The NSW Nationals in the state government are calling for community input on a strategic plan to take advantage of the Hunter Expressway and make the Hunter Australia’s leading regional economy.
The Hunter Expressway is a $1.7 billion, 40km-stretch of motorway that connects communities across the region with links into the national transport and freight network between Queensland, Port of Newcastle, Greater Sydney and Western NSW.
NSW Nationals Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen said the draft Hunter Expressway Strategy sets out the vision and land uses for six interchanges along the Expressway from Branxton to Newcastle to optimise investment and job creation.
“By planning out strategically which areas are suitable for what uses in collaboration with councils, we can streamline and speed up the assessment process for development opportunities at each of the interchanges,” Mr Johnsen said.
“Branxton Interchange – the gateway to the region’s wine and tourist district – will be the prime location for housing, employment and services in the Upper Hunter and will include a new town centre, including core retail, commercial and bulky goods use.
“Newcastle’s Interchange at the cross section of the Hunter Expressway and Pacific Highway is centred on growing and new communities to the east of the highway, while the west is national park and nature reserves.
“Kurri Kurri and Loxford Interchanges will see employment land prioritised, Allandale Interchange will be home to a new community, and Buchanan Interchange and onwards through John Renshaw Drive is the designated heavy vehicle freight link to the Port of Newcastle and Newcastle Airport.
“Importantly, no new rezonings will progress unless they align with this strategy or a local council’s strategy that has been endorsed by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment or Transport for NSW.”
The NSW Nationals in the state government have worked closely with Cessnock City and Maitland City Councils to develop the strategy.
“Councils will use the interchange growth areas identified in the draft strategy to map and define land available for release, to make the most of employment opportunities and housing needs,” Cessnock Mayor Bob Pynsent said.
“The collaboration between councils, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and Transport for NSW will ensure a streamlined process for rezoning that brings all the parties around the table from the beginning,” Maitland Mayor Loretta Baker said.
To read the draft strategy and provide your feedback by February 26, 2021, visit www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/draft-hunter-expressway.