When it comes to ideas for generating economic opportunities, Cessnock City Council is thinking outside the box.
The council’s proactive approach has been rewarded with an invitation to speak at the Senate inquiry into the location of corporate Commonwealth entities next Friday.
Mayor Bob Pynsent will state Cessnock’s case as a possible future location for Federal Government offices, should the government decide to decentralise any departments in the future.
Cr Pynsent says Cessnock and Kurri Kurri are “perfectly positioned” for such departments with their close proximity to Newcastle and Sydney, a fantastic lifestyle and affordable housing.
A similar logic was applied to the invitation to invite big businesses Google and Amazon to considering setting up base in the Cessnock area.
While some may consider these moves more than a little optimistic, the council should be praised for its attempts.
If any of these businesses or departments chose to set up in Cessnock, it would provide a great boost for the local economy and help create much-needed jobs.
In a region that has relied on the coal industry for so long, it is important to diversify employment opportunities for future generations.
And in the digital day and age, why should big business have to be located in big cities?
Google HQ itself is located in the Californian city of Mountain View (population 75,000, around the same size as Maitland) – located about 60 kilometres from San Francisco.
As for Amazon, there are swathes of vacant land in the Cessnock LGA that would be an ideal location for its warehouses (including the former Hydro aluminium smelter site, the recently-rezoned industrial land parcel at Black Hill and the embattled Hunter Economic Zone).
Cessnock Council has probably left its run to push for the relocation of the Lower Hunter hospital a little too late, but the Hydro site is sure to open up many more opportunities in the years to come.
But it doesn’t hurt to ask: if you don’t make an attempt, you’ll never know.