Gladys hails Hunter’s ‘double-digit’ jobs growth

Gladys hails Hunter’s ‘double-digit’ jobs growth Gladys Berejiklian talks to the media at the Wickham transport interchange on Tuesday. Picture: Max Mason Hubers
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Gladys Berejiklian at the Wickham transport interchange on Tuesday. Picture: Max Mason Hubers

Gladys Berejiklian at the Wickham transport interchange on Tuesday. Picture: Max Mason Hubers

Gladys Berejiklian at the Wickham transport interchange on Tuesday. Picture: Max Mason Hubers

Gladys Berejiklian at the Wickham transport interchange on Tuesday with Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald. Picture: Max Mason Hubers

Gladys Berejiklian at the Wickham transport interchange on Tuesday with Hunter Development Corporation boss Michael Cassel and Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald. Picture: Max Mason Hubers

TweetFacebookI remember every time I came up to Newcastle I’d have the same band of protesters following me, harassing me, but that didn’t deter us.

Gladys BerejiklianNewcastle Herald last week that the Hunter’s employment growth was due largely to gains inhealth care, social assistance, construction, education and training.

She said on Tuesday that the Hunter had a “really strong recovery period from early 2015 to the start of this year … and then it stayed relatively kind of flat”.

“It’s moved up and down. Our unemployment rate was below the state at the start of the year, and we’re sitting just above at the moment.”

She said much of the growth was not in“knowledge economy” industries, such as professional, technical and science jobs.

But she said transport and digital connections were the “bedrock” of urban growth and the government could legitimately claim its Revitalising Newcastle program had helped stimulate economic activity.

The city’s new light rail line is still more than a year away and Newcastle City Council’s Smart City collaboration is in itsinfancy, however, Dr Bill said developers were“always forward-thinking” and would be anticipating such changes when making investment decisions.

Ms Berejiklian said the government had“supported diversity in the economy, a growth in areas like construction, housing”.

But Dr Bill sounded a warning over house prices helping to drive the economy forward.

“Certainly some of the impetus that might be coming off the back of house price movements in the region, and whether that growth’s sustainable, and how much that ties into a revitalisation agenda as welland the development that’s been happening in the city, that’s something we can maybe put a little bit of a note of caution around,” she said.

“Certainly, if you own a house, it’s a good thing.”

LIGHT RAIL EXTENSION

The Premier said extending Newcastle’s 2.7km light rail to other parts of the city was “definitely”on the government’s agenda but gave no commitments on when it could happen.

“We’re buildingthe spine of a future network. We always said that was the case.

“Our state’s doing incredibly well. If we have opportunities to bring things forward, we will.”

She describedthe light rail, which is costing almost twice as much per metre to build as a tram line in Canberra, as good value for money. The build costs have grown $35 million this year, an increase the government has ascribed to removing the trams’ overhead wires.

“All the advice I have is we’re completely on budget, on time, and we’re looking forward to it.

“It’s always important that you look at the end result.

“During the project there are sometimes when you’re a little bit ahead, sometimes when you slip, but the thing is at the end of the project to make sure you’ve delivered on time and on budget.”

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