On the cusp of its five year anniversary, Regional Development Australia’s Hunter Chair, Dr Gaye Hart AM said that Australia’s largest regional economy is continuing its focus on investment, building its infrastructure, and through an innovative education program, supporting the workplace potential of its young people.
“To date, RDA Hunter’s advice and advocacy has attracted more than $340 million in investment. However this investment needs to be maintained if we are to continue to grow and harness further tourism, investment and energy demand from Asia; be able to leverage the potential of the digital economy; and support the current and potential workforces through education and innovation.”
“While the Hunter Region is producing over 60% of NSW’s electricity and 40% of the state’s coal resources, the Hunter is increasingly being recognised for its efforts in managing growth during another transition period.”
Dr Hart opened the panel discussions at CEDA’s 8th Annual Newcastle and Hunter Economic Development Forum, with a focus on Transitioning to a new and sustainable regional economy.
Held over two days last week, the CEDA forum covered other topics such as infrastructure redevelopment, innovation and economic and environmental health.
A keynote presentation came from The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP, NSW Minister for Transport and NSW Minister for the Hunter who congratulated RDA Hunter on its upcoming five year anniversary and said that the NSW Government and RDA Hunter had a shared goal of making sure the Hunter Region reaches its full economic potential.
“The NSW Government is investing record amounts to improve infrastructure and services in the Hunter. The NSW Budget this year alone includes an extra $100 million for the Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund, taking the total allocation in the Budget to $285 million ‚Äì the biggest yet.”
“In transport we are investing $5 million to upgrade the Hunter region’s dedicated trains as well as a further $2.8 billion to procure a brand new intercity train fleet.
“We’re also getting on with the job to revitalise Newcastle CBD and unlock its potential by truncating the heavy rail line and constructing a modern and reliable light rail network to connect the city centre and foreshore.”
“By working collaboratively with the community and organisations such as RDA Hunter – the NSW Government is working hard to bring jobs, residents and visitors to the region.”
Other guest speakers included:
- Greg Adcock, Chief Operating Officer, NBNCo
- Dr Brent Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer, Hunter Research Foundation‚Ä®
- Councillor Brad Luke, Deputy Lord Mayor, Newcastle City Council‚Ä®
- Jeff Phillips, Managing Director and Chairman, Varley Group
- Garry Bowditch, Chief Executive Officer, SMART Infrastructure Facility, University of Wollongong ‚Ä®
- Jeff Coleman, Chief Executive Officer, Port of Newcastle‚Ä®
- John Fullerton, Chief Executive Officer, ARTC‚Ä®
- Bob Hawes, General Manager, Hunter Development Corporation‚Ä®
- Professor Richard Dunford, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Business and Law, University of Newcastle ‚Ä®
- Mark Fitzgibbon, Chief Executive Officer, NIB Health Funds ‚Ä®
- Kristen Keegan, Chief Executive Officer, Hunter Business Chamber‚Ä®
- Kim Wood, Chief Executive Officer, Hunter Water
- Katie Brassil, General Manager, External Affairs, Centennial Coal‚Ä®
- Nigel Buchanan, Manager, Environmental Applications and Compliance, TransGrid‚Ä®
- Dr Peter Mayfield, Chief – Energy Technology, CSIRO