Orange City Council and community leaders today launched a new blue-print for Orange’s economic future.
The result of research, analysis and community consultation, the Activate Orange plan is built on the emerging strengths of the local economy to make a bold pitch for more than $170 million in funding from both the state and federal governments, to turn Orange into the economic powerhouse of inland NSW.
Orange mayor Reg Kidd is impressed that the ActivateOrange plan is based on projects that are already under way.
“Orange already has a high profile for its food and wine, and for the huge numbers of people who come here every year for major sporting events. What researchers have put their finger on in this is plan, is the huge potential for Orange to be an economic powerhouse in the fields of health, life sciences, retail, tourism and professional services.”
“The 400 hectare area surrounding Orange’s Bloomfield campus is a great example of what could become a ‘Life Sciences’ precinct. Orange’s public hospital, one of the largest public hospitals in regional Australia, and a major mental health hospital are already located in that zone. Private sector investors are voting with their feet. Across the road, construction has begun on new multi-storey private hospital that’s expected to employ 500 staff.
“More than a hundred medical specialists and their families now call Orange home. The University of Sydney, the University of Newcastle and the University of Wollongong are active here, within the Bloomfield precinct. And on top of this, Charles Sturt University which already teaches pharmacy and dentistry students in Orange is being federally funded to develop the new Murray Darling Medical School with Western Sydney University.
“Blind Freddy could see that with a little coordination, and with government investment when it comes to infrastructure and future planning, the momentum in this precinct could really take off, to incorporate further growth in industry and the associated services sector.
“I gather the NSW Government is looking at how to support economic activation zones around the state, and I’m looking forward to hearing how Orange fares when it comes to these funding programs.”
The ActivateOrange plan also makes the case to also build on the strength in Orange in the fields of :
- enhancing transport connections
- the Future City CBD upgrade
- recreational, cultural and tourism assets
Orange City Council’s Employment & Economic Development Committee Chair, Cr Tony Mileto said he’s excited by the potential the ActivateOrange plan has uncovered, such as the Life Sciences precinct and the CBD upgrade.
“What’s makes sense for me is that the ActivateOrange plan is much more than vision statements and worthy intentions,” Cr Tony Mileto said.
“This blue-print is based on solid research and good analysis. The stakeholders are ready to go. If this can be a plan that brings all tiers of government to work together, then the future for Orange and the region as a source of jobs growth and investment is looking very bright.”
“It’s all about building on momentum that’s already here.
“A precinct that’s a hub of life sciences expertise is a location that will attract students from all around the world to study in Orange, as well as companies working in the associated fields of pharmaceuticals and other medical research. That critical mass of expertise makes it easier in future to attract good staff, easier to attract good investment.”
“If we are going to attract more students and workers to the city, we need to ensure that the CBD is designed with the next generation in mind. A place where the community and businesses will thrive. That is why the FutureCity CBD upgrade project is another integral part of ActivateOrange.“
Charles Sturt university’s vice-chancellor Andrew Vann attended today’s launch.
“We are excited by the prospect of locating our new Murray Darling Medical School within the proposed Life Science’s precinct,” Andrew Vann said. “Our research indicates that the next generation of doctors want to be integrated with their future work environment.”
“The new ‘Life Sciences’ precinct on its own however is not enough to attract students and professional staff to Orange. What is important for that culturally diverse group is the liveability of the city of Orange, its vibrancy and the casual employment opportunities that retail and hospitality bring. It all needs to come together.”