NSW Government releases Draft Hunter Regional Transport Plan

Monica Gameng   |   October 5, 2022
Hunter region (cr: NSW Government)

Plans for ‘15-minute neighbourhoods’ in the Hunter region of New South Wales have been released by the State Government. 

The Draft Hunter Regional Transport Plan aims to connect local transport networks to help bust congestion as well as improve freight connections and transform the M1 into a Smart Motorway. 

The Plan that outlines the State Government’s strategy for a better transport network in the Hunter region is now out for public consultation. 

“The Hunter is one of the fastest-growing areas in NSW and we want to ensure we are building what matters to make daily life easier for these communities. 

“This draft plan is our vision for what Transport for NSW should look at to secure a brighter future for people living in the Hunter, by providing support for the businesses and industries that are the lifeblood of this booming area. 

“Some of these initiatives we’re already delivering – like the transformative New England Highway upgrade between Belford and the Golden Highway – and some are about to get underway, including the Muswellbrook and Singleton bypasses,” Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said. 

The Minister added that planning for the future is also being carried out through investigations into a range of initiatives such as upgrades to the New England Highway to help improve safety as well as travel times at Rocky Cut, Belford to Singleton, Singleton to Muswellbrook and Muswellbrook to Scone. 

With the Hunter region estimated to grow by 100,000 people by 2041 – approximately 15 per cent – and with Newcastle as the State’s second largest city, having residents and stakeholders contribute to the Draft Hunter Regional Transport Plan is crucial to its development. 

“We are putting the foundations in place that will make sure the rapidly growing population across the Hunter has a safe, efficient and accessible road network to use. 

“It’s now time for residents, businesses and visitors to have their say on the draft plan to help us enhance our transport network now and into the future,” Minister for Metropolitan Roads Natalie Ward said. 

Key goals of the transport vision include: 

  • A connected region – increased population within a 30-minute public transport trip of jobs, education and services from Greater Newcastle or the nearest strategic centre (Taree, Foster-Tuncurry, Morisset, Maitland, Kurri Kurri, Cessnock, Singleton, Muswellbrook, Nelson Bay, Dungog, Scone and Raymond Terrace) 
  • An integrated network – that embraces the 15-minute neighbourhood planning principle where people regularly choose to walk, cycle or take public transport to shops, services, schools or work 
  • Inter-regional connection – that builds on the Regional Rail Fleet and road upgrades as well as a potential future Fast Rail connection to improve multi-modal connectivity between the Hunter, Central Coast and Greater Sydney for passengers and freight 
  • Integrated transport, land use and infrastructure – that reflects balanced movement and place outcomes, contributing to better places and improving public transport attractiveness 
  • Supporting economic development – through improved road and rail networks that support Newcastle Port and Williamstown Special Activation Precinct, accommodate more efficient vehicle combinations, embrace technology-driven solutions, and address first mile/last mile freight 
  • Supporting tourism – through an upgraded Newcastle Airport, improved road networks and public transport services as well as integrated walking and cycling connections allowing visitors to easily explore the region 
  • Greater productivity – integrated transport infrastructure and services that connect residents with jobs, education, leisure and health ensuring the continued growth and diversification of sectors across the region, with first and last mile solutions tailored to support successful places 
  • Improved customer experience – by exploiting innovation and advances in technology to enable new and more personalised mobility solutions, inform customer decision-making with more ‘real-time’ information, improve safety, network resilience and freight efficiencies 
  • A more sustainable region – through uptake of electric vehicles in the transport fleet, an improved EV fast charging network and supporting the proposed Hunter-Central Coast Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) 
  • A more resilient region – that builds climate and hazard resilience into the network’s infrastructure supported by adaptive management strategies that maintain emergency access along key routes and bring the network back on-line quickly following planned and unplanned disruption 

About 80 initiatives have been identified through the Plan that will support the 2041 regional transport vision for the Hunter region. 

The Plan also covers 10 local government areas, including Cessnock, Dungog, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Mid Coast, Muswellbrook, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Singleton and Upper Hunter. 

“We want to improve the lives of Hunter residents by emphasising the ‘15-minute neighbourhood’, allowing people to access most of their everyday needs quickly and easily by using public transport, walking or cycling,” Member for Upper Hunter Dave Layzell said. 

Residents and stakeholders are encouraged to have their say on the Draft Hunter Regional Transport Plan. Submissions can be made through the Transport Future 2056 web page or via email to HunterRTP@transport.nsw.gov.au. 

Feedback received through this consultation stage will be utilised to refine and finalise the plan as well as the timing of initiatives. 

Source: NSW Government – Media Releases; Transport for NSW; NSW Government – Future Transport; Infrastructure Magazine 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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