The state government has tipped East Maitland as a hot bed for employment and residential growth, with the potential creation of 2400 new jobs and 550 dwellings by 2036.
It comes as part of the Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan by Planning Minister Anthony Roberts and Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald, which was released Monday.
The plan sets out the target for regional growth over 20 years across the Greater Newcastle area, incorporating Maitland, Cessnock, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens. Mayor Loretta Baker said Maitland Council welcomed the plan’s recognition of East Maitland as a significant ‘catalyst area’ in the region.
“We’ve been working on this forever, and the release of this plan is our starting point,” she said.
“Newcastle is the centre but I want to make sure we don’t miss out … this is a catalyst project for us.”
East Maitland was identified as a hub for employment and residential infrastructure, with a spotlight on the area as an emerging health precinct.
Cr Baker said the $470 million new hospital was a significant component in the area’s acknowledgement.
“The big catalyst area is the new hospital site, which is 40 hectares,” Cr Baker said.
“The hospital will be a big employer – during and after [construction] – but there’s also an opportunity for a lot of higher order jobs on the site. We are also hoping for research professionals [at the hospital] because, right now, our biggest employer is retail.
“We don’t have a lot of higher order jobs in Maitland so it would be fantastic to have more of those jobs contributing to the local economy. It will be a great stimulus for the economy, and having access to the health services without having to travel.”
The plan, which is the first-ever outside a capital city, was developed by the NSW government and the five Greater Newcastle councils.
Aligned with the Hunter Regional Plan, the report also identified “opportunities to provide for better integration with existing train stations at Victoria Street, Metford and Thornton, and the Greenhills and Thornton shopping centres”.
“We will need to focus on transport connectivity, and we have been talking about that,” Cr Baker said.
The Labor councillor also welcomed the development of unused land for residential growth. The plan said “a significant proportion of Greater Newcastle’s greenfield development will continue to occur in Maitland, focused on the two priority housing release areas of Thornton–Lochinvar and Maitland–Kurri Kurri”.