The Hunter Business Chamber has welcomed funding provided in Tuesday’s NSW State Budget for some of the region’s promised infrastructure projects, including the John Hunter Health and Innovation Precinct, Nelson Bay Road duplication and a new Nelson Bay TAFE building.

While the $3.5 million pledged to begin planning the John Hunter redevelopment is a modest portion of the $780 million project cost, it is important to see a commitment to getting the project under way.

The redevelopment is a significant project for our region, with a forecast completion date just seven years away, so we are pleased to see the NSW Government immediately backing up its election promise with planning funds.

The Nelson Bay Road duplication, which received $37.3 million, is important to improving connectivity between Port Stephens and Newcastle. Combined with the planned extension of the M1 to Raymond Terrace, enhancing access to Newcastle Airport and the Port of Newcastle. The M1 project received $6 million, following a $1.6 billion federal budget commitment earlier this year.

Upper Hunter commuters and businesses will benefit from the $28.7 million to continue construction of Scone Bypass and $47.2 million for heavy vehicle safety works and flood alleviation on the Golden Highway.

We were also pleased to see planning funds committed to the Muswellbrook and Singleton bypasses, and for the final stage of the Newcastle Inner City Bypass, but will be pressing the government to expedite these projects to construction stage in future budgets.

The inclusion of Williamtown defence, aviation and aerospace precinct in a $20 million allocation from the Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund to investigate Special Activation Precincts (SAP) in NSW was an important step forward. A Special Activation Precinct (SAP) is a dedicated area in a regional location identified by the NSW Government to become a thriving business hub.

While the government is yet to formally announce Williamtown as a SAP, its designation as such would bring benefits such as fast-tracked planning processes and government-led development and infrastructure investment.

The Chamber was pleased to see a commitment to building a TAFE Connected Learning Centre in Port Stephens, which will allow for broader course offerings on the Tomaree Peninsula, particularly in target skills areas such as the tourism and hospitality, aged care and marine industries.

Countdown is on to the Hunter Business Awards

Has the past year been a good one for your business? Would you like to share your success with your peers in business and the wider community?

The Hunter Business Awards, celebrating excellence, achievement and leadership by businesses and individuals, are now open for entries.

Entering the awards is a great way to achieve recognition for your business, boost your brand and publicly acknowledge staff for their great work. It’s also the perfect opportunity to take a fresh look at your business model and have it assessed by our expert judges.

Awards will be presented this year in 17 categories, including new awards for Excellence in Retail and Hospitality and Excellence in Micro Business.

We are proud to welcome the University of Newcastle back as our major sponsor in 2019, as well as our many wonderful category sponsors.

Entries close at 5pm on Monday 15 July 2019, with the awards to be presented at a gala black-tie dinner at NEX, in Newcastle, on Friday 23 August.

Winners in aligned categories will progress to the NSW Business Chamber State Business Awards in Sydney on Friday 22 November.

Entry packs and award information are available online: hunterbusinessawards.com.au