With over 26,000 thousand people in the Hunter losing their jobs in the past two months and NSW in a recession, State Member for Wallsend, Sonia Hornery MP, and State Member for Newcastle, Tim Crakanthorp MP, have today called for a raft of projects to be prioritised and fast-tracked as a part of a post COVID-19 economic stimulus for the Hunter region.
It follows the NSW Government’s announcement of an additional $3 billion in infrastructure funding to stimulate regional economies.
Priority projects for the region include:
- Diversification of the Port of Newcastle;
- Expansion of Newcastle Airport;
- Lower Hunter Freight Corridor;
- Flood mitigation work in Wallsend;
- Newcastle education precinct;
- John Hunter Hospital Redevelopment;
- Final stage of the Newcastle Inner City Bypass;
- Expansion of Newcastle Regional Art Gallery;
- Redevelopment of the Hunter Sports and Entertainment precinct;
- M1 extension from Beresfield to Raymond Terrace;
- Next stage of the Lake Macquarie Transport Interchange.
The calls follow comments from the Reserve Bank of Australia that governments need to investment in infrastructure projects. Critically, these projects would provide a welcome boost to the region’s economy and will drive jobs, providing the economic stimulus to support the recovery out of COVID-19.
Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp said that after years of talk with no action, now is the time for the Government to put its money where its mouth is.
“Many of these projects are long overdue and have been talked about for years. With interest rates at record lows and tens of thousands out of work, now is the time to get on and deliver them,” he said.
“It is important our region is not forgotten and gets its fair share of funding.
“The removal of government restrictions on the Port of Newcastle will see up to $1.8 billion of private investment flow into the region, providing countless jobs and the kick-start that both the local and state economies need.”
Member for Wallsend Sonia Hornery said that similar projects in Sydney have been fast-tracked in the last month and it is important that the Hunter gets its fair share.
“We have seen announcement after announcement about infrastructure in Sydney but not a cent has flowed to these vital Hunter projects,” she said.
“The Hunter is the economic engine room of NSW and generates 28 per cent of regional NSW’s economic output.
“Projects like the Wallsend flood mitigation works are absolutely critical to protecting businesses in the Wallsend CBD,” she said