• Media Release

Federal Member for Newcastle, Sharon Claydon, has called on the Morrison Government to help drive regional recovery by investing in Newcastle in Tuesday’s Federal Budget.

Ms Claydon said the government needed to support projects that would drive growth, create jobs and deliver longstanding community benefits.

“The Port of Newcastle is ready to inject $1.8 billion into the Deepwater Terminal, creating 15,000 direct and indirect jobs and diversify our regional economy.

“Similarly, the University of Newcastle’s STEMM Regional Transformation Hub has significant job creation potential and the capacity to position our region as a leader in the critically important technology-based industries of today and tomorrow.”

Ms Claydon said she would also like to see the Government provide funding directly to the City of Newcastle to fast track important local community infrastructure projects.

“We know from the Global Financial Crisis that directly funding local councils is one of the most effective means of saving local jobs and businesses during an economic downtown,” Ms Claydon said.

“I know there’s no shortage of fantastic local projects that could get underway almost immediately with the help of Federal Government investment.”

Ms Claydon said the Government also needed to provide targeted support for individual industries that have been hardest hit by COVID-19.

“Many in the tourism sector – especially travel agents – saw their revenue disappear overnight, but found themselves excluded from JobKeeper,” Ms Claydon said.

“Similarly, thousands of people working in the arts sector found themselves out of work and ineligible for JobKeeper through no fault of their own. And the Newcastle Art Gallery continues to wait for a response from government regarding funds to help expand this vital cultural asset.

“The Government also needs to end its vengeful war on higher education. Universities should be central to the recovery, not left to fend for themselves in the face of multibillion-dollar losses.”

“It time for the Government to work with the peak bodies of the hardest-hit industries and devise a package of support to protect and create jobs.”

Ms Claydon said would also like to see support for Newcastle’s world-class hydrogen capabilities.

“As one of the nation’s foremost existing energy research centres, with a rich history steeped in energy production, Newcastle has all the ingredients to become a powerhouse of hydrogen research, development, production and export,” Ms Claydon said.

“I have written to the Prime Minister to nominate Newcastle as the best place in the nation to establish the Government’s planned hydrogen hub.” 

Ms Claydon said she would also like to see Federal investment in social housing.

“The housing construction sector, an important marker of the health of any economy, is heading for a 27 per cent collapse, while we have a projected shortfall of almost 500,000 social housing dwellings nationally.

“The Government needs to kickstart construction and get more Australians into safe, secure and affordable housing by working with the private and community sectors to invest in building new social housing and to repair existing stock.”

Ms Claydon said that without significant Government stimulus in the Federal Budget, the economic impacts could be dire and felt across generations. 

“We are staring down the deepest recession we’ve faced in a century. It’s critical that the Budget delivers investment to drive economic recovery to protect and create jobs. 

“This budget must be about jobs, jobs and more jobs. That’s what the people of Newcastle expect and deserve. 

“As Australia’s largest regional economy, we have capacity to help re-build the nation, but we need the Morrison government to back us by investing in these priority projects.”

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