Newcastle Herald, 20 October 2020
The Williamtown Special Activation Precinct, Broadmeadow Sports and Entertainment Precinct and the John Hunter Hospital redevelopment are among the projects vying for funding in the upcoming state budget.
The Committee for the Hunter has asked the state government to fast track and appropriately resource the regionally significant projects to help assist with the region’s economic recovery.
The committee has also identified the the north-west Lake Macquarie catalyst area, the Hunter Valley Thoroughbred Centre of Excellence and New England Highway upgrades between Tenterfield and Newcastle as projects it would like to see receive funding in the November 17 budget.
With a population of 750,000, the Hunter is Australia’s largest regional economy generating $60 billion in gross regional product and contributes 10 per cent of the state’s output.
“When the Hunter goes well, the NSW goes well,” the committee said in its state budget submission.
“Investment in this region has consequences for the NSW economy and presents an opportunity for stimulus. We stand ready to partner with the NSW government to boost. jobs and the economy at the speed and scale this crisis calls for.”
“Our submission focuses on an infrastructure-led recovery. However, we recognise that government support is not just about funding; smarter planning and new partnership approaches will be critical in ensuring expenditure is targeted and provides value for money.
“Our request is for the NSW Government to commit more funding to competitive grant funding programs for local and community infrastructure, open to councils and their partners,” the committee said.
The Committee for the Hunter is already working with the Hunter Joint Organisation of Councils to secure federal government support for three major catalyst projects – the Newcastle Airport runway upgrade, the University of Newcastle STEMM building and the Newcastle Container Terminal – in addition to community infrastructure projects.
More than $1.8 billion in private investment, 15,000 jobs and $2.5billion in economic benefits is contingent upon the removal of penalties on container movements at the Port of Newcastle.
“The Multipurpose Deepwater Terminal is an investment-ready project of significant scale and an anchor to the region’s economic diversification. We ask you for your support to help make this happen,” the committee said.