NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes last week released the Hunter Regional Plan 2036 and Central Coast Regional Plan 2036, which will guide the planning priorities and land use decisions in each region over the next two decades.
Mr Stokes said the Hunter Regional Plan aims to create and support thriving urban, rural and coastal communities, with greater housing choice and jobs, better public transport and a green-grid of natural areas and corridors, linking communities to public open space.
"More than 100 actions are listed to strengthen the economy, protect and improve the area's rich natural environment, create thriving communities and provide locals with greater housing choice and jobs," the Minister said.
"The plan aims to create a strong diversified economy with a vibrant metropolitan city at its heart that takes advantage of the region's global gateways, the Newcastle Airport and Port of Newcastle," he said.
According to the Plan, employment in the Newcastle city centre will grow from 25,000 to 33,000, encouraged by the $460 million Urban Transformation and Transport Program that includes the new light rail project.
There will also be strong employment growth elsewhere in the Hunter region with the present 322,000 total jobs increasing to 384,000.
Following community consultation over the past year a number of changes have been made since the release of the draft plan, including a goal for greater housing choice and jobs and priority action to secure long term protection of regionally significant biodiversity corridors.
Meanwhile, the Central Coast Regional Plan 2036 sets out a new vision that will see Gosford and the wider region grow with improved professional, government and health services, better transport and public open space.
Mr Stokes said this will be underpinned by the hundreds of millions of dollars the NSW Government is investing in the Central Coast, including $550 million for Gosford and Wyong hospitals, funding for schools such as $9 million for works at Point Clare Public School and more than $600 million for regional road improvements.
"This plan sets out the vision for the Central Coast to ensure this wonderful region grows and flourishes into the future with more jobs close to home, better transport, improved public facilities and high quality greenspace areas," Mr Stokes said.
"With our huge investment in infrastructure and services, we want to make people's lives better as this region grows and changes."