Hunter well-positioned for future infrastructure investment

The Hunter Development Corporation (HDC) has today released a strategic infrastructure plan to guide infrastructure investment in the Hunter.

HDC General Manager Bob Hawes said the Hunter Strategic Infrastructure Plan, prepared by a Project Control Group driven by HDC, in partnership with Hunter Councils Inc, focusses on infrastructure to boost economic capacity and enhance the urban areas of the five lower Hunter LGAs.

The Hunter Plans Project Control Group consisted of representatives from: Planning and Infrastructure, HDC, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Transport for NSW, Infrastructure NSW, Hunter Councils, RDA Australia Hunter and Treasury.

The Australian Government co-funded the plan through the Liveable Cities Program to assist state and local governments to improve the quality of life in major cities.

The release of the Hunter Strategic Infrastructure Plan coincides with the release by RDA Hunter and INSW of the Hunter Economic Infrastructure Plan which supports nation building infrastructure in the Hunter contributing to national productivity.

Mr Hawes said both plans were the result of extensive agency stakeholder consultation and data gathering and will provide a sound basis for future decision making by both the public and private sectors.

“These plans work together as a comprehensive picture of the infrastructure needs of the Hunter, recognising the importance of strategic corridors for the movement of people, freight and goods and their impact on urban communities.

Mr Hawes said the plans position the Hunter well for future investment by all tiers of government.

Mr Hawes said the NSW and Australian Governments had already announced joint funding for two of the highest priority projects identified by the plans, namely, the duplication of the Tourle Street Bridge (Kooragang Island) and the construction of the Scone rail level crossing replacement.

“The Hunter Strategic Infrastructure Plan also identifies other clear priorities for funding including:

  1. Newcastle Urban Renewal implementation including light rail;
  2. Newcastle University city campus construction;
  3. National Broadband Strategy rollout;
  4. Construction of the Pennant Street Bridge Glendale (stage one); and
  5. Newcastle Airport expansion.

Mr Hawes said the plans also recognise the importance of preserving nationally strategic freight corridors and assessing the ongoing impact of the resource sector on mining-affected communities.

Mr Hawes said the State was already funding new infrastructure projects in the Hunter such as:

  • $20 million for land acquisition for a new Hospital in the Maitland area
  • $460 million for urban renewal in Newcastle city centre
  • $25 million for the University of Newcastle city campus
  • $11 million for the Newcastle Airport expansion
  • $44 million for improvements to the New England Highway Maitland
  • $51.9 million for the Tourle Street Bridge duplication
  • $45 million for the construction of the Scone rail level crossing replacement.

“With this solid planning foundation now in place New South Wales can put forward a strong case for attracting Commonwealth support for future infrastructure funding in the Hunter,” Mr Hawes said.

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Media contact: Luke Mellare on 0447 264 755