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Special Activation Precinct great win for region

City of Newcastle has welcomed the announcement of a Special Activation Precinct at Williamtown that’s expected to generate jobs and boost the greater Newcastle economy.

(Image captions: (L-R): Deputy Mayor Port Stephens Council Chris Doohan, BAE Systems Director Aircraft Sustainment and Training Andrew Chapman, The Hon. Taylor Martin MLC, Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Deputy Premier The Hon. John Barilaro and The Hon. Catherine Cusack MLC – Parliamentary Secretary inside a BAE Systems hangar at Williamtown.)


The Special Activation Precinct covers up to 10,000 hectares of land in and around Newcastle Airport and RAAF Base Williamtown and means the State Government will tailor infrastructure investment to support local needs.

Essential services that businesses need to operate will be provided by the NSW Government and may include roads and utilities such as water, electricity, stormwater, waste management and digital connectivity.

Aligning with the Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan, the project could spur upgrades to Newcastle Airport’s runway and terminal, the M1’s extension to Raymond Terrace and new road links to the airport and Port of Newcastle.

“The announcement of a Williamtown Special Activation precinct is great news for Newcastle and the Hunter, bringing thousands of skilled jobs along with unlocking key development lands,” the Lord Mayor said.

“It’s especially welcome at a time when thousands of jobs have been lost in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie due to the coronavirus pandemic, because the Special Activation Precinct will provide direct and indirect jobs for decades to come.

“Special Activation Precincts have a high potential to create significant employment and drive investment in engine industries, those that employ a higher proportion of people in our region compared to others.”

The Special Activation Precinct will build on the defence, aviation and technology commercial activity of the Astra Aerolab announced last year.

The 76-hectare site adjoining the airport and Williamtown RAAF Base, home to Australia’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet, will become the country’s pre-eminent space for aviation, defence and aerospace-related manufacturing, maintenance, research and education.

Paralleling the twin aerospace developments will be passenger growth at Newcastle Airport, with a minimum 2.6 million-passenger throughout expected by 2036.

The anticipated growth and expansion of passenger flights will be supported by improved public transport between the airport and city centre, as well as runway surface and freight-handling capacity upgrades.

New employment opportunities will also arise from domestic and defence aircraft maintenance.

The Hunter Business Chamber has welcomed today’s announcement by NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro of a Special Activation Precinct (SAP) at Williamtown.

Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said the declaration would accelerate development in a 10,000-hectare area encompassing Newcastle Airport, Williamtown RAAF base and the Astra Aerolab defence, aerospace and innovation hub.

As a Special Activation Precinct, the area will receive the benefit of master-planning, streamlined planning approvals, government-led infrastructure and a business concierge service.

“The Chamber has advocated for the Williamtown Special Activation Precinct as an important driver of growth and economic diversification in our region,” Mr Hawes said.

“The declaration will help the region realise the huge potential that exists in having Australia’s premier Defence flight base and one of its fastest-growing regional airports within the one precinct.

"This announcement reinforces the importance of the Williamtown precinct to the state. We hope it will boost the Airport’s efforts to seek funding for a runaway expansion and terminal upgrade that promise further economic uplift through increased freight and tourism opportunities.”

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