The NSW government has officially locked in its commitment to the Albury-Wodonga regional deal, meaning the next stage of planning can start on millions of dollars worth of key infrastructure projects over the next decade and beyond.
Three weeks after Victoria backed the deal, federal Regional Development and Territories Assistant Minister Nola Marino confirmed exclusively to The Border Mail that NSW has agreed to the partnership, which also involves Albury and Wodonga councils and the Commonwealth.
"To achieve a successful cross-border regional deal, state government involvement is critical," she said.
"For example, to help improve regulatory alignment, or reduce the cross-border red tape, that we've heard is a significant priority for the region.
"Our next step is to work with all five deal partners to develop a statement of intent, which will outline the scope and focus for the deal.
"We expect this to occur before the end of the year and we will begin community consultations to better understand priorities for the region.
"The Albury-Wodonga regional deal needs to be one that the entire region owns and can be proud of.
"We expect consultations will continue throughout the deal formation to ensure we get the right vision, themes and commitments from all three levels of government that will position the region for the future."
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Confirmation on behalf of the NSW government came from Deputy Premier John Barilaro.
The process to get all the parties on board has taken eight months since it was announced by Senator Bridget McKenzie in March, ahead of the federal election.
"It is fantastic news that all levels of government are committed to developing this deal," she said.
"All three levels of government are committed to work together on a statement of intent for this regional deal, to set out the collective vision and commitment that reflects local priorities and delivers on the community's aspirations for the region."
The senator reiterated her goal to triple the Border's population to 375,000 people in 20 years.
"It's time for a new generation of regional cities to emerge and this deal will drive economic development and growth, deliver much-needed cross-border harmonisation and more," Senator McKenzie said.
Albury MP Justin Clancy said the NSW government's commitment came after months of discussions with Mr Barilaro.
"From the state's perspective, hopefully we can look at ways we can support industry - that's been a consideration," he said.
"This has been the first step.
"It reflects that our community really wants to see levels of government collaborating and this is an important part of that."
He welcomed the decision to get on board with the deal.
"I appreciate sometimes these early initial conversations do take more time, but it is a matter of making sure we're in a position where all parties are in a position to work together," Mr Clancy said.
Health professionals are eyeing off the regional deal as the way to create a single campus, state of the art hospital servicing Albury-Wodonga and surrounds.
Australian Industry Group regional manager Tim Farrah said the deal could drive the future delivery of health and education services.
"We are at the crossroads of planning for what those services look like into the future, but the key to all this is detailed planning and this is where the regional deal can be a great vehicle to making that happen," he said.
"We still have people travelling to Wagga and Wangaratta to access TAFE services when they could simply travel across the border to either of the Albury and Wodonga campuses, but can't at present.
"It's just crazy."
Farrer MP Sussan Ley described the commitment from all levels of government as "a landmark moment for our region".
"Since before federation we have consistently tussled with regulatory interstate hurdles which make it more difficult for the area to thrive," she said.
"By developing a unified cross-border approach, instead of waiting for government to decide where and how we should grow, we can now drive and control the projects and proposals the wider community believes are needed."