The NSW Opposition is leading a roundtable discussion in the Hunter today to advance Labor’s plans to establish the region as a leading force in driverless car technology.

During the budget reply speech last month, Labor Leader Luke Foley announced a vision to harness the Hunter region’s expertise in clean technology industries to pioneer driverless car technology. 

Mr Foley and his Labor colleagues are leading a discussion today at the Newcastle Town Hall between industry experts, academics, business and local community leaders.

The discussions will help to progress Labor’s policy agenda for new jobs and investment in the Hunter based on the industries of the future.

Driverless cars have the potential to transform the state’s road network – improving traffic efficiency, cutting congestion and reducing the road toll.

Labor is looking to bring forward legislation to legalise the testing of autonomous electric cars on designated public roads. This could lead to a selection of roads in the Hunter region becoming the first in the state to trial driverless cars.

The driverless car industry is forecast to be worth $90 billion globally by 2030.

Attendees at the round table discussion will include representatives from Volvo, Transurban, NRMA, AIG, The University of Newcastle, University of NSW, ARRB, Newcastle City Council, Lake Macquarie Council, HunterNet and Labor’s team of Hunter MPs.

Quotes attributable to Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“The Hunter has a long history of being at the forefront of industry.

“The region already has a reputation for being leaders in clean technology and renewables.

“Labor wants to build a policy platform that harnesses the Hunter’s expertise and maximises the local investment and jobs opportunities that will flow from new technologies.

“The Labor Team is determined to ensure the Hunter becomes a national hub for clean technology industry.

“Driverless cars have the potential to transform our road system – improving traffic efficiency, cutting congestion and reducing the road toll.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Yasmin Catley

“History shows our regional economy is resilient and Hunter workers and businesses embrace new opportunities and new technology.

“Driverless cars are not made up toys from a science fiction movie. The technology is rapidly advancing and there is a huge opportunity for the Hunter region to capitalise on the emerging driverless car industry.”

Quotes attributable to the Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp

“I’m very pleased to welcome some of the best and brightest in this field to Newcastle to further Labor’s policy work in this area.

“This is about creating new and exciting jobs for local workers at the forefront of a new industry. It’s an example of Labor’s strong commitment to the future of the people of Newcastle and the Hunter.”