The Hunter Business Chamber hopes today’s State Budget will include funding for the delivery of regionally significant infrastructure projects promised during this year’s state election campaign.
“Some substantial commitments were made during the campaign and the Chamber, along with our community, hopes to see money allocated in the Budget to advance the planning, design and construction of these projects,” Chamber President Hennie du Plooy said.
The commitments made include:
· $780 million for the John Hunter Hospital redevelopment;
· $266 million to fully fund the Muswellbrook bypass;
· $205 million on top of a previously committed $70 million to duplicate Nelson Bay Road from Williamtown to Bobs Farm;
· $188 million for the Fingal Bay Link Road;
· $25 million indoor sports stadium at Hillsborough; and,
· $7 million for a Nelson Bay TAFE campus.·
Mr du Plooy said an announcement on the anticipated declaration of Williamtown as the state’s third Special Activation Precinct would also be welcome, as a driver of jobs growth and business investment, as well as funding for the Newcastle Airport runway upgrade.
Beyond infrastructure, the Chamber is looking for measures from the Budget that will boost business confidence and create economic opportunity by encouraging businesses to invest, grow and employ.
These include payroll tax concessions for regional SMEs, relief on energy costs, through the removal of state taxes and levies on energy bills, and a greater focus on skills training to tackle youth unemployment and industry skills shortages.