WITH the NSW Election looming next month, the Singleton and Muswellbrook bypasses remain high on everyone’s wish list.
And, that includes the Hunter Business Chamber (HBC), which joined the fight this week.
The organisation is calling on state candidates to commit to the delivery of the Singleton and Muswellbrook bypasses as part of its 2019 campaign.
Recently, it was revealed that the Muswellbrook bypass had been pushed back by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) by six-to-eight years.
The HBC launched a regional advocacy platform for the state election, asking candidates from all sides of politics to promise to progressing key regional infrastructure projects during the next term of government.
The Hunter is set to boom as an economic region and lifestyle hub, but its future prosperity relies heavily on the delivery of projects that will enhance its appeal as a region in which to live, invest and do business.
HBC president Hennie du Plooy said it had identified seven priorities, from short-to-medium term projects.
“These are vital to improving the region’s transport connectivity, liveability, economic diversity and competitiveness,” he explained.
“Some have stalled due to lack of funding or feasibility studies while some have yet to advance past the concept stage.
“In all cases, we will be asking candidates to confirm their commitment to seeing these regionally significant projects implemented.”
The chamber’s regional priority projects fall into two categories.
1. Essential transport infrastructure to keep the region moving, providing connectivity and efficiency to stimulate economic growth, while improving safety and convenience for local communities and ensuring productivity is not stifled by congestion.
* Progress on the Singleton and Muswellbrook bypasses
* Improved transport connectivity with Sydney (faster rail)
* Implementation funding for the final stage of the Inner City Bypass
* Improved road links to the global trade and tourism gateways of Newcastle Airport and the Port of Newcastle, including the M1 extension to Raymond Terrace, dual carriageway from Hexham to Williamtown and dual carriageway from Stockton to Williamtown
2. Priority precincts that will drive employment growth, economic diversification, tourism and, in the case of the Broadmeadow precinct, enhance urban amenity and liveability.
* John Hunter Hospital redevelopment
* Broadmeadow Sports and Entertainment Precinct
* Newcastle Airport Precinct – runway and terminal upgrade
The HBC will also support the NSW Business Chamber in promoting its statewide Keeping NSW No 1 campaign.
Four pillars comprise the campaign: Skilling NSW for the future and tackling youth unemployment; cutting energy costs for NSW businesses and residents; improving the delivery of major infrastructure; and protecting NSW from natural disasters.
Hunter Business Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said each pillar had strong resonance for the business sector and communities in the Hunter region.
“Infrastructure delivery, in particular, is a significant issue, which is why we have made that the basis of our region-specific pillar,” he added.
“Skills shortages and energy prices are also key issues, as local businesses have told us through our quarterly business conditions surveys.
“And, our region is unfortunately well aware of the need for good disaster management planning due to its experiences with fires, floods, storms and earthquake.
“The Hunter Business Chamber will do our best to ensure all of these priorities, regional and state, are on the to-do list of the next state government.”