Infrastructure Australia's Priority List 2021, due out on Friday, includes the airport runway and terminal expansion as a new "priority" project since the document was last updated in August.
The list includes a record 44 new projects and a total of $59 billion in proposed infrastructure spending.
The airport is pushing for terminal and runway upgrades to cater for long-range aircraft flying to the Middle East and the Americas.
"The current limitations of the terminal and runway impact inbound and outbound flights to domestic destinations and restrict access to international destinations in Oceania," the IA report says.
"This leads some passengers to commute to and from Sydney Airport for air travel."
It says upgrading the airport would reduce costs and travel times for freight that would have otherwise moved via Sydney Airport.
The airport's inclusion on the IA list is another boost for the project after Defence Minister Linda Reynolds met with airport boss Peter Cock this month. The government is yet to commit to funding the $56 million project, but Ms Reynolds said the work could coincide with planned runway upgrades this year for the RAAF's F-35 program.
The IA report quotes the airport's estimate that passenger traffic is forecast to double to 2.6 million travellers a year by 2036.
It categorises the airport's challenges as a "longer-term" problem with a timeframe of 10 to 15 years.
The NSW government's proposed Broadmeadow overhaul, including sports, entertainment and residential redevelopments, is also a new entry on the IA list as a "priority", the lowest assessment of urgency in the report.
IA says many of the 63-hectare site's facilities are "reaching the end of their usable life" and require upgrading.
"The layout of the precinct and connectivity between facilities is poor. There is also an opportunity to make better use of underutilised land," it says.
It identifies new sports fields and arenas, multi-purpose venues for other entertainment, "green infrastructure" and residential and mixed-use development as priorities for the precinct.
Other Hunter projects still on the IA list include the M1 motorway extension to Raymond Terrace, John Hunter Hospital redevelopment, freight rail upgrades to Sydney, and New England Highway bypasses at Singleton and Muswellbrook.
It also repeats its call for strategic planning to cater for larger, deep-water cargo vessels on the east coast, an issue of importance to Port of Newcastle.
Infrastructure Australia chair Julieanne Alroe says in a report preamble that regional infrastructure and renewable energy were among the organisation's focuses in 2021.
"Investing in new sources of energy is a priority for the nation," she writes.
"Recognising this opportunity, the priority list features new energy proposals, including expanding the role for renewable energy in the National Electricity Market, delivering enabling infrastructure for hydrogen exports, and investing in dispatchable energy sources to ensure the reliability and security of our energy networks."
The Hunter has been named as one of 13 hydrogen clusters across Australia as part of a push to support growth and industry collaboration within the emerging multibillion-dollar green-fuel industry.
The cluster's partners include the University of Newcastle, TAFE, HunterNet, Hunter Business Chamber, Australian Industry Group and Hunter Hydrogen Taskforce.
The IA report also adds social housing pressures in NSW as a new high-priority challenge.
It says demand for social and crisis housing in NSW is growing faster than supply and maintenance cost rises are impeding Commonwealth and state investment in new housing.
"The past decade has seen a 37 per cent increase in unmet priority social housing demand and a 70 per cent increase in homelessness across NSW," it says.
"There is a lack of funding, high maintenance costs from an ageing housing stock and increasing demand.
"Without intervention, this issue is expected to worsen.
"Unmet demand for Aboriginal housing alone is expected to result in an undersupply of more than 12,500 homes by 2031."
It proposes addressing "maintenance deficiencies" for existing housing stock, renewing "life-expired" housing stock and building new dwellings.
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