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Chamber welcomes infrastructure funds in NSW Budget

Release Date: 18/06/2019
The Hunter Business Chamber has welcomed funding provided in today’s NSW State Budget for some of the region’s promised infrastructure projects, including the John Hunter Health and Innovation Precinct, Nelson Bay Road duplication and a new Nelson Bay TAFE building.
Chamber President Hennie du Plooy said that while the $3.5 million pledged to begin planning the John Hunter redevelopment was a modest portion of the $780 million project cost, it was important to see a commitment to getting the project under way.
“This is a very significant project for our region, with a forecast completion date just seven years away, so we are pleased to see the NSW Government immediately backing up its election promise with planning funds,” Mr du Plooy said.
“The new precinct will meet increasing demand for a broad range of health services and contribute significantly to the development of the region’s knowledge sector, which will drive growth in employment and new industries.”
Mr du Plooy said the Nelson Bay Road duplication, which received $37.3 million, was important to improving connectivity between Port Stephens and Newcastle and, combined with the planned extension of the M1 to Raymond Terrace, enhancing access to Newcastle Airport and the Port of Newcastle. The M1 project received $6 million, following a $1.6 billion federal budget commitment earlier this year.
Upper Hunter commuters and businesses will benefit from the $28.7 million to continue construction of Scone Bypass and $47.2 million for heavy vehicle safety works and flood alleviation on the Golden Highway. The Chamber was also pleased to see planning funds committed to the Muswellbrook and Singleton bypasses, and for the final stage of the Newcastle Inner City Bypass, but will be pressing the Government to expedite these projects to construction stage in future budgets.
The Chamber applauded the inclusion of Williamtown in a $20 million allocation from the Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund to investigate Special Activation Precincts in NSW.
“The Williamtown defence, aviation and aerospace precinct promises to be a significant driver of new jobs and business investment for our region,” Mr du Plooy said.
The Chamber was pleased to see a commitment to building a TAFE Connected Learning Centre in Port Stephens, which will allow for broader course offerings on the Tomaree Peninsula, particularly in target skills areas such as the tourism and hospitality, aged care and marine industries.
However, it was disappointed by the lack of significant funding to advance planning for the Lower Hunter freight rail bypass or corridor preservation, which is a key regional priority.

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