The lack of telecommunications and transport infrastructure have been identified as two major areas of concern in the Mid North Coast region in a report completed by Southern Cross University.
The report, written by Dr Karen McFadyen on behalf of the University’s Office of Regional Engagement, will be presented to the Mid North Coast Regional Development Board today (September 22).
The report brings together information from a range of sources on the population growth expected in the Mid North Coast, the current infrastructure and the projected needs for the region.
“The Mid North Coast population is increasing at a rapid rate and has a large visitor population. The region’s population is also ageing and this trend is exacerbated by in-migration of sea changers, an out-migration of 20 to 39-year-olds, and the resultant low fertility rate,” Dr McFadyen said.
“The increased population puts pressure on existing infrastructure, along with demanding new infrastructure.
“We need to find something that will promote business development and that depends on improved telecommunications infrastructure, such as high quality broadband, and better transport.”
Dr McFadyen’s report also highlights the need for: social and community services, in particular health services to cater for the ageing population; public transport; footpaths; cycleways; and improved rail and air infrastructure.
Mid North Coast Regional Development Board executive officer Mr Bill Calcutt said improving infrastructure was a key issue for the future sustainable development of the whole region.
“The region has experienced really enormous growth and obviously that level of growth puts pressure on a whole range of infrastructure. This report is another step in trying to get a better understanding of the demographics and the infrastructure needs,” Mr Calcutt said.
“The ultimate goal is to identify where we need to address significant infrastructure deficiencies to ensure the future economic growth of the region, and to be able to make informed decisions.”
The report is an initiative of Southern Cross University’s Office of Regional Engagement, which is working closely with local government, business and other community organisations throughout the Mid and North Coast regions.
Southern Cross University Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Clark said the University was pleased to be able to provide this report to the Mid North Coast Regional Development Board.
“We have formed close links with the Board and this report is an important part of our contribution to the sustainable growth of the Mid North Coast region,” Professor Clark said.
Photo opportunity: The report will be presented to the Mid North Coast Regional Development Board at a meeting at the Coffs Harbour City Council chambers at 11am, Friday, September 22.
Media contact: Brigid Veale Southern Cross University communications manager, 02 66593006 or 0439 680 748.