DEPUTY Premier John Barilaro announced $11.7 million in funding to create a transformational defence, aviation, aerospace and technology precinct set to generate over 5,500 jobs in the Hunter region.
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The Deputy Premier Barilaro made the announcement at Newcastle Airport with the Parliamentary Secretary for the Upper Hunter Scot Macdonald, Newcastle Airport CEO Dr Peter Cock, Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer, Newcastle Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, and Councillors overlooking the new precinct near the RAAF Base Williamtown.
Mr Barilaro said the new ‘Astra Aerolab’ will house maintenance and support services for Australian fighter jets and drive $246 million into the NSW economy.
“This investment will capitalise on the existing economic strengths of the region, securing 76 hectares of special purpose land committed to defence and aviation- related industry and employment,” he said.
“Over its lifetime, this new precinct will create thousands of direct and indirect jobs including roles for aviation IT and avionic specialists, mechanics and engineers, in the Hunter,” Mr Barilaro said.
“This is an exciting announcement in one of the state’s most exciting industries and regions,” he said.
Newcastle Airport CEO Dr Peter Cock said, “We are very proud to be working with the NSW Government on Astra Aerolab.”
“As a community-owned asset, we take our role in generating economic and social outcomes seriously.”
Port Stephens Council, a 50 percent shareholder of Newcastle Airport, will use the NSW Government funding to pay for water, sewer, gas, electrical and broadband connections, as well as construction of a major access road.
Newcastle Airport will co-contribute $7.86 m to the $19.66m project to activate the lead in road and initial site preparation.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast and Hunter Scot MacDonald said the precinct is in prime position to tap into existing manufacturing and supply chain businesses for trade and distribution with Newcastle Airport and major rail and road links nearby.
“This a fantastic project that will give our local economy a boost and secure the long – term viability of both the Williamtown Base and Newcastle Airport,” Mr MacDonald said.
“The NSW Government is working hard to make our regions a great place to start a career, to live and to raise a family and this kind of project could have been overlooked if it weren’t for the Growing Local Economies Fund.”