NSW Parliamentary inquiry finds sub-three hour journey across the Great Dividing Range needed to guarantee affordable fresh food for Sydney-siders  

The NSW Farmers’ Association (the ‘Association’) welcomes recommendations made by the NSW Legislative Council inquiry (the ‘Inquiry’) into fresh food seeking expedited planning to ensure a reliable sub-three hour journey from NSW’s Central West to Sydney, and seeks that the NSW Government and NSW Labor implement the Inquiry’s recommendations. 

The majority of Sydney’s fresh food comes from across the Great Dividing Range, and freight costs can account for 30-40% of the final cost of fresh food.

“Western Sydney is one of the country’s diabetes hotspots. It’s often easier to find fast food restaurants than greengrocers. We have a child obesity problem, yet we have had governments of all political persuasions ignore serious freight transport issues within food supply chains that has probably added 20% to the cost of fresh food for consumers,” said Mr James Jackson, President of the NSW Farmers’ Association.

In August, the Association launched its Growing NSW’s Food Economy discussion paper calling for better freight connections across the Great Dividing Range to connect the major fresh food producing Central West region to the markets of Sydney, including a commitment to a sub-three hour journey across the Great Dividing Range.     

“A freight journey between Orange and Western Sydney, 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 and creates needless cost for farmers and consumers,” Mr Jackson said.

The Association’s discussion paper also highlights economic benefits of better connectivity between Western NSW and Sydney, with a bold vision to grow the state’s food economy by linking NSW’s premier food producing region to the markets and economic infrastructure of Sydney and Western Sydney.   
“Reliable freight connections between the Central West and Western Sydney, and an agri-precinct at the Western Sydney Airport would allow fresh leafy vegetables to be grown at Badgerys Creek, tomatoes grown outside of Orange, even pre-prepared meals with fresh NSW produce, to be picked and packed and put on Chinese consumers’ plates within 48 hours.” 

“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.”

A sub-three hour journey could also open up a lucrative east-west visitor economy starting at the Western Sydney Airport, through the natural heritage of the Blue Mountains, and finishing in the food and wine region of the Central West.   

“Better freight connectivity between food producing regions and Sydney is a no brainer: It is good for our health and for our economy.”

Date: Thursday 18 October 2018                    
Media Contact:   Kathleen Curry   | 0429 011 690