A 20-year plan for the Hunter region?


dougkSunday, 14 February 2016 - 3:39pm

At Saturday's Residents meeting, guest speaker Daniel Brauer referred to the Draft Hunter Regional Plan which outlines a 20-year plan for the region. Great Lakes is included within its scope. There is a related document entitled Draft Plan for a Growing Hunter City. Responses to the plans can be made until the end of this month.

By 2036, an additional 117,850 people are expected to be living in the region. This Draft Hunter Regional Plan aims to guide the delivery of homes, jobs, infrastructure and services to support the growing and changing needs of the Hunter.

The plan has a vision statement:

The Hunter region will capitalise on its diversity and connectivity to capture growth, using its natural resources and amenity, economic strengths, and its communities, to actively manage change and attract investment. It will offer an array of quality lifestyles within sustainable and healthy environments.

and four major goals:

  1. Grow Australia's next major city
  2. Grow the largest regional economy in Australia
  3. Protect and connect natural environments
  4. Support robust regional communities

I thought the vision and goals were fairly predicatable. Digging further into the detail behind them, I felt there was an over-reliance on coal and gas as economic drivers when it would be prudent to be planning now for a post-coal future. I am sure some would disagree.

On my quick scan of the document, a few paragraphs caught my eye:

There are 5,670 unoccupied dwellings (27 per cent of total dwellings) in Great Lakes Local Government Area

Communities in Port Stephens, Great Lakes, Dungog and Gloucester, which are all popular destinations for retirees, are expected to age more rapidly than other parts of the Hunter. The NSW Government is already supporting rapidly ageing communities by providing more integrated health services close to where people live, including through the expansion of services provided in local health centres as well as the delivery of community and home-based services.

By 2036, the Hunter is expected to be home to around 69,500 more people over the age of 65 years. While the majority of these people are expected to live in Hunter City, this is expected to have a significant influence on the demands for housing and services such as health and aged care support, emergency response and public transport, in towns and villages around the region.

If you have the time, take a look at this document and let the government know what you think.

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