A STRATEGIC and far-sighted plan for Greater Newcastle will see it forge ahead as a dynamic city with a globally competitive economy and a great lifestyle, according to the NSW Government, which last week announced the release of the Draft Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan.
Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and the Hunter Scot MacDonald said the release of the draft plan follows extensive community engagement over the last nine months.
"As the Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, I'm proud to be able to announce this exciting and ambitious plan for Greater Newcastle," Mr MacDonald said. He added that Greater Newcastle has grown from an industrial town to a successful diversified economy, and is now primed to step up as Australia's newest metropolitan city.
"There is already a great buzz in Newcastle – with investment in aviation, defence industries, transport, education, health and tourism growing strongly. It has a beautiful natural setting framed by beaches, lakes, a bustling harbour, and vineyards to the west. It is a highly attractive and liveable place to work, study and establish a home," Mr MacDonald said.
"This first ever Draft Metropolitan Plan for Greater Newcastle capitalises on this momentum to drive the transformation of the city through a collaborative approach between the NSW Government and the five local councils of Greater Newcastle.
"Working together, we can drive sustainable growth and help Greater Newcastle to reach its full potential as a vibrant, connected metropolitan city."
Developed by the Department of Planning and Environment, with engagement from the councils and stakeholders of Greater Newcastle, the draft plan sets out four key goals with detailed strategies of how to achieve them.
NSW Chief Planner Gary White said the Metropolitan Plan means that by 2036, Greater Newcastle can expect to have a growing entrepreneurial economy, a rich natural environment, a wide variety of housing and jobs to choose from, and thriving communities.
"Greater Newcastle is expected to grow to 700,000 people in 2036, with potential to grow further over the longer term, making it an important metropolitan city," Mr White said.
"That projected growth reflects Greater Newcastle's strengths and its enormous potential. However, until today it was the only Australian city of this size without a Metropolitan plan. This is an exciting and significant step.
"The plan is for everyone who lives in Greater Newcastle. I encourage people to come and read the draft plan and have their say – feedback from the exhibition will help shape the final plan."
To support the metropolitan plan, the Department has also announced there will be a new draft Hunter Region Special Infrastructure Contribution (SIC) to ensure new homes constructed in Greater Newcastle and the broader Hunter Region are supported by essential infrastructure such as roads, schools, and health and emergency services.
"A SIC is a contribution from developers to help deliver infrastructure needed for growing communities and the commitment to a SIC is a significant sign of the government's commitment to the future of Greater Newcastle," Mr MacDonald said.
The Draft Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan is on exhibition until 28 February 2018. More information is available from the Department of Planning and Environment website at <http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Plans-for-your-area/Greater-Newcastle-metropolitan-planning>.