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World leading defence precinct takes flight at Newcastle

Off the back of the recent 2022-23 budget announcements and $55 million commitment to upgrade and expand Newcastle Airport’s international passenger terminal, the Hunter is taking flight as investment pours into the region.

Off the back of the recent 2022-23 budget announcements and $55 million commitment to upgrade and expand Newcastle Airport’s international passenger terminal, the Hunter is taking flight as investment pours into the region.

The upgrade of Newcastle Airport is a nationally significant project and a game-changer for Northern NSW. Combined with the $66 million Code E upgrade of the runway, the region is on a path towards true global connectivity. 

This recent funding, receiving support from both sides of Government, is a indisputable show of confidence in the region, and it could not have come at a better time as international skies re-open. This continued investment in the Hunter will bring huge, sustainable economic benefits across the region in key areas such as tourism, defence, innovation, education and new freight-related industries, including import and export.

The freight opportunities for regional NSW are significant, with 20,000 tonnes cargo to be exported from the region carrying an economical value of $2.1 billion. This will grow to 49,000 tonnes at an economic value of $4.7 billion by 2040, creating 2,750 direct and indirect jobs for regional NSW.

Deputy Prime Minister, The Hon. Barnaby Joyce, said the Federal Government was focused on making the Hunter Region as strong as possible, as quickly as possible.

“This big investment by the Australian taxpayer is part of a massive package for the Hunter Valley. Our plan is for the Airport…our plan is to bring businesses in.”

With a renewed focus from both Federal and State Governments on growing key regions across NSW, Newcastle Airport and its world leading defence, aerospace and innovation precinct, Astra Aerolab, are in an enviable position thanks to recent Defence and infrastructure announcements.  

In his 2022-23 budget address, Federal Treasurer, The Hon. Josh Frydenberg, outlined funds that will be allocated to bolstering sovereign manufacturing capability, with a focus on driving collaboration between universities, CSIRO and industry to commercialise new technologies in Defence and other priority areas. This is off the back of a 10-year Defence capability plan worth more than $270 billion that supports over 100,000 jobs. 

Newcastle Airport CEO Peter Cock said Astra Aerolab will be a key enabler for the Government’s future plans.   

“We’ve seen our region evolve quickly in recent years, and we’re confident Astra Aerolab will be a catalyst for further growth and development into the future. I’m confident this development will become the pre-eminent space for innovation in aviation, Defence and aerospace-related manufacturing, maintenance, research and education in Australia,” Dr Cock said.

The Hunter is a national leader in Defence support, supply and sustainment with strong industry capabilities across land, sea and air. The industry is spearheaded by a strong presence of prime contractors with established advanced manufacturing capabilities and a strong logistical network. The Williamtown Special Activation Precinct, focussed on Defence and aerospace to support RAAF Base Williamtown, ideally positions the Hunter as reliance on sovereign supply chains increase in the coming decades.  

These significant Defence announcements come at a time when the NSW State Government Greater Cities Commission makes moves to establish a ‘globally competitive city region’ by bringing together the cities of the lower Hunter, Greater Newcastle, Central Coast, Greater Sydney and Illawarra-Shoalhaven, in its six-cities vision. 

Chief Commissioner Geoff Roberts AM said the passing of the Greater Cities Commission Bill 2022 signalled a new era for strategic city planning in Australia.

“We are well and truly in the era of the global city region – in bringing six cities together, we are putting our communities at the heart of a globally facing region,” Mr Roberts said.

“The move will deliver economic and lifestyle benefits to millions of people, supporting growth with fit-for-life infrastructure.”

Greater Sydney Commission Chief Executive Elizabeth Mildwater said the Commission would focus on bringing stakeholders together to collaborate on future planning for a new city region that benefits local communities.

“Each of the six cities will build on its own signature strengths and character. We’ll keep what’s working well today in each city and supercharge this with the combined power that comes with being part of the larger world-class city region,” Ms Mildwater said.

Newcastle Airport Chair, Kirby Clark, said now is the time to invest in the Hunter Region and the rapidly growing Airport precinct, including Astra Aerolab. 

“Our focus now turns to our freight handling capacity and our unique Defence and aerospace industries opportunities afforded us by our proximity to the premier fighter jet base in Australia.”

Stage 1 at Astra Aerolab is now leasing, find out more about bringing your next base of operations on site and enjoy co-location with Newcastle Airport and RAAF Base Willamtown at Australia’s premier aerospace precinct. 



World leading defence precinct takes flight at Newcastle
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