City of Newcastle (CN) has hailed today's announcement of a new defence, aerospace and technology hub as a sign of the great economic diversification to come on the march to smart city status.
CN will construct a road into the future high-tech precinct at Williamtown together with Port Stephens Council as part of the $20 million Astra Aerolab project, which will generate jobs in the above sectors and inject around $250 million into the state economy.
Both local governments - joint owners of Newcastle Airport - will assist with site preparations valued at $7.86 million across four development areas over 7.4 hectares.
"Today's announcement promises a bright new era of jobs-led economic growth for the region," Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
“This hub will create up to 5,500 local highly skilled jobs in defence tech, smart manufacturing and service delivery, which will support greater Newcastle's growing population and ensure our sustained prosperity.
"One of the strategic directions of the smart city plan adopted by Council last year was to invest in innovation-based projects and provide a roadmap and infrastructure support to attract industry and investment.
"By doing this we are driving the transition from a great regional centre to a smart, liveable and sustainable global city."
Today's announcement (L-R): Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes with Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald, Deputy NSW Premier John Barilaro, Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer and Newcastle Airport CEO Peter Cock.
Recognition of Newcastle's smart city strides has already come via the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, conferral of UN City status and the continued arrival of major sporting events and teams.
"Factoring heavily in our future is a collaboration of government, the University of Newcastle and industry, especially aviation, defence and aerospace sectors, to upload the regional economy into the digital age," the Lord Mayor added.
"Critical tech infrastructure that will deliver the connectivity needed for data-based productivity gains -- and renewed investment -- is being installed right now under this watershed partnership.
"We’ve further embraced innovation and technology recently by adopting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals in our updated long-term strategic plan, in particular the goal to strengthen the city's role as a metropolitan capital for education, health, tourism, creative industries and logistics."