It’s a town hall meeting with a twist – it’s all via video conferencing.
In a sign of the changing times, Paterson MP Meryl Swanson is hosting a virtual town hall meeting.
This Wednesday at 10.30am, she’s encouraging locals to jump on Zoom, for a discussion on the future of the local economy and employment opportunities.
To help stimulate the economy, she’s calling for progress on several key infrastructure projects.
“As Australia enters a recession for the first time in 29 years, we need the government to take action,” Ms Swanson said.
“We need to kickstart our local economy and one way to do this is through key infrastructure projects.”
That includes the extension of the M1, also known as the Raymond Terrace bypass.
“It’s a $2 billion project that in its construction phase will employ a lot of people and I would like to ensure a percentage of local jobs for people to work on that,” she said.
“Once that road is built it will create a lot of efficiencies for our region.
“It really is the last choke point in the Sydney to Brisbane trip that needs to be fixed up, we absolutely need the last piece of the puzzle done so it will be a clear run on the M1.”
Swanson is also calling for the runway at Newcastle Airport to be strengthened to allow for bigger planes to be able to land more regularly.
“This would allow us to reach into northern markets such as South East Asia, the Pacific Islands and mainland Asia for exports or tourism,” she said.
“We could be exporting our seafood produce and beef, or more people could be coming to enjoy Port Stephens or the vineyards.”
Special guests taking part in the Zoom meeting include the Shadow Minister for Employment Brendan O’Connor and Catherine King, the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development.
“I’m asking the community to come and be part of the Zoom session, and get to talk to those people and really just hear from them and ask them questions but also share their ideas of what they may have for the region,” Ms Swanson said.
The meeting will also be an opportunity to discuss employment and support for small business.
“With the government threatening to turn the tap off on JobKeeper and the JobSeeker coronavirus supplement, I know this has many people in the community worried,” Ms Swanson added.
“It’s important we talk about how this might impact our community.”
Register here if you’d like to attend.