17 March 2011 – A new planning vision is needed for Newcastle as it evolves as an important regional capital according to the Hunter branch and NSW division of the Planning Institute of Australia .

The Institute has identified six key priorities:

  • Deliver a university city campus which is integrated with the city centre
  • Adoption of an economic development strategy as part of a regional plan, taking into account the port, university and the Williamtown RAAF base and civil airport
  • Deregulation of the current planning controls in the existing local environmental plan for priority precincts and the identification of key sites that will be a catalyst for development and urban renewal
  • Implement an integrated public transport system servicing the Regional City, linking regional centres, suburbs and Hunter Street
  • Support small scale entertainment venues and a new convention centre
  • Strong and courageous leadership in planning.

“The Institute, through our professional planners in the Hunter region, is keen to engage with key stakeholders and local and State governments in bringing the vision to fruition”, PIA NSW president Tony McNamara said.

“PIA is calling on the State and Commonwealth Governments, in consultation with the council, the private sector and the community to take immediate and courageous action to support the transformation of Newcastle into a vibrant, 21st century, regional city”.

editorial@thefifthestate.com.au