More than 4,500 jobs are likely to be created in the area in and around Newcastle Airport and RAAF Base Williamstown after the region was chosen to be included in a new NSW business initiative.
The 10,000-hectare area will now be one of five ‘Special Activation Precincts’ (SAP) that will create business opportunities by fast-tracking approval processes and increasing infrastructure.
Newcastle Airport chief executive Dr Peter Cock said, “With leasing opportunities available now at Astra Aerolab, the precinct will provide ideal conditions for those looking to invest.”
There are currently four other SAPs in NSW, including Parkes, Wagga Wagga, Moree and the Snowy Mountains, which all form part of the larger $4.2 billion Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund.
Businesses in SAPs enjoy faster and more simplified planning and approval processes, meaning they can set-up and start trading quicker.
Other perks include more investment in infrastructure, involving in government studies to attract private investment and access to a ‘business concierge’ providing advice. Overall the combined schemes hope to attract at least at least 15,000 jobs across regional NSW.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said, “Special Activation Precincts are about attracting more money to regional NSW, creating job and career opportunities, streamlining approval processes and supporting our regions in the wake of COVID-19 and bushfires.”
Williamtown is Australia’s main Department of Defence fighter pilot training base, home to the F-35 fleet and the Asia-Pacific Regional Warehouse for F-35s.
The location of the Williamtown SAP, next to the RAAF base, means it hopes to create opportunities to attract new and existing businesses, such as Astra Aerolabs and BAE Systems in the defence and aerospace industries.
Dr Cock added, “This development precinct provides facilities located adjacent to both the Airport and RAAF Base Williamtown – uniquely placed to offer a dedicated home for defence and aerospace innovation. It will certainly play a key role in generating the high skilled jobs of the future, benefitting the entire region.”