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Project commences to identify gaps in community services and infrastructure

A project to compare services and infrastructure in 33 Northern inland towns with those of similar size throughout the state has commenced and is expected to highlight gaps that Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) will work together with governments to address.

Chairman of RDANI, Mal Peters, said this project will be invaluable in negotiating for increased services and infrastructure in the region and informing future projects and initiatives. The project will identify where towns of similar size have deficiency in services or necessary infrastructure requirements that would maintain and promote economic and community development.

As part of RDANI’s regional plan for the Northern Inland, detailed physical audits of the social and community infrastructure of 33 Northern Inland towns were undertaken. This project will now build on these audits and seek to benchmark a particular town’s services against other Northern Inland towns of similar size, together with a comparison against towns in the Orana, Central West and Mid North Coast regions.

“Significant work was undertaken to conduct these audits throughout the region which produced a large amount of data in relation to education, health, transport, services for the elderly, law & order and emergency services. This project will allow us to identify gaps and compare our services with any other town or city in Australia, Mr Peters said.

The project will look at best-practice benchmarks across a wide range of social and community services as well as infrastructure to see what is required to regenerate Northern Inland communities and provide them with the level of services and facilities that are to be expected in our towns and cities.

“The final report will be informative reading for local councils and governments at all levels in the region who will be able to easily identify gaps and guide future initiatives to fill those needs. It’s all about making our region more livable and viable for residents and businesses. Just because we choose to live in the bush doesn’t mean we should have any less access to the services and facilities found in larger metropolitan centres,” Mr. Peters said.

The project, scheduled for completion by the end of September 2011, is being jointly funded by NSW Trade and Investment, and undertaken by the University of New England’s Division of Geography and Planning.

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