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Astra Aerolab off to a flying start

Release Date: 15/05/2019
The Hunter Business Chamber has welcomed today’s sod-turning ceremony at Astra Aerolab and confirmation of a major lease agreement as strong signs of confidence in the region’s future as an aviation and aerospace leader.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro took to the controls of an excavator to turn the first sod on the new defence and aviation hub at Williamtown this morning, as Newcastle Airport CEO Dr Peter Cock signed a Heads of Agreement with major multinational defence contractor BAE Systems to lease land in the precinct.
“With the rollout of the F35A Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) fleet and the Newcastle Airport’s plans for growth, defence and aviation will become increasingly important sectors within the regional economy,” Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said.
“The creation of a world-class commercial precinct supporting manufacturing, education, training and research and development in these industries will help attract the world’s leading aerospace companies and best new talent to the Hunter.
“BAE Systems has already confirmed that sustainment of the JSF fleet will create direct employment within the company for 400 people in highly skilled roles.
“Astra Aerolab will also build on the good work already being done in the region to introduce students to employment and study pathways in defence and aviation, strengthening the region’s workforce capabilities and providing our young people with exciting new career opportunities.”
Astra Aerolab is expected to create 5,500 new jobs for the region in high-tech fields including aerospace engineering, avionics and IT. The NSW Government has contributed $11.7 million to kick-start the project.
“I congratulate Newcastle Airport on getting Astra Aerolab off the ground and the NSW Government for supporting this regionally important project,” Mr Hawes said.

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