Newcastle CBD to be connected to new convention precinct via a new iconic skybridge

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NSW Labor today announced it would deliver a world-class convention & exhibition centre in the heart of Newcastle – creating thousands of jobs and boosting the local Hunter economy.

A Labor Government would immediately start work on the planning and construction of the international convention centre – to be located on land on the corner of Honeysuckle Drive and the former Lee Wharf Road.

Labor leader John Robertson joined Shadow Minister for Planning & Infrastructure Luke Foley, Shadow Minister for the Hunter Sonia Hornery, Labor candidate for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp and Labor candidate for Charlestown Jodie Harrison in Newcastle to make the announcement – with the project an exciting opportunity for Newcastle and the Hunter region to create jobs and tap into the $7 billion the convention industry generates for NSW each year.

The project is estimated to create 3000 jobs during construction and 1700 ongoing jobs upon completion – and could potentially create $100 million in economic benefit for the Hunter each year.

The Centre would provide around 4,500 square metres of exhibition space; be capable of hosting 3,500 delegates; and holding multiple conferences and exhibitions concurrently.

Mr Robertson also announced a Labor Government would construct an iconic and architecturally designed SkyBridge to link the new convention & exhibition centre to the Newcastle CBD.

The new SkyBridge will allow direct and easy access between the two precincts - and will be an iconic landmark for Newcastle for years to come.

Under Labor’s Plan for a World-Class Convention & Exhibition Centre for Newcastle, Labor will:

  • Immediately direct Hunter Development Corporation (HDC) and Infrastructure NSW to start work on the project, establishing a steering committee with representatives from Newcastle City Council;
  • Establish an international design competition for the new iconic SkyBridge project that will connect the new convention centre to the Newcastle CBD;
  • Allocate $5 million for initial planning and forecasting work; and
  • Work with the private sector to identify other opportunities that would complement the convention centre, including on-site accommodation and parking solutions.

“A world-class convention & exhibition centre is an exciting opportunity for Newcastle and the broader Hunter region,” Labor leader John Robertson said.

“This project will not only create jobs during and after construction – but would also allow our state’s second largest city to take a slice of NSW’s $7 billion convention industry.

“Labor is committed to the revitalisation of Newcastle and a state of the art convention & exhibition centre is a key part of Labor’s vision for the city and the broader Hunter region.

“The convention centre will provide a once in a generation opportunity to further diversify the local economy, create over 1,700 new jobs and generate an estimated $100 million in economic benefit each year.

“In Government we will immediately get to work on the planning and construction of this transformative piece of infrastructure for Newcastle – I want the convention centre open for business and hosting events by 2020.

“This project will give Newcastle an iconic building, SkyBridge and precinct for years to come – and it will allow this great city to compete with other international cities to attract business to grow the economy.”

Labor candidate for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp said Labor’s commitment to constructing a world-class convention & exhibition centre for Newcastle was an exciting proposition that would spark an economic renaissance within the city.

“I want to see jobs created and our local economy grow – and Labor will deliver this by revitalising our city through bold projects like this convention centre and SkyBridge.

“This is an exciting project for the future of our city. The new convention centre precinct will be a project of significant urban renewal and the SkyBridge will provide a vital connection over the rail line from the Newcastle CBD.

“Labor is outlining a strong vision for Newcastle that will provide the infrastructure that will support the success of our city for decades to come.”

Shadow Minister for the Hunter Sonia Hornery said the convention centre would have broader benefits for the entire Hunter region.

“You can imagine visitors spending two days at a conference in the new convention centre followed by the opportunity to spend the weekend touring the vineyards in the Hunter Valley or relaxing on our beaches.

“There will be a wonderful opportunity for regional tourist operators to partner with the convention centre to create unique packages for visitors that capture what the Hunter has to offer for both business and recreation.”

NSW Labor - Newcastle Convention Centre