The region’s peak policy and advocacy organisation for business, Business Hunter, has welcomed a $1billion contribution from the Commonwealth Government to upgrade the rail line between Newcastle and Sydney, saying the investment must realise a number of key performance indicators if it is to be deemed worthwhile expenditure of taxpayer dollars.
Business Hunter CEO, Bob Hawes, says that promises for Newcastle to Sydney fast rail have been made by governments for decades and there was a lot of interest in how this $1billion pledge would result in faster travel times.
“Improving and quickening the travel experience for business commuters must be the key indicators of successful investment by any government, in any budget,” Mr Hawes said.
“We’ve been meeting with federal members and candidates over the past few months and delivering a really simple message – cut travel times by at least 45 minutes; but importantly, build Wi-Fi connectivity into all interregional commuter trains immediately, so that commuters can get on with business during what is currently a three-hour commute.
Business Hunter says faster rail and better port, air, rail and road connectivity to improve business and commercial mobility across the Hunter and Northern NSW are some of their key asks for the 2022 election campaign.
“Faster rail with better connectivity between Sydney and Newcastle is essential to deliver better commercial outcomes for business,” Mr Hawes said.
“But we’re also asking the next government to team faster rail with other critical infrastructure policies that deliver improved freight connectivity across the Hunter’s air, port, rail and roads network and the other regions we link to through these assets.
“Business Hunter are asking the next government to make commitments that will allow the Hunter region to deliver on our economic potential to service the growing business, commercial and industrial needs of the entire north and north-west of the state and create thousands of jobs along the way,” he said.