Cross-Border Commissioner's Infrastructure Fund
The NSW Cross-Border Commissioner works to resolve issues facing people located near a NSW state border. One of the concerns raised by many stakeholders in border regions is the limited access to local infrastructure funding. In response, the NSW Government has established a fund to ensure our cross-border communities don’t miss out.
The Cross-Border Commissioner's Fund provides $20 million for social, economic, environmental and cultural infrastructure projects in border regions, and requires co-investment from the neighbouring state. As part of the process the Commissioner will work with communities in NSW and neighbouring states through the established cross-border agreements to identify priority projects, and secure co-investment. Projects for consideration may include improving electricity supply, developing telecommunications, accessing water supply or providing social and sporting infrastructure. The projects must be located in local government areas of NSW and neighbouring jurisdictions which are adjacent to a NSW border.
The NSW Government has established cross-border agreements with the ACT and Queensland governments. Following the Victorian Government's announcement of a Victorian Cross-Border Commission, the government hopes a similar agreement will be struck to enable access to this fund in our southern border regions.
The NSW Cross-Border Commissioner will invite applications in the coming months.
Future Transport 2056
The recently released Future Transport 2056 is the overarching strategy for the 40-year vision of our transport system, delivering movement and place outcomes for our communities. The strategy is supported by a suite of plans and includes an emphasis on the creation of borderless transport systems, requiring policy and investment alignment between jurisdictions.
For our regions, the Regional NSW: Services and Infrastructure Plan includes a clear objective to ensure that the transport network enables seamless, affordable inter-regional and cross-border travel, as does the draft Freight and Ports Plan.
This is the first time a state-wide transport strategy, and supporting plans have recognised the issues and importance of cross-border travel in both the movement of people and freight.
Collaborative tourism initiatives across borders are taking shape in north western NSW with the proposal to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NSW and Queensland border councils. Bourke, Cobar, Brewarrina, Walkgett, Balonne, Paroo and Bullo councils have agreed to commit to a formal agreement and work together on a number of cross-border tourism opportunities.
With the support of the local MPs, state tourism agencies and the Commissioner, lines on a map will no longer segregate tourism opportunities, but ensure the region becomes a destination.
Number one on the agenda is the development of an MoU, followed by a number of action items, including undertaking a product audit of the tourism facilities and attractions, seed funding of $5000 from each council, obtaining support of all local tourism operators and completing a strategic plan.
The Commissioner will include the MoU proposal in the 2018-19 Worklist between NSW and Queensland to assist in its development. This is a fantastic forward-thinking proposal by each of the councils and signals a willingness to create borderless outback experiences for the benefit of not only tourist, but both the NSW and Queensland economies.
Regional Partnerships - Victoria
Thanks to the nomination from the Mallee Regional Partnership, the establishment of a Victorian Cross-Border Commission is now underway.
On 31 May 2018, the Commissioner attended the Mallee Regional Assembly in Kerang, to gain insight into the cross-border issues on the Victorian-NSW border. These annual assemblies are part of the Victorian Government's Regional Partnership structure that provides regional communities access to ministers and central government. It was the Mallee Regional Partnership who initially presented the business case to create a Victorian Cross-Border Commissioner to the Victorian Minister for Regional Development, and thanks to their perseverance received funding in the Victorian Budget 2018-19.
The issues raised at the Regional Assembly in Victoria are very similar to those experienced by NSW border communities, such as the impact of regulatory requirements on business and individuals, growth potential in border economies and access to services.
IPART Review - Container Deposit Scheme update
An investigation by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) found that the Container Deposit Scheme had unique and unintended consequences for retailers operating on the NSW/Victorian border. As a result, the NSW Government will provide targeted financial assistance to help ease the impact, particularly for smaller independent retailers.
The NSW Cross-Border Commissioner has been working closely with all involved for many months and is pleased with the outcome to provide some surety for businesses unfairly impacted due to their location.
IPART will invite eligible businesses to apply for assistance and support will cover transitional costs for the first 12 months of the scheme.
The ACT started their Container Deposit Scheme on 30 June 2018 and Queensland will start by the end of 2018.
Refresh of the Worklists for 2018-19
Refresh of the Worklists for 2018-19, under the ACT-NSW Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Regional Collaboration and the QLD-NSW Statement of Principles and Priorities for Regional Collaboration, are now in full swing and are are expected to be released in late July 2018.
The Commissioner would like to thank all those who provided contributions.
Once released, the Worklists will be available on the Commissioner's website.
On the Commissioner's desk
Are you wondering what issues come across the Commissioner's desk each week?
Here's a list – see if you can keep up!
- Dental services – access to Queensland dental services for NSW border residents
- Education and Training – access to and availability of TAFE courses in border regions
- Transport services – timetabling and ticketing of bus transport in the Albury-Wodonga region, particularly for students and pensioners
- Working with Children Checks (WWCC) – lack of recognition and alignment of WWCC between jurisdictions
- Community transport – access and provision of cross-border community transport options
Parole conditions – the ability for indigenous parolees to travel across the border for family reasons.
Small Business Deregulation Roundtable
In June 2018, Small Business Ministers from the Commonwealth, NSW and Victoria came together in Wodonga to discuss the day-to-day cross-border inconsistencies between government services, policies and laws that impact on business.
Several issues were raised including business reporting and data sharing, access to skills, taxi regulation, RSA qualifications, occupational licencing and heavy vehicle regulation.
While these issues are not new, collaboration between the governments is certainly a positive step, particularly agreement between the NSW and Victorian governments to progress towards a formal arrangement such as a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The Cross-Border Commissioner will be working closely with the Victorian Government over the coming months to negotiate and finalise the agreement and priority issues.
Image: Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation Hon Craig Laundy, NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro and NSW Cross-Border Commissioner James McTavish
Victoria announces Cross-Border Commission
As part of the 2018-19 Budget, the Victorian Government has committed to the establishment of their own Cross-Border Commission. This follows a series of discussions between the NSW Cross-Border Commissioner and the Victorian Government and places cross-border issues squarely on the agenda in Victoria. This will open up opportunities to more readily resolve cross-border issues for our southern NSW communities.
A promising first step is the Victorian Government's interest in developing a cross-border agreement with the NSW Government, similar to established agreements NSW already has in place with the ACT and Queensland governments.
Borderless - Regional Economic Development Strategies
The NSW Government is offering to help local councils develop Regional Economic Development Strategies (REDS) based on the concept of a Functional Economic Region (FER), which usually incorporates more than one local government area.
Under the Functional Economic Region concept borders are no barrier as the boundaries reflect the regional economies and economic interaction, and may take in local government areas in neighbouring states.
The REDS provide a clear economic development strategy for the regions and enable greater access to state funding.
In addition to the REDS, the NSW Government has created an interactive Regional NSW Investment Prospectus, providing information on specific regions to potential domestic and international investors.
Canberra Raiders Centre of Excellence
The NSW Government has contributed $4 million in funding towards the development of the Canberra and Southern NSW Rugby League Centre of Excellence, as part of the Cross-Border Infrastructure Fund.
Home to the Canberra Raiders, this sporting facility is set to benefit hundreds of young rugby league players and fans in southern NSW. It will provide borderless access to high level coaching, training and mentoring support, as well as additional NRL competition and trial games in regional NSW towns.
Thanks to co-investment from the ACT government, and alignment with the ACT-NSW Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Regional Collaboration, the Centre will offer everyone from under 6's through to adults access to carnivals, clinics and training camps, further benefiting the health and well-being of our regional communities. NSW will also gain economically from this project during the initial construction phase with many trades and supplies from our side of the border.