Hunter Business Chamber will make a pre-election pitch to both sides of politics to speed up key infrastructure projects in the region, including faster trains to Sydney, the inner-city bypass and an upgraded airport.
The chamber will launch its list of state election priorities on Tuesday, arguing the state has dragged its feet on important projects which will attract and cater for a growing population.
The list includes four major road upgrades: completing the inner-city bypass to Jesmond; the M1 extension to Raymond Terrace; dual carriageway from Stockton to Williamtown airport; and the Singleton and Muswellbrook bypasses.
The chamber also singles out the John Hunter Hospital, Broadmeadow and airport precincts as drivers of the Hunter economy.
“Some have stalled due to lack of funding or feasibility studies; some have yet to advance past the concept stage,” chamber president Hennie du Plooy said.
“In all cases, we will be asking candidates to confirm their commitment to seeing these regionally significant projects implemented.”
Health Minister Brad Hazzard attended a workshop in Newcastle last year to launch discussions about overhauling the hospital, which he said would be like a “new suburb”.
The government unveiled a draft master plan for a Broadmeadow sports and entertainment precinct 18 months ago but has not yet delivered a business case.
The Newcastle Herald reported last week that the airport, which is co-owned by Newcastle and Port Stephens councils, had asked the state government for $147 million for runway and terminal works which could open up new routes into Asia.
“The seven priorities the chamber has identified are short- to medium-term projects that are vital to improving the region’s transport connectivity, liveability, economic diversity and competitiveness,” Mr du Plooy said.
The last stage of the inner-city bypass was announced in 2014, but the Herald reported in December that work may not start for another year.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian committed another $205 million last month for more dual carriageway on Nelson Bay Road, but the announcement did not include the section of road between Williamtown and Stockton and fell well short of former premier Mike Baird’s 2015 promise of “full duplication”.