Calls for post-COVID stimulus funding in the Hunter


Wallsend State MP Sonia Hornery and Newcastle State MP Tim Crakanthorp have called for a raft of projects to be prioritised and fast-tracked as part of a post-COVID economic stimulus.

It comes after more than 26,000 thousand people lost their jobs in the Hunter over the past two months and the NSW Government’s announcement of an additional $3 billion in infrastructure funding to stimulate regional economies.

Priority projects for the region include the diversification of the Port of Newcastle, expansion of Newcastle Airport, John Hunter Hospital redevelopment, and several others.

The calls follow comments from the Reserve Bank of Australia that governments need to invest 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.

Mr 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,” he said.

“With interest rates at record lows and tens of thousands out of work, now is the time to get on and deliver them.

“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.”

Ms Hornery said that similar projects in Sydney had been fast-tracked in the last month and it was important that the Hunter gots 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% of regional NSW’s economic output.

“Projects like the Wallsend flood mitigation works are absolutely critical to protecting businesses in the Wallsend CBD.”

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