Hunter Business Chamber welcomes JHH commitment

Health Minister Brad Hazzard speaking at the Hunter Business Chamber lunch at Souths on February 22. Credit: AJM Photography

The Hunter Business Chamber has welcomed funding commitments by the NSW Government and Labor to the redevelopment of John Hunter Hospital (JHH), saying the expansion of the health precinct will provide a substantial boost to the regional economy, enhance our innovation sector and provide the community with better health care.

The Chamber highlighted the JHH precinct redevelopment as one of the region’s most important infrastructure priorities in its 2019 State election advocacy platform. Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced $780 million funding for the project on Sunday, a figure the Shadow Health Minister, Walt Secord, later said Labor would match.

“Redevelopment of the John Hunter campus will deliver increased and improved clinical capacity and facilitate an enhanced health, education and research precinct servicing the region and northern NSW,” Hunter Business Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said.

“The precinct will meet increasing demand for a broad range of health services and contribute significantly to the development of the region’s knowledge sector, driving employment growth and economic diversification.”

Mr Hazzard hinted at the scale of the JHH redevelopment when he spoke at a Hunter Business Chamber lunch at Souths on February 22, telling the audience he was “pushing very hard for the government and treasury to come forward with a big bucket of money”.

“The Minister has personally led this project and it is great to see a commitment both to funding and an immediate start on the project in the next term of government,” Mr Hawes said.

“The JHH precinct is the region’s single largest employer – more than 4,000 people work there, including nearly 20 per cent of the region’s health, science and IT workers – so its contribution as an economic driver for the region cannot be underestimated.”