Port of Newcastle has invited residents of the Newcastle and Hunter areas to provide feedback on its planned Clean Energy Precinct and its other future clean energy diversification plans.
Supported by a $100 million Federal Government funding commitment, the project would see a 220ha parcel of land on Kooragang Island, formerly the BHP industrial steelworks waste emplacement facility, returned to productive use via a dedicated Clean Energy Precinct that will position Newcastle and the Hunter Region as a leading production, storage and export hub for future clean energy products including hydrogen and green ammonia and advanced manufacturing.
Port of Newcastle CEO, Craig Carmody, said that three community drop-in consultation sessions will be held from 28 August to discuss the project, with residents also invited to have their say via an online survey which is open until 20 September.
“We are at the forefront of shaping a new economy and our diversification projects are underpinned by our determination to future-proof one of our city’s critical assets,” Mr Carmody said.
“With over 5,800 jobs projected to be created from the Port’s Clean Energy Precinct, this project will have multi-generational impact across the Hunter.
“Community feedback will be sought and valued throughout the life of the project, and we have reached a stage in planning for the Clean Energy Precinct where we can walk interested community members through our planning to date, and gain insight into any questions or concerns they might have.
“Obtaining feedback from our community is not just a tick-box part of our planning process. In establishing a new economy that will benefit the region, it is critical that we bring our community on this journey with us, educate them to understand the project, and for the Port to hear and consider all views.”
The community consultation sessions and public survey follow detailed briefings of industry and the Port’s Community Liaison Group (CLG), which is made up of 20 representatives of suburbs, businesses and community groups bordering the Port and surrounding city.
Following their briefing, CLG members Lyn Kilby of GLOW Wickham, Lloyd Davies of Stockton Community Group, Sheena Martin of Business Hunter, John Thacker of NewWest Community Group, and Tony Samsom, representing Mayfield and the Mayfield Business Improvement Association, encouraged community to learn more and have their voice heard throughout the progression of the landmark project.
Mr Samson said that it is vitally important local residents and businesses of Mayfield and surrounds take the opportunity to have input into the creation of the precinct.
“The Clean Energy Precinct is a vital project to support and drive targets in lowering emissions in the Hunter region,” Mr Samson said.
“As the Port of Newcastle is a key economic driver, diversifying in developing a Clean Energy Precinct will only add significant economic and environmental benefits to the region.”
Mr Thacker said that the community is focusing on understanding the relevant issues, be that traffic, trash, renewables or future opportunities.
“It’s important that when consultation is offered that citizens take the time to learn a little more, engage and be prepared to speak their mind in a constructive manner. The future is in our hands.”
Ms Martin said that the region has a lot at stake as the energy transition progresses.
“By inviting community input into key aspects of its planning and design, we ensure that the very heart of our region’s values and aspirations are woven into its fabric.”
Ms Kilby said that things are changing and diversifying around the Port, so it is important to stay informed.
“GLOW will help the people of Wickham and surrounds to do so, but we encourage all residents to learn about this project and be part of shaping it as it progresses,” Ms Kilby said.
“Details of the CLG representatives are on the Port’s website and locals are welcome to reach out to us as well as the Port to discuss the Precinct or any other issues of community concern or interest.”
Lloyd Davies of Stockton Community Group said that after learning more about the project, he looks forward to the development of a Clean Energy Precinct in Newcastle.
“It is likely that in the future the contribution that coal makes to our economy will decline so it is important that we diversify now,” Mr Davies said.
“It will provide job opportunities and a boost to our local economy in the years to come. The added benefit from this proposal is that it will help minimise climate change.”
The drop-in community consultation sessions will be led by project team, technical and environmental specialists from the Port and WSP, and will be held at Peibri Place – 97 Hannell Street, Wickham at the following times:
- Monday 28 August 4pm – 7pm
- Thursday 31 August 4pm – 7pm
- Saturday 2 September 9am – 12pm
Further community consultation sessions will be held throughout the planning stages of the project.
Mr Carmody said that as a Port uniquely part of the city’s landscape, Port of Newcastle is closely connected to its surrounding community, giving it a strong sense of connectivity and belonging.
“This is just the start of the conversation. What our community thinks is important to us. Every point of view will be considered in future planning stages. We are committed to answering questions that we can now, and working to consider feedback and answer those we don’t know as the project develops.”