Defence, infrastructure and business support budget priorities for the Hunter
The Hunter Business Chamber is seeking continued support for business in Tuesday’s NSW Budget as well as legacy infrastructure projects that will create immediate job opportunities while supporting the region’s longer term growth and economic diversification.
Noting the cumulative impacts of drought, bushfire and COVID-19 on the region’s economy over the past 12 months, the Chamber’s budget submission says the region is well-placed to support the state’s economic recovery if businesses are supported to continue trading, investing and hiring, and important infrastructure projects are prioritised.
The submission also seeks support for Hunter Defence, a taskforce financially supported by the Chamber that helps SMEs in the region take advantage of increasing opportunities in the defence sector.
“Political leaders have emphasised the importance of getting people back into work to minimise the economic impacts of COVID-19,” Hunter Business Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said.
“Recovery in the Hunter region will be best supported by regulatory and policy support for business and industry and adequate funding to ensure important enabling infrastructure can progress at speed, delivering much-needed jobs in the short term and facilitating investment and growth in the longer term.’’
Key projects the Chamber has championed in its Budget submission include the following:
Commitment to stage 2 of the John Hunter Hospital Health and Innovation Precinct;
- Funding to advance planning for the Hunter Park precinct in Broadmeadow;
- Funding to expedite the completion of the feasibility and business case for faster rail between Newcastle and Sydney;
- Further commitments to expedite major road projects including the Singleton and Muswellbrook bypasses, Newcastle Inner City Bypass and M1 extension to Raymond Terrace;
- Funding to support the continuation of the Hunter Defence Taskforce.
The Chamber has also backed regulatory reforms to assist business outlined in the Business NSW budget submission, which includes payroll tax relief for businesses that are stimulating economic recovery by hiring new staff or increasing workers’ hours.
The NSW Government recently announced in response that the budget will feature a Jobs Plus Program, which will include payroll tax relief up to a four-year period for every new job created where a business has created at least 30 new net jobs.