The Hunter Region: Understated or Unrequited?
The Hunter Region of New South Wales is unique in many ways. Referred to as the “powerhouse of New South Wales” and “a State within a State”, the Hunter combines a vibrant, diversifying economy with a proud history, strong identity, and an attractive lifestyle, giving the area a range of competitive advantages as an investment and business location.
The Hunter is the largest regional economy in Australia. Covering an area of nearly 33,000 sq km it is also the most populous regional area, with over 756,000 people (Australian Bureau of Statistics June 2020 estimated resident population), calling the Hunter home. This is a greater economic output than Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory.
The Hunter Region offers a unique combination of city, suburban or regional communities. Scenic national parks, renowned beaches and waterways, and luscious farmland sit alongside educational and medical facilities, quality art centres and museums, first-rate dining and entertainment as well as countless opportunities for the amateur and professional sports person. The Hunter’s strong sporting background is highlighted by the presence of the Newcastle Knights in the National Rugby League, the Newcastle Jets in the National A-League and the Newcastle Jets FC in the A-League Women – each with a very strong fan base.
The Rugby League Centre of Excellence in Newcastle represents a landmark private-public achievement, which is designed to provide state of the art facilities for the local community. The 33,000 seat McDonald Jones Stadium at Broadmeadow, home to the Newcastle Knights and Newcastle Jets, is increasingly attracting other major national and international matches.
With all this in mind, it’s remarkable that the cost of living has remained attractive and well below that of the major cities across the country.
Post-pandemic we’ve seen a renewed interest in the regions and the important role urban policy plays in rebuilding globally competitive regional centres. The Hunter region is an integral component of that conversation. Investment in infrastructure ensures global competitiveness, while focusing on productivity, sustainability, liveability, and social inclusion at a local level. Given the scale of growth in the Hunter, the region is well–placed to meet the objectives of future challenges and growth.
Forecasts continue to list the Hunter as one of the next economic powerhouses in Australia. We’ll be watching closely as priorities narrow in tenets including policy and population, land use and housing supply, employment and economically and socially significant infrastructure, and services for the long–term well–being and benefit of the region and its people.