Engineers to play pivotal role in Newcastle's future Monday, 18 December 2017

The city of Newcastle has more than 100 years of history associated with engineering and, according to the NSW Department of Planning and the Environment, engineers in the region have a great future to look forward to.

A “first-ever” draft metropolitan plan for Greater Newcastle that sees engineering as pivotal to the growth of Australia’s seventh largest city over the next 20 years has been released. The Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan (GNMP) sets out the government’s approach for Newcastle, Cessnock, Lake Macquarie, Maitland and Port Stephens up to 2036.

The government has revealed that Williamtown will be the main defence base for the maintenance of advanced Joint Strike Fighters (F-35) operated by countries in the Asia Pacific and “will create a cluster of economic activity and jobs”.

It says a defence and aerospace industry has emerged from links between universities, Newcastle Airport and the Royal Australia Air Force (RAAF) Base which will be further driven by international flights to New Zealand and South East Asia, and the new cruise ship terminal at Newcastle Port.

Actions listed in the GNMP include infrastructure expansion for the Port of Newcastle for trade and tourism; telecommunications and renewable energy; community infrastructure; public transport and road upgrades; and improved connectivity to global, national, regional and metropolitan transport focused around rail, road, port and airport networks.

For the Warabrook Business Park Precinct and Steel River Precinct, Newcastle City Council intends to align local plans to promote business that grows engineering, research and high-tech manufacturing jobs. The plan states that Greater Newcastle has growing capabilities in science, technology, engineering and maths that will service the area’s growth.

“Knowledge and talent creation will be encouraged as the region’s economy transitions to jobs focused on the new economy and technological innovation,” the NSW Government says.

Universities will promote growth in other industries, according to the draft GNMP, particularly when research is connected to other institutions.

“This includes emerging innovation and research clusters specialising in engineering, energy and medical research,” the plan states.

The University of Newcastle, with its Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, boasts “outstanding results in the Australian Research Council ERA research excellence ratings especially in civil, electrical, electronic, resources and extractive metallurgy engineering fields". And of course Engineers Australia has its very own Newcastle Division supporting engineers in the region.

Submissions to comment on the draft Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan are open until 28 February 2018.


Image: Newcastle Port via GNMP (NSW Govt).