“On the back of COVID-19 the Australian public want us to produce more, to manufacture more, and guess what there is an opportunity right now here in Parkes. Today’s investment unlocks that,” said John.
He acknowledged that the SAP would cause some disruption to landowners, but said it was for the greater good. “Just like in Sydney when home owners were affected by the WestConnex development, but in the end it is for the better good.”
Parkes Councillor Alan Ward said never had regional Australia seen such a bright future of opportunity and growth. “These are very exciting times for Parkes, and its neighbouring councils.”
He said the vision had been handed down for 20 years from mayor to mayor and councillor to councillor. “It is very exciting for us today to receive support and recognition from the state government for this vision we’ve had.”
Andrew Huckel, Director of Corporate Affairs of Pacific National, said the SAP had brought together the private sector, and state and local governments. This gave his company the confidence to invest more than $40 million in creating one of the largest inland rail terminals in rural Australia employing 100 people on site.
“The SAP concept should be rolled out not just in regional NSW, but right across the country,” Andrew said.
Parkes, the first of five SAP developments in NSW, is located on 4,800 hectares of land ear-marked for a range of uses including freight and logistics, processing of food such as plant-based proteins, warehousing, plastic and e-waste recycling and cold chain storage.
The Special Activation Precincts are part of the $4.2 billion Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund dedicated to major and transformative infrastructure projects that will benefit regional NSW.
By Maggi Barnard