The announcement today by the Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole of the start of the community consultation process for the Lower Hunter Freight Corridor has been warmly welcomed by Business Hunter.
“This project has been on the infrastructure list in the Hunter Region for a very long time. We are pleased the Government is now taking this forward to the consultation stage in line with programming in successive state government budgets in recent times” said Business Hunter CEO, Bob Hawes.
“Business Hunter has been calling for this project to be properly investigated over a long period of time. Consultation on the potential corridor for the line is an important first step, even though construction could be decades away” Bob Hawes added.
“We are relieved this step has been taken, as we were concerned that if it did not proceed the allocation of funds in the state budgets could be dumped.
“The tide of urban development has been creeping westwards for decades and it is vital that reservation of a suitable corridor occurs before this task becomes too constrained due to the local impacts in the event the line is built.
“We understand much of land on the proposed route is Government-owned and equally this presents an opportunity for land reservation and acquisition to occur with a minimum of disruption to the community.
“The potential opportunities of the piece of infrastructure have long been lauded and they not only bring efficiencies to the freight task of the region, the state and the nation, but will also bring benefits and opportunity for the urban areas of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie that surround the main northern rail line”.
We urge business and the community to show interest in this project and review the documentation, understanding consultation runs until 17 August 2021.