Govt vision for Hunter in 2021

THE state government says the Hunter of 2021 will have affordable housing, planned land uses, a revitalised Newcastle city centre and a diversified economy, but the opposition has panned the vision as a ‘‘plan to plan’’.

The Hunter regional action plan forms part of the government’s overall state plan for a decade, and follows the release of a draft and community consultation.

‘‘The region will continue to grow and diversify, by building on areas of excellence and competitive advantages in industries including mining, defence, tourism, agriculture, energy, health and education,’’ the document says.

Included is a commitment to release this year a concept design for an upgrade of the Tourle Street bridge and Cormorant Road, the completion of Nelson Bay Road’s widening in 2015, upgrade of Maitland’s New England Highway roundabouts by late  2015, and the continued planning of bypasses of Singleton and Muswellbrook.

A new facility for the Hazardous Materials Response Unit would also be built in Newcastle to improve the response to incidents.

The document sets out a range of further plans and strategies the government will draw up,  including a Hunter transport plan, due this year, a Hunter infrastructure plan, a regional waste avoidance strategy, and a regional illegal dumping program.

Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery said she was disappointed there were no firm commitments to new projects.

Opposition Leader John Robertson said the Hunter deserved ‘‘funded infrastructure projects with concrete delivery timelines, not a series of platitudes and a plan to create another plan’’.

The office of the Minister for the Hunter, Mike Gallacher, did not respond to a request for comment.

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