Blueprint for a thriving, sustainable Hunter

Jobs in the revitalised Newcastle city centre will grow by about a third over the next 20 years and spearhead the Greater Newcastle region’s shift from a regional centre to a metropolitan city.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes today released the Hunter Regional Plan 2036, a blueprint which will guide the planning priorities and land use decisions in the growing region over the next two decades.

“The plan aims to create and support thriving urban, rural and coastal communities across the Hunter, with greater housing choice and jobs, better public transport and a green-grid of natural areas and corridors, linking communities to public open space,” Mr Stokes said.

“More than 100 actions are listed to strengthen the economy, protect and improve the area’s rich natural environment, create thriving communities and provide locals with greater housing choice and jobs,” Mr Stokes said.

“The plan aims to create a strong diversified economy with a vibrant metropolitan city at its heart that takes advantage of the region’s global gateways, the Newcastle Airport and Port of Newcastle,” he said.

There is an optimistic outlook for jobs. Employment in the Newcastle city centre will grow from 25,000 to 33,000, encouraged by the $460 million Urban Transformation and Transport Program that includes the new light rail project.

There will also be strong employment growth elsewhere in the Hunter region with the present 322,000 total jobs increasing to 384,000.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC said employment is expected to rise in advanced manufacturing; aerospace and defence; food and agribusiness;, technology and services; health including medical technologies and pharmaceuticals; and research and education sectors.

“The Hunter region is a popular place for people to call home with a diverse natural environment, and this plan is about providing new homes and jobs and protecting the area’s landscapes,” Mr MacDonald said.

The Upper Hunter will see growth in food and agribusiness, transitioning from its present reliance on mining and power generation.

Following community consultation over the past year a number of changes have been made to the draft plan, including a goal for greater housing choice and jobs and priority action to secure long term protection of regionally significant biodiversity corridors.

The Hunter Regional Plan builds on significant investment by the NSW Government since 2011. As well as the Newcastle Urban Transformation Program, some include:

 $400 million for the New Hunter Valley Hospital (in planning);
 $14.5 million for the Newcastle Airport Expansion;
 $95 million for the Newcastle University city campus;
 $51.9 million for the duplication of the Tourle Street Bridge between Mayfield and Kooragang Island, along with funding from the Federal Government;
 $280 million for the Rankin Park to Jesmond section of the Newcastle Inner City Bypass (in planning);
 $200 million M1 Pacific Highway extension to Raymond Terrace (in planning);
 $94 million for the New Newcastle Courthouse; and
 $13.5 million for the Newcastle Cruise Terminal (in planning).

The Hunter Development Corporation will oversee the delivery of the plan, including the preparation of a Metropolitan Plan for Greater Newcastle.

The Hunter Regional Plan can be viewed at www.planning.nsw.gov.au/hunter

MEDIA: Andrew Priestley 0417 551706