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Urban rail news in brief - July 2015
Inland rail a trifecta for Toowoomba region: mayor
New South Wales Assistant Planning Minister, Diane Beamer, yesterday presented a cheque for $130,900 to Parkes Shire Council to assist in the preparation of a strategic plan for land use in the region over the next 20 to 25 years.
The presentation came during an official function at the council chambers hosted by Mayor Robert Wilson.
Business and community representatives from throughout the shire attended the reception.
`Parkes Land Use Strategy will be a `blueprint' that will ensure that the region's future growth and development is both sustainable and appropriate,' Ms Beamer said
`The Strategy will enable council to achieve the right balance between agricultural, industrial and residential land use needs.'
At the same time, Ms Beamer announced approval of a Local Environmental Plan that will secure Parkes' future as a key freight centre for transport, storage and manufacturing industries.
`The Local Plan covers the rezoning of 516 hectares west of Parkes for the development of a road-rail freight interchange - a central `Hub' for regional, state and national transport,' Ms Beamer said.
`The Parkes `Hub' builds on the city's strategic location on the national road-rail system and close to the future international freight airport.
`The Plan will be a major boost to the state's transport infrastructure as well as bringing new associated industries to Parkes.
`The transport `Hub' will also generate hundreds of short term and long term jobs for Parkes.'
Ms Beamer took time out to inspect the key sites featured in the Local Plan with Parkes Mayor Cr Robert Wilson, councillors, and key stakeholders in the future development.
Ms Beamer noted that the Plan also reserves land for future local roads by zoning important corridors around the urban area, bringing further added benefits for Parkes.
`Parkes Shire Council is to be congratulated on preparing this progressive local plan which enhances the town's role as an important regional centre,' Ms Beamer said.
Preparation for rezoning also included a study of environmental issues, such as surface and ground water, noise, soil contamination, biodiversity and heritage.
`The Plan encourages freight off our roads and onto the rail system, bringing greater transport diversity and a big win for the environment.'
`For example, the environmental study identified that one freight train between Melbourne and Sydney replaces 150 semi-trailers and saves 45,000 litres of fuel, greatly reducing green house gas emissions.
`The $130,900 grant for the Parkes Land Use Strategy is part of more than $5.8 million in State Government Planning Reform funds provided to local government to strengthen local planning.
`The government is working with councils to produce a better, more efficient planning process that will give councils a bigger say in and a greater authority for, development in their local areas.
`The Planning Reform Funding Programme is based on a small levy on development applications for building works over $50,000.
`Yet it is assisting the delivery of a more effective, more streamlined planning system that will eventually bring savings in efficiencies worth hundreds of millions of dollars every year,' Ms Beamer said.
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