Despite the significant challenges we have faced this year, the construction and infrastructure pipeline in Newcastle and the Hunter Region continues to be strong. From the nearly completed Hunter Mall redevelopment and the long-awaited deep water terminal proposal to the potential of a new gas power plant at Kurri Kurri, announced by the Prime Minister this week, there are some incredible projects on the horizon.
These projects represent significant employment opportunities and would boost the local economy in the mid-to-long term. So in the lead up to the October federal budget, let’s take a look at some of the Hunter’s largest planned and proposed job-creating projects.
While the Muswellbrook Bypass is already underway, it’s the longer-term prospects of significant proposals put forward by the Port of Newcastle and Newcastle Airport that offer the brightest hope for job creation and economic prosperity as the nation looks at economic recovery post COVID-19. Federal government support is being sought for the projects, both of which have potential to generate significant benefits at a regional, state and national scale.
Newcastle Multi-Purpose Deepwater Terminal
- Location: Port of Newcastle, Mayfield
- Outline: Construction of a world-class, highly-automated container terminal with direct ship-to-rail capability and future-proof channel depth capacity to ensure accommodation of Ultra Large Container Vessels.
- Stage of project: Proposed
- Investment: $1.8 billion
- Job creation: 9,271 FTE direct and indirect for the Lower Hunter
- Economic benefit: $671 million direct and flow-on contribution to household income, $1.3 billion direct and flow-on contribution to the Lower Hunter
Newcastle Airport Code E runway and terminal upgrades
- Location: Newcastle Airport, Port Stephens
- Outline: Upgrade of runway and terminal to standard required for international aviation (Code E).
- Stage of project: Proposed
- Investment: $65 million
- Job creation: 4,500 FTE
- Economic benefit: $120 million through in international airfreight, industrial expansion and tourism
- Location: New England Highway. Muswellbrook
- Outline: Bypass of Muswellbrook
- Stage of project: Concept design and environmental assessment (commencement due 2022)
- Investment: $266 million (NSW Government funded)
- Economic benefit: improved network efficiency and travel times for long haul freight movements, improved safety for Muswellbrook township road users.
The University of Newcastle’s STEMM Regional Transformation Hub is another project that keenly aligns with federal priorities, offering a significant contribution to a skills-shortage in emerging industries.
The University of Newcastle STEMM Regional Transformation Hub
- Location: The University of Newcastle, Callaghan
- Outline: Establishment of an industry-led hub where businesses, researchers, students and trainees work side-by-side developing new ideas, learning pathways, products and services with commercial application.
- Stage of project: Enabling works commenced
- Investment: $207 million
- Job creation: 2,100 FTE during construction
- Economic benefit: Will accommodate 2,300 staff, students, researchers and industry partners, setting up the region as a leader in STEMM.
Secured state government funding paints a healthy picture for job creation in healthcare over the coming years, with significant redevelopment and new builds creating new opportunities in medical specialisation and associated industries. Work on the John Hunter Hospital redevelopment was brought forward to establish an interim emergency department in April 2020, allowing the existing emergency department to expand and manage any COVID-19 response needs.
John Hunter Health and Innovation Precinct
- Location: John Hunter Hospital, New Lambton Heights
- Outline: Creation of a larger hospital facility to meet the demands of the Greater Newcastle, Hunter New England and northern NSW Regions. The precinct will encourage partnership with key health, education and research partners from within and beyond the immediate region.
- Stage of project: Enabling works commenced
- Investment: $780 million (NSW Government funded)
- Job creation: 2,100 FTE during construction, 7,800 FTE healthcare and health precinct workforce
- Economic benefit: Will deliver better surgical and critical services, encourage connections between industry and research, and attract associated businesses.
New Maitland Hospital
- Location: Metford
- Outline: Construction of the new Maitland Hospital to meet the growing health service needs associated with anticipated growth in the Maitland region.
- Stage of project: Works commenced, on track to open early 2022
- Investment: $470 million (NSW Government funded)
- Job creation: 1,250 FTE during construction, 5,000 direct and indirect new jobs
- Economic benefit: Will provide emergency care, surgical services, critical care, maternity services, paediatric care, cardiac catheterisation, inpatient beds, mental health, palliative care, chemotherapy chairs, outpatient clinics and dental to the rapidly-growing Maitland population.
Retail and residential
In the shorter- and mid-term, several significant retail and residential developments are nearing completion or preparing to commence construction. The Bennetts Green retail complex will create much-needed entry-level positions for young job seekers in the near-term, and specialised highly-skilled hospitality roles will emerge as the QT and Kingsley Hotel developments ready themselves for launch over the coming months.
Hunter Street Mall Redevelopment
- Location: Newcastle CBD, East End
- Outline: Major residential and retail development in Hunter Street Mall, including 210 residential apartments across three buildings above retail and commercial spaces.
- Stage of project: Works in progress, Stage 1 nearing completion
- Investment: $700 million (Iris Capital)
- Economic benefit: $2 billion in investment along Hunter Street since investment announced, including record sales figures
Bennetts Green Retail Development
- Location: Bennetts Green
- Outline: 30,000 sqm retail centre, featuring major retailers Bunnings Warehouse, Spotlight, Anaconda, McDonalds, Nick Scali, BP, PetStock, and others.
- Stage of project: Near completion
- Investment: $90 million (Spotlight Group)
- Job creation: 825 FTE during construction (now close to completion), 250 FTE across 10 confirmed retail businesses
- Economic benefit: activation of long-term vacant land and creation of significant local employment opportunities at entry-level.
Former Pasminco site redevelopment
- Location: Boolaroo
- Outline: 14,000 sqm Costco warehouse and petrol station planned for former Pasminco lead and zinc smelter site; 500 homes over 55 hectares planned by Green Capital Group
- Stage of project: Costco application under consideration, with expectation to be operational within 12 months of approval. Green Capital Group in planning stages.
- Investment: $60 million (Costco Australia) / $240 million (Green Capital Group)
- Job creation: 80 FTE during construction, 225 FTE at completion (Costco). 400 FTE during construction (Green Capital Group)
- Economic benefit: Joint $300 million direct and indirect benefit for the local economy
QT Hotel Development
- Location: East End
- Outline: 106-room high-end boutique hotel conversion of former historic David Jones Building, including signature QT restaurant and rooftop bar.
- Stage of project: Works in progress
- Investment: Part of $700 million Iris Capital redevelopment of Hunter Street Mall, with management agreement in place with Event Hospitality
Crystalbrook’s Kingsley Hotel development
- Location: Newcastle CBD
- Outline: Transformation of the city’s former Council Administration Centre into a 130-room five-star hotel
- Stage of project: On track to open Q1 2021
- Job creation: Significant employment opportunities
- Economic benefit: huge boost to high-end tourism and a turning-point in the life of Newcastle’s cultural precinct.