NSW Farmers’ Association has an exciting new goal: to connect Western Sydney and Western NSW to create a booming export economy.
The Association is calling on the NSW Government to cut freight and visitor travel times between the two locations to less than three hours.
Western Sydney is the heart of Australia’s food processing and manufacturing sector. The vision proposes to build up the Western Sydney Airport to become Australia’s hub for high value food production and manufacturing, shipping premium products to domestic and global markets.
“Given our international reputation for clean and green food, this will mean premium prices for our growers, processors and manufacturers and will create a further 10,000 jobs in Western Sydney,” President of NSW Farmers’ Association James Jackson.
The freight journey intends to start in Orange NSW, the centre of the Western NSW food bowl, decreasing the five hour journey to a convenient three hours.
According to Chief Economist at the NSW Farmers’ Association Ash Salardini, this will be achieved by considering all possible options, which includes improved digitisation of freight transport such as driver-less trucks or incremental upgrades of roads such as removing traffic lights, building tunnels and double lanes.
More possibilities that can make this vision a reality include combining freight and passenger transport and optimisation of networks through the coordination of transport and port delivery timing.
Mr Jackson said an east-to-west agri-precinct would allow the freshest and highest quality of NSW produce to be “picked and packed and put on Chinese consumers; plates within 48 hours”.
“A freight journey between Orange and Western Sydney Airport, which is just over 200km, can take close to five hours, by contrast a 300km journey between Sydney and Canberra takes just over three hours. This is unacceptable.
“Poor transport connections do not allow the just-in-time food supply chains needed for fresh food exports; jeopardises the international competitiveness of agricultural commodities, by adding 30-40 per cent to the cost of agricultural production; and increases the input cost and competitiveness of food manufacturers,” Mr Jackson said.
According to Sydney Business Chamber, Western Sydney Director David Borger, the proposed vision will tackle the issue of congestion, lack of transport infrastructure and perceived over-population in Sydney by encouraging Sydneysiders to experience a taste of the country lifestyle.
“A sub-three hour journey that facilitates the establishment of the food economy can transform major food producing regions like the Central West into regional economic powerhouses, reinvigorating regional food processing and manufacturing, building on food and wine based tourism, and increasing the value capture of agricultural production.”
Mr Jackson is calling on policy makers to commit to the goal of a sub-three hour journey between Orange and the Western Sydney Airport, welcoming NSW Labor’s funding of $2.5 million to make the vision a reality.