Senate debates

Wednesday, 30 March 2022


Budget: Regional Development

1:54 pm

Photo of Perin DaveyPerin Davey (NSW, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to bring some good news to the chamber. In the last few weeks I've been back up into the Hunter region. I met with the Singleton and Muswellbrook councils, and in previous visits to the area I've met with the Cessnock and Lake Macquarie councils. The one piece of feedback I continually get from that area is that it is poised for a bright, vivid and exciting future, and I am proud of our government for recognising and identifying the Hunter as a key hub for regional development in our budget last night. We have dedicated $750 million for projects in the Hunter region to establish it as a key regional development and energy security hub in New South Wales.

The Hunter already has everything going for it: it has resources, it has farming, it has tourism, wineries and defence. And it's got me standing here, happily representing it and very proudly advocating for its future. It has opportunities for economic diversification, and that is exactly what our regional hub investment is going to boost. The investment includes almost $270 million to build the New England Highway bypass of Muswellbrook to improve freight outcomes for the region. We're also investing $100 million to support further activities and early works to make the Port of Newcastle hydrogen-export ready. This complements the state and federal governments' commitment to make the Hunter a hydrogen hub into the future. We're also investing in the fast rail from Sydney to Newcastle, because the Hunter is our future.